Dylan Walker’s standout display in the halves earned him the maximum six Dally M points after the One New Zealand Warriors’ hard-fought 22-14 seventh-round NRL victory over the North Queensland Cowboys on Saturday night.
The 28-year-old had been used in an interchange utility role in the opening six rounds, principally as a one-two impact punch with Jazz Tevaga in the middle.
Along the way he has been moved elsewhere – including the halves – when head coach Andrew Webster needed to shuffle his line-up in the event of injuries, HIA cases or sin bins. It was the same for Walker at Manly Warringah.
So, with regular #6 Te Maire Martin out with a broken leg, Walker was handed the task against the Cowboys.
Now in his 11th NRL season, he had started in the halves more than 40 times, the most recent for the Sea Eagles in 2021.
On Saturday night he revelled in returning to the role.
The pivotal moment in the game was his 61st try that broke a 14-14 deadlock and ultimately proved the match winner.
Walker was ecstatic after scoring, understandably so for it ended a barren 31-game drought since his last try when Manly beat the Sydney Roosters in the finals in 2021.
Apart from his well-taken critical try, the ever-energetic Walker took the ball deep into the line, marshalled the left edge superbly on defence, made 22 tackles and notably defused a bomb.
While Walker collected the maximum six points available, the other six were shared by One New Zealand Warriors players.
Fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad picked up three to move to 12, Shaun Johnson had two to go to 17 just three behind the leaders and Josh Curran was awarded one point.
DALLY M POINTS | ROUND 7
Dolphins v Rabbitohs | 6 - Cody Walker, 2 - Jai Arrow, 2 - Damien Cook, 1 - Kodi Nikorima, 1 - Latrell Mitchell
Sharks v Roosters | 6 - Nicho Hynes, 2 - Blayke Brailey, 2 - Siosifa Talakai, 1 - Briton Nikora, 1 - Lindsay Collins
Sea Eagles v Storm | 5 - Daly Cherry-Evans, 3 - Tom Trbojevic, 3 - Jake Trbojevic, 1 - Cameron Munster
One New Zealand Warriors v Cowboys | 6 - Dylan Walker, 3 - Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, 2 - Shaun Johnson, 1 - Josh Curran
Knights v Panthers | 4 - Nathan Cleary, 3 - Lachlan Miller, 3 - Dylan Edwards, 1 - Greg Marzhew
Titans v Broncos | 4 - Reece Walsh, 4 - Adam Reynolds, 2 - Payne Haas, 2 - Moeaki Fotuaika
Raiders v Dragons | 6 - Hudson Young, 2 - Tyrell Sloan, 2 - Tautau Moga, 1 - Sebastian Kris, 1 - Matthew Timoko
Eels v Bulldogs | 6 - Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 4 - Clinton Gutherson, 1 - Will Penisini, 1 - Mitchell Moses
DALLY M LEADERBOARD
20 points | Harry Grant (Storm)
18 points | Payne Haas (Broncos)
16 points | Ben Hunt (Dragons)
16 points | Reece Walsh (Broncos)
15 points | Shaun Johnson (One New Zealand Warriors)
14 points | Dylan Edwards (Panthers)
14 points | Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow (Dolphins)
14 points | Jacob Kiraz (Bulldogs)
14 points | Nathan Cleary (Panthers)
Other One New Zealand Warriors players:
12 points | Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (One New Zealand Warriors)
7 points | Dylan Walker (One New Zealand Warriors)
7 points | Tohu Harris (One New Zealand Warriors)
5 points | Wayde Egan (One New Zealand Warriors)