Big week beckons for Souths star Walker

Next week will be the biggest in Cody Walker's NRL career.

The South Sydney superstar now has one eye on the Dally M Medal and another on an NRL premiership after starring in his team's 36-16 preliminary final win over Manly on Friday night.

The 31-year-old showed just how much he wants the title with a try double against the Sea Eagles - his second coming after he peeled himself off the ground and raced 35 metres to catch a grubber kick and score.

It's the kind of effort play that has typified his stunning season so far.

The classy playmaker is in line for the prestigious NRL player of the year medal on Monday night and will then play in his first grand final against either Melbourne or Penrith on Sunday week.

Friday night's win put the Rabbitohs five-eighth on the verge of a rugby league fairytale after the best season of a six-year NRL career that only started at age 26.

"He's the type of player, they just have it," Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett said.

"You can't coach what they've got. That's Cody. Instinct. Ability to take the moment, grab it, wonderful, put the ball in his hands, great pass.

"He's got great footwork and speed as well so he's a real threat.

"He's one of the few players in the game who is a threat every time he's got the ball in his hands."

Walker's is not the only fairytale on the line on Sunday week.

Skipper Adam Reynolds will play his last game for his beloved club after 10 seasons of NRL with South Sydney.

The Rabbitohs junior will join Brisbane next season but has one last chance to bow out with a second premiership.

He will need to shake off a groin strain that kept him quiet on Friday night, giving up the kicking tee to inexperienced fullback Blake Taaffe who kicked four from seven goals.

NRL veteran Benji Marshall will also play his second NRL grand final, 16 years after his first ended in triumph with Wests Tigers back in 2005.

Speaking after the side's defeat of Manly, Bennett, who snapped up 36-year-old Marshall for a second time on a one-year deal when the player was thinking of retirement, said his arrival at the club and exit from the game both made perfect sense.

"He rang me up and said 'I'd love to come to South Sydney'," the coach recalled.

"I asked 'what do you want to come to South Sydney for?'

"He said, 'I think you can win the grand final'."

"And he's been wonderful ... he doesn't want to make a fuss about it, but you can't retire in a better moment than in a grand final.

"It doesn't get any better than that."

Marshall will be 37 when the next NRL preseason rolls around.

"I don't know if it's the end yet - but if he's retired me, it might be," the player joked about Bennett's post-game remarks.

This chance, he accepts, almost never came, with Bennett "saving his career two times" thanks to one-year deals at Brisbane in 2017 and again at Souths in 2021.

"I was going to retire mate, seriously," Marshall said of his mindset late last year.

"My wife, she said, 'just give Wayne a try'. So I called him and he said, 'I've got one spot left, so come and see what happens'.

"You've got to back yourself, give yourself every opportunity."

The partnership has worked for both coach and player, the former Tigers five-eighth having played "every position bar wing" in a tweaked bench utility role that he believes has also caught on at other clubs.

"I've never played lock in my life, or hooker until this year," said Marshall.

"And he gave me the confidence to go and do that, and be me, and not try to be a big forward in the middle."