Cody Walker says he will not sing the national anthem before the State of Origin opener next Wednesday, even though millions of sports fans will be tuned in to what will be one of the biggest sports events of the year.
Just as he remained silent during Advance Australia Fair before the Indigenous All Stars game at the start of the year, Walker will not change his mind because of the enormous interest surrounding the Origin opener at what will be a packed-out Suncorp Stadium.
While insisting he did not want to court controversy, the Blues rookie told the Herald on Tuesday: "I'm not pushing my views on anyone, it's just how me and my family have grown up and how I feel. I've already voiced my opinion, and I want to reiterate it's just my opinion.''
Blues coach Brad Fittler said it was completely up to Walker if he chose to remain silent during the anthem but he added: "I'll be singing it."
Walker, however, found a high-powered supporter in Johnathan Thurston, who said he thought there should have been more debate about the anthem when several Indigenous All Stars brought the matter to a head at AAMI Park in February.
"The stand the team took on not singing the national anthem … it was like it was just brushed over,'' Thurston said in an interview with the Herald.
"They did that and there wasn't really any discussion to come out of that, even though it was a stand they took for themselves and their family.
"I thought it was great leadership by the team. Cody Walker came out after the game and said the national anthem doesn't represent him or his family. We made a decision based on that and that was pretty much the end of it. I can't remember anyone from the game coming out and having a further discussion about it."
Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga also supported further debate straight after the All Stars game and said: "We expect them to sing the national anthem, but I'm also in favour of the fact, if it is offensive to Indigenous Australians, let's have a discussion about it.
"We're a multicultural society, so all of Australia should decide on what our anthem should be. The majority of us are third- and fourth-generation Australians now. What does contemporary Australia want? If it's important to people, why not call for a referendum?"
In the US, The NFL was last year forced to review its policy after many players refused to stand for the American national anthem, with players given the option to remain in the dressing-room if they did not want to sing The Star-Spangled Banner.
While Walker will literally stay tight-lipped during the anthem, he was more than happy to sing the praises of his NSW left-edge combination of fellow indigenous stars Latrell Mitchell and Josh Addo-Carr.
Such was the popularity of his centre and winger, Walker's two sons, Kian and Kade, have run around wanting to be Addo-Carr and Mitchell.
"When I did the Fox League interview with my boys, they came on TV and when asked who their favourite players were they said, 'Fox and Latrell'," Walker said.
"They won't be getting the No.3 and No.5 on the back of their jerseys, I can tell you. It will be the No.6.
"I played with both of them in the All Stars game, but I was on the right edge. They are superstars of the game. I can count my lucky stars."
Moments after learning of his first Origin selection on Sunday, Walker received some praise and advice from one of the most popular league identities north of the border – Souths coach Wayne Bennett.
"He was very happy when I saw him Sunday. I got three handshakes and a cuddle. That's a record I think," Walker said.
"It's always good to hear those things from a guy who is a legend. He's an unbelievably-experienced coach and we're so lucky to have him at the club.
"He told me to soak up the week, not let the hype leading up to the game get to me, but let the game get me up."