But the Roosters refused to give in and started their comeback via Drew Hutchison before Walker weaved his magic in just his second NRL game.
The Roosters, however, will have some selection issues ahead of Friday’s blockbuster against Melbourne at AAMI Park.
With Friend retired and Sam Verrills still a month away from returning from a knee injury, the Roosters starting No.9 Freddy Lussick broke his arm midway through the first half, then Ben Marschke – the club’s fourth-string dummy-half – was played on report for a crusher tackle on Mawene Hiroti.
If found guilty, Marschke faces a minimum one-game suspension.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson will turn to Hutchison or even Victor Radley.
Melbourne, for the record, have representative rakes Brandon Smith and Harry Grant on the books.
While Walker received the accolades, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves was also excellent when injected off the bench. Apart from conceding a penalty in the first 90 seconds of being on the field when he smashed Townsend after he had kicked, Wearea-Hargreaves went on to dominate the Sharks forwards. One hit on Toby Rudolf echoed around the historic ground.
Morris’ remarkable strike rate for scoring tries at the ripe old age of 35 continues to be one of the great stories of 2021.
The Sharks lost Wade Graham to a second concussion in three weeks, with the skipper chalking up a list of worrying head knocks. He went low on Isaac Liu and never recovered. The Shire club also lost Josh Dugan to a HIA.
They were in the box seat after the hour, especially when Jack Williams took an offload from Jesse Ramien and scored next to the post.
But Cronulla fans will be wondering if their club clocked off or the Roosters were too good.
A win would have further boosted the hopes of John Morris landing a contract extension, especially with strugglers Newcastle and Canterbury awaiting them the next fortnight.
Cronulla scored after four minutes through Hiroti, and when Kennedy made it 10-0, an upset looked certain.
The Roosters struggled to mount any pressure on the visitors, and it took some magic from Morris to steam on to a Walker pass and somehow get on the outside of Hiroti.
It was beautiful to watch. But Walker was better viewing.
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.