Rugby League

Warriors pulled off one of the all-time heists with rising star Reece Walsh

He’s only two games in to what could be a stellar NRL career, but wunderkind Reece Walsh has declared he wants the responsibility of “winning footy games” for the Warriors.

The 18-year-old is yet another superstar in the making to slip through the Broncos’ fingers and is revelling in the belief the Warriors have shown in him by giving him the fullback spot of rugby-bound Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.

Warriors coach Nathan Brown likened Walsh’s arrival to when he signed Kalyn Ponga to the Knights and credits recruitment guru Peter O’Sullivan for pulling off one of the all-time heists to get him to the club.

“We were looking for a fullback, and once ‘Sully’ showed me half a dozen clips of him, it was no different to when Darren Mooney showed me half a dozen clips of Kalyn Ponga,” Brown said.

“It’s really easy to see the good players; trying to get them to your club can be the hardest thing.

“What surprises me is how he’s very confident, which is really pleasing because he’s just a little footy player. We’ve got to make sure as coaches that we don’t stuff him up because the reality is we’ve just got to let him play.”

Rookies can show glimpses of potential in their first few outings, but Walsh has already displayed a booming boot, blistering speed, silky ball skills and a maturity that belies his 18 years of age, and he has already earned the trust of his teammates.

“I am the bloke that watches every game. Me and my roommate Sean (O’Sullivan) get ripped for it, but it’s not our fault we love footy,” Walsh said after helping his side edge the Cowboys on Sunday.

“There have been a couple of times when the boys have tried to rip me up about it, saying ‘get away from footy’ but it’s hard to. I love my footy and I love studying it because I want to be the best footballer that I can be.

“Growing up I always wanted to be the one that steers the team around and win footy games. I’ve always had it in me.

“I don’t second guess myself because at the end of the day, they support me, they back me and they want me to play the style of footy that I play. When I want the footy, I’ll get it and they’ll fall into line.”

Rookie Reece Walsh brought the magic to help the Warriors down the Cowboys in Gosford 🪄🧙‍♂️


Keeping Walsh grounded shouldn’t be a problem. Some young players get ahead of themselves, others shy away from the media, and some are too scared to speak up to their senior teammates.

But Walsh is different. He’s fearless and he showed in his debut against the Storm that he belongs on the same field with the game’s elite talent after he set up two tries on Anzac Day.

“It’s crazy. I look back to this time last year and I was meant to be at school,” he reflected.

“I still pinch myself every day. I’m fortunate and I’m grateful that I’ve got so much support around me that keeps me grounded.

“The past five weeks have been a bit of a rollercoaster. I was at Brissy a couple of weeks ago and then it all happened so fast. Now I’m here at the Warriors and I’m loving every minute of it.

“I look back at it (my debut) now because I’ve got all the photos saved in my phone. It was an emotional time to have my family there because I’ve grown up dreaming of playing footy my whole life. To finally get my crack with my family supporting me through my journey was special.”

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