Reece Walsh called out over 'awful' scenes as Queensland fullback fails to fire in Origin 2

The 21-year-old didn't have any impact as NSW thrashed the Maroons to level the State of Origin series.

Reece Walsh and Billy Slater insisted the young fullback wouldn't be gun-shy in his return to the field in State of Origin 2 on Wednesday night, but his performance didn't really match the promises. Walsh played for the first time since being knocked out by Joseph Suaalii just seven minutes into Game 1, but was powerless to prevent the Blues running away with Game 2 in a 38-18 bloodbath.

The Blues forwards monstered their Queensland counterparts in the middle, which allowed the outside-backs to run rings around the Maroons out wide. The lop-sided scoreline meant Walsh wasn't provided with many opportunities to turn the game around, but his performance was underwhelming to say the least.

Reece Walsh in action for Queensland in State of Origin 2.
Reece Walsh was caught out of position a number of times in State of Origin 2. Image: Channel 9/Getty

The 21-year-old is often found out in defence, but it gets overlooked when he produces the big, flashy plays with ball in hand. But with Queensland failing to fire in all aspects on Wednesday night, Walsh's frailties in defence were glaringly obvious.

Reece Walsh during State of Origin 2.
Reece Walsh looks on during State of Origin 2. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Most notably, he was caught way out of position for NSW's third try, and simply jogged across rather than sprinting when Mitchell Moses provided a beautiful grubber for Brian To'o to score. With NSW running rampant in the first half, Walsh seemed a step or two off the pace and out of position every time the Blues went through.

He showed some glimpses of life with ball in hand, but made a couple of errors and ill-timed passes that showed he was a bit rusty after not playing for the three weeks. He also got monstered by Latrell Mitchell on a number of occasions as NSW proved way more physical than the Maroons.

Speaking in commentary for SEN radio, former NRL player Joel Caine made the brutal comment that Walsh had the same level of influence on Game 2 as he did on Game 1 when he only lasted seven minutes. On social media, fans were more than willing to point out Walsh's underwhelming display, with some describing it as "horrid" and "awful".


Despite the setback, Queensland coach Billy Slater was happy with the way his team bounced back in the second half after going to the break down 34-0. “It was a tough old first half,” Slater said in his post-game press conference.

“It felt like we were running uphill and we just couldn’t stop the momentum of the game. Part of that’s on us. We’ll look at our game and work out what we need to adjust and what we need to go after.

“NSW just got a snowball of possession and we held them out for a few sets and then they broke and got a try and it sort of went downhill from there. It’s a tough game to play. It’s a lot tougher when you’re tired. So, like I said, it snowballed against the team and we just couldn’t stop it.

“I thought the second half was quite good. I thought our actions, the way we started the second half, we went after our footy a bit more. We were patient. We weren’t looking for shortcuts to draw back the scoreline. It’s a real positive that the group pulled themselves together at halftime after the fuel tank that they used and played footy in the second half. We don’t want to be in that position.”

Slater will almost certainly make changes to his side for the decider at Suncorp in three weeks, with David Fifita likely to come back into the side after being overlooked for the first two games. “I haven’t even thought of that," Slater said. "We’re still Queenslanders.”