Reece Walsh handed horror news as Taylan May learns fate over divisive NRL incident

The extent of the Brisbane Broncos fullback's injury has been revealed.

Reece Walsh suffered a facial fracture in a nasty incident with Taylan May on Thursday night, after initial reports stated that he'd been cleared. Nathan Cleary piled more pain on the Broncos in the NRL grand final rematch, having a hand in four tries as the Panthers ran out 34-12 winners in Penrith.

The Broncos' pain was exacerbated by a nasty facial injury to Walsh, who collided head-first with May in the opening minutes. May and Walsh clashed heads after the Panthers centre rushed in to shut down Walsh, and May was controversially penalised for the contact and put on report.

Reece Walsh and Taylan May.
Reece Walsh suffered a facial fracture, but Taylan May has escaped suspension. Image: Getty/AAP

Walsh required several stitches for a nasty gash under his left eye, and never returned to the game after experiencing trouble with his vision. Reports emerged on Thursday night that Walsh had initially been cleared of a facial fracture, but the news wasn't so good on Friday morning.

Follow-up scans have revealed that Walsh did suffer a fracture after all, which will likely rule the Broncos fullback out for 4-6 weeks. The 21-year-old won't be able to fly back to Brisbane and will need to be driven instead. The Broncos haven't provided a recovery time, which will be determined after Walsh visits with a specialist.

Panthers fans under fire over response to Reece Walsh injury

Amid the ugly scenes, Panthers fans copped condemnation on social media for their reaction to Walsh's injury. Some in attendance could be heard booing Walsh as he was receiving assistance, as well as when he came off the field.

Reece Walsh
Reece Walsh suffered a facial fracture. Image: Channel 9/Getty

Others loudly cheered when replays of Walsh's injury were shown on the big screen, and the Broncos fullback was reportedly hit with taunts and sledges while he watched on from the sideline. One person wrote on social media: "The fact that anybody thought that booing when Reece Walsh was down clearly injured and then cheering when it showed him bleeding and coming off was absolutely disgusting. Whether you hate a player or not, NEVER boo or cheer an injury. It's classless."

Another person wrote: "Multiple Penrith fans honest to god giving a standing ovation to Reece Walsh leaving the field with blood pouring from his face/head. Disgusting. I’ll call out any fans doing it, doesn’t matter the club. It’s low." While a third added: "The Panthers fans have absolutely no class. No matter what you think of Reece Walsh, your player caused the injury he deserves to be punished. End of story. Be grateful he wasn't sent off."

Taylan May escaped suspension for Reece Walsh incident

The Panthers were also facing a nervous wait after May was put on report for the contact on Walsh. But the gun centre wasn't charged by the match review committee on Friday morning.


"No-one wants to see the best players go off, but I just saw it as an accident," Panthers coach Cleary said. "I thought he was trying to pull out of the tackle, he was directly upright, which is not how you tackle.

"If he had of bent down, he probably would have hit him in the head with his shoulder. Reece Walsh moves pretty fast, these things happen. I'm not too concerned about that."

Broncos coach Kevin Walters said he didn't have a good view of the hit. But he labelled the incident as "just one of those things that happen".

Kotoni Staggs and Reece Walsh, pictured here after the Broncos' loss to the Panthers.
Kotoni Staggs and Reece Walsh look on after the Broncos' loss to the Panthers.

Six months from stealing the NRL premiership from Brisbane with an absurd individual 20 minutes in the grand final, Nathan Cleary was at it again on Thursday night. The Penrith halfback had three try assists, a line break, three line break assists and 106 running metres as BlueBet Stadium.

His performance left the NRL world mesmerised, particurlary a sublime assist for Izack Tago to score before half-time. "The way we were disciplined about how we wanted to play and the choices we were making based on that, I thought was as good as we've done for a while, even (compared to) last year," Ivan Cleary said.

"Hopefully that's a sign of things to come. It's hard to back up good performances at the start of the year, so it was very pleasing."

with AAP