Reece Walsh responds to ugly Origin claims as QLD star reveals unseen act from Joseph Suaalii

The Queensland fullback has lifted the lid on what his NSW rival did after the incident in State of Origin 1.

Reece Walsh has revealed he's buried the hatchet with Joseph Suaalii and forgiven the NSW player, while also shooting down claims he might be 'gun shy' in State of Origin 2. Walsh hasn't played a minute of action since being knocked out of Origin 1 by Suaalii, but has passed all tests and protocols and will make his return in Game 2 at the MCG next Wednesday.

Speaking to the media for the first time since the incident with Suaalii, Walsh revealed on Tuesday that Suaalii had sent him a message to apologise for the sickening hit. "That's footy. It is what comes with the sport," the 21-year-old fullback said.

"He sent me a nice message and I sent him a nice one back too. At the end of the day you want to represent your state with pride and do whatever you can for your team. Things happen."

Reece Walsh and Joseph Suaalii.
Reece Walsh and Joseph Suaalii have buried the hatchet. Image: Getty

Also on Tuesday, NSW enforcer Liam Martin said the Blues won't be changing their game-plan to target Walsh and put as much pressure on him as possible - despite it backfiring when Suaalii was sent-off in Origin 1. "I treat it the exact same. It doesn't change," Martin said. "He's such a key for them so we'll be going after him. We're obviously not intentionally going there to hurt or injure him. It's part of the game. Nothing will change."

Some have suggested the hit from Suaalii might result in Walsh being 'gun shy' in Origin 2 and more wary with ball in hand. But the fullback doesn't think that will be the case.

"If I had any doubts or was scared I wouldn't pull on the Queensland jersey," he said. "I know how much it means to the people of Queensland and past players. They need a team that is willing to put their body on the line and do whatever for their state. If I was scared or shy in any way I would pull myself out."

Reece Walsh, pictured here at a Queensland training session at Toowoomba Sports Ground.
Reece Walsh was mobbed by fans at a Queensland training session at Toowoomba Sports Ground. Image: AAP

Walsh was forced to miss the last two Broncos games due to the NRL's mandatory 11-day stand-down period, but has passed all concussion tests and has been cleared to return in Game 2. He admitted he was somewhat relieved that Billy Slater picked him at fullback again after Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow scored a hat-trick in Game 1 when switching to the No.1 role from centre.


Tabuai-Fidow plays fullback for the Dolphins and scored an incredible solo try last week that had many suggesting he should be the Maroons' No.1 rather than Walsh. "I knew I had the protocols to go through and there was a bit of persuading with Bill to get my job back because Hammer killed it,"' Walsh said. "That was a bit tough but I just had to tick all the boxes. I am grateful for Bill giving me the opportunity."

"Hammer is phenomenal with what he brings to a footy team. You can't coach speed and it is hard to go up against speed. I am just glad he is in my team and I can use his skills and back him up. I know he is going to do the same for me."

with AAP