Reece Walsh ruled out of NRL clash for Broncos after crushing defeat for Maroons in Origin 2

Walsh will be rested for the Broncos clash with the Warriors on Saturday.

After a horror performance in State of Origin on Wednesday, Reece Walsh has been left out of the Broncos squad to face the Warriors on Saturday. In what was his first game back from a concussion, Walsh and Maroons coach Billy Slater insisted the young fullback wouldn't be gun-shy in his return, but his performance suggested otherwise.

Wednesday marked the first game Walsh had played since being knocked out by Joseph Suaalii just seven minutes into Game 1 but he was powerless to prevent the Blues running away with Game 2 in a 38-18 flogging. Walsh struggled to get into the game and when he did errors followed him, in what was a humbling game for both him and his Maroons teammates.

Pictured Reece Walsh
The Broncos have opted to rest star fullback Reece Walsh for their clash with the Warriors in Auckland on Saturday after a horror performance for Queensland in Game 2. Image: Getty

And while Walsh is likely chomping at the bit to get back on the park he will have to wait another week to do so with Broncos coach Kevin Walters deciding to give him the rest of the week off. The Broncos flew out for New Zealand on Thursday and Walters decided to be cautious with his returning Origin stars after a brutal match in Melbourne some 24 hours before the NRL side jetted overseas.

All three of Brisbane's Origin stars - Payne Haas, Pat Carrigan and Walsh - were left out of the side to face the Warriors despite initially being named on the extended bench. With just 10 weeks until the finals, Walters decided against taking any chances with his star cavalry despite the fact their finals place is far from secure with the Broncos clinging to seventh spot with a 7-7 record. Brisbane have been rocked by injuries all season, while the 13th-placed Warriors are in all sorts following last week's embarrassing 66-6 loss to the Titans.

In the absence of Walsh, Tristan Sailor will play fullback, while Xavier Willison and Kobe Hetherington replace Haas and Carrigan in the run-on side. Queensland star Selwyn Cobbo has also been named in the centres after being left out of Slater's Origin 2 side.

The Maroons coach will be watching Cobbo closely against the Warriors ahead of a likely recall for the Origin decider on July 17. Reliable winger Jesse Arthars also is set to make his return for the Broncos this weekend after two months on the sidelines with a broken jaw.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 10: Patrick Carrigan passes the ball to Payne Haas during a Brisbane Broncos NRL training session at Red Hill on January 10, 2024 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
Kevin Walters has opted to rest both Pat Carrigan and Payne Haas for the Broncos' clash with the Warriors on Saturday.

Many NSW fans feared that Walsh was going to have a starring role on Wednesday, with the fullback having plenty to prove and fresh off a few weeks break. But the 21-year-old put in one of the all-time Origin shockers.

The flashy fullback is often found out in defence, but it gets regularly overlooked due to his brilliance with the ball in hand. However, with Queensland failing to fire in all aspects on Wednesday night, the holes in Walsh's game were glaringly obvious.


Walsh was badly caught way out of position for NSW's third try and was seen just jogging across rather than sprinting when Mitchell Moses put a grubber kick through for Brian To'o to score. With NSW running rampant in the first half, Walsh was constantly caught out of position and seemingly lost for ideas in attack.

When he did get involved with ball in hand, his passes regularly hit the ground and he failed to cause the Blues defence any real headaches. In commentary for SEN radio, former NRL player Joel Caine brutally claimed Walsh had more impact in his seven minutes in Game 1 than he did in the entirety of Game 2. And fans were in agreeance, with some describing Walsh's performance as "horrid" and "awful".