Truth about Reece Walsh comes to light after Kevin Walters cops backlash from Broncos fans

NRL fans were questioning why Walsh didn't play for the Broncos against the Warriors.

Renowned 'NRL Physio' Brien Seeney has supported Kevin Walters' call to rest Reece Walsh, Payne Haas and Patrick Carrigan for the Broncos' clash with the Warriors on Saturday - a decision which sparked backlash towards the Brisbane coach. The Broncos have crashed to 10th on the NRL ladder after a 32-16 loss to the Warriors in New Zealand, and Brisbane fans aren't happy.

Many took to social media to criticise Walters for not playing Walsh, Haas and Carrigan due to their precarious spot on the ladder, and the Broncos have now been leap-frogged by the Cowboys and Dragons. Walters' side is facing a tricky battle to play finals footy in 2024 after slipping to 7-8 on the season after Saturday's loss.

Reece Walsh, pictured here alongside Broncos players.
Reece Walsh was rested as the Broncos suffered a brutal loss to the Warriors. Image: AAP/Getty

Many felt the Broncos couldn't afford to give Walsh, Haas and Carrigan a rest, especially considering they've also been rocked by injuries to Adam Reynolds, Corey Oates and Jordan Riki. Haas and Carrigan have done plenty of work over the last few months, but many questioned why Walsh didn't play against the Warriors considering he hadn't played in three weeks before Origin 2 on Wednesday night.

But the fact the Broncos had to travel to New Zealand forced Walters' hand. The coach didn't want his players flying from Brisbane to Melbourne (for Origin 2), then flying to New Zealand and back to Brisbane again.

And according to Seeney, Walters made the right call to rest his biggest stars. The NRL Physio highlighted the fact that Xavier Coates injured his hamstring while playing just three days after Origin 2, and will now miss at least the next six weeks.

By resting Walsh, Haas and Carrigan for one week, the Broncos avoided the risk of losing their best players for even longer. “It’s always a balance between the value these star players can add to the team and the injury risk of playing two games in four to five days,” he told the Daily Telegraph. “For the Broncos specifically, it was a pretty easy decision to rest their Origin stars - the international flight just adds to the already less than ideal preparation.

"Both Walsh and Haas have dealt with recurring knee issues in the past two months as well. We’ve seen teams like the Broncos struggle without injured stars this season, and while they faced one game without them this weekend, the last thing they needed was Walsh, Haas or Carrigan missing 6-8 weeks over the back end of the season.”

Xavier Coates.
Xavier Coates tore his hamstring while backing up after State of Origin 2. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)
Xavier Coates, pictured here after injuring his hamstring.
Xavier Coates is out of State of Origin 3 and will miss 6-8 weeks. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

As Seeney pointed out, Walsh and Haas have both had knee issues this year, while Walsh suffered a fractured cheekbone and was concussed in Origin 1. Mal Meninga said in commentary for Fox Sports on Saturday: “It’s a very tough decision. Even looking back at Kevvie throughout his career, he would never sit at home and not play. It’s a little bit against the way the Broncos have operated in the past, where typically it’s seen as a badge of honour to come back after Origin.”

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The State of Origin trio will all be back in action against the Panthers on Friday night in a blockbuster clash. Currently on 18 points and sitting 10th on the ladder, the Broncos will likely need to win six of their remaining nine games to make the finals. They also face the Dragons, Knights and Bulldogs over the next month in a make-or-break stretch against teams in or around the top eight.