Walsh keeps GF wound open, eyes Broncos extension

Joel Gould |

Broncos fullback Reece Walsh has taken lessons from last year’s grand final loss to Penrith.
Broncos fullback Reece Walsh has taken lessons from last year’s grand final loss to Penrith.

Reece Walsh is using the pain of last year’s NRL grand final loss to Penrith to drive key improvements in his game as he targets staying at Brisbane long-term.

The 21-year-old star fullback learned some tough lessons in the 26-24 defeat.

A defensive lapse at the end of the game allowed Nathan Cleary to run in the match-winning try, but Walsh was also not happy with his impact with the ball.

Nathan Cleary
A costly defensive lapse against Nathan Cleary will help drive Reece Walsh in 2024. (James Gourley/AAP PHOTOS)

The Broncos have reviewed the game as a team and Walsh, speaking in Los Angeles ahead of the round-one clash with the Sydney Roosters in Las Vegas, said he had a key takeaway.

“Just to take the moments when they come and get more involved,” he said.

“I felt in that game I probably wasn’t involved as much as I wanted to be and that was credit to Penrith and their defence.

“It is always going to be tough looking back on (the grand final) and seeing how close we were.

“The good thing about footy is that we are back this year and even more motivated. I feel like (the loss) has brought us tighter as a group.

“The scars are still hurting but we are using that for the season ahead. We are keeping that wound open.”

Walsh said he was relishing the challenge of having an impact at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on a constricted field of 63m in width, rather than the 68m of a normal NRL field.

“I think it is a good challenge for myself,” Walsh said.

“I have set a few goals coming into this year and I think playing on that narrower field it is going to be good to try and implement some of them and work on the things I want to work on.

“I want to get involved more, have more carries and more quality touches.”

Walsh is on contract until the end of 2025 but the Broncos will at some stage extend that to keep their fullback star out of the clutches of rivals. Walsh joked that he thought coach Kevin Walters had “lost” his number when asked about an extension.

“I am still waiting for a phone call … but I am sure all of that is going to get sorted out,” he said.

“I would like to secure some long-term stuff but … I just have to let my footy do the talking. I am sure there will be a time when we sit down and have a conversation, and I look forward to it.

“I have my family down the road and lots of good mates. I feel like these (Broncos) boys are my family too now.

“I love the club, the staff and the fans. We are doing something really special here.”