Walsh commits to Broncos, gets Slater boost for Origin

Joel Gould |

Queensland Origin coach Billy Slater and fullback Reece Walsh ramp it up at training.
Queensland Origin coach Billy Slater and fullback Reece Walsh ramp it up at training.

Reece Walsh says he wants to play out his career at Brisbane, putting to bed speculation about his NRL future, as he gets recharged by extra sessions with Queensland coach Billy Slater.

The 21-year-old fullback, in camp with the Maroons ahead of the State of Origin series opener, knew he would be peppered with questions about his future in his first all-in media conference since he was in Los Angeles ahead of round one.

The Broncos are in talks with Walsh’s management about a lengthy extension that will keep him at the club until 2030. It has been a hot topic in Brisbane due to a perceived delay in negotiations, but Walsh said he was not going anywhere.

“Yep. One hundred per cent,” he said when asked if he would be a Bronco for life.

“The Broncos are a massive part of me being here (in Origin) and I love the club. I want to be here for a long time and all that (contract) stuff will get sorted.

“I love the club and I love the people involved at the club and what they stand for. They have amazing values … and we’ve got some decent (players) too and that plays a factor.”

Walsh won both the 2023 Origin games he has played in and missed a third with suspension.

His bond with legendary Maroons fullback Slater rocks his world and the pair were doing extra work on the subtleties of fullback play after training on Tuesday.

Billy Slater and Reece Walsh.
Billy Slater give Reece Walsh some advice during a Maroons training session in Brisbane. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

“His detail around everything is pretty crazy, so it’s awesome just to get things about your body position, the way your shoulder should be, the way your hips should be,” Walsh said.

“It’s pretty crazy and awesome to get those sorts of things that you don’t think about.

“He is the best at what he does, so for me it’s awesome to be around the best fullback to ever play our game. To get the opportunity to be coached and mentored by him and getting drills at training is a lifetime opportunity, so I’m soaking it up and enjoying the moments together.”

Walsh got the call on Sunday night that he would be back in the side and it was just as big a thrill as the first time he was chosen in 2021, when he missed out on playing due to an injury in camp.

Slater picked him last year ahead of game one of the series and Walsh had flashbacks when the phone rang.

“Getting the call from Billy was pretty special,” he said.

“It felt like the first time he called me. It was a special moment but I’m just really grateful to be back in the team with a bunch of awesome people and awesome players. It’s exciting.”

Slater is just as thrilled to have Walsh in camp.

“I have really enjoyed working with Reece over the last couple of years,” Slater said.

“It has been a long journey and I have loved seeing the rise. Not just with the brilliant stuff he brings, but he has elevated his game and has a really good foundation to his footy now. I am looking forward to getting to work.”

Queensland hooker Harry Grant missed Tuesday’s session with illness but is not in doubt for the June 5 clash in Sydney.

AAP