‘Billy will select him’: Walsh on track for Origin

Joel Gould |

Reece Walsh has made good progress after being concussed in game one of the State of Origin series.
Reece Walsh has made good progress after being concussed in game one of the State of Origin series.

Reece Walsh is on track to be available for Queensland for the second State of Origin clash, with Kevin Walters insisting Billy Slater will pick him.

The 21-year-old Maroons fullback suffered a concussion in game one of the series in Sydney when taken out by NSW centre Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii.

His mandatory 11-day stand-down ruled him out of Brisbane’s clash with Cronulla last week and for Friday night’s away showdown with South Sydney.

Walsh has been undergoing protocols and ran freely with the Broncos side in an opposed session on Thursday.

He has made good progress and Walters scuppered any suggestions he may not play for Queensland in Melbourne on June 26.

Brisbane coach Walters, who also helmed the Maroons as coach for four series, said his star No.1 was on track to go into camp with Queensland on Monday.

“Of course Billy will select him,” Walters said.

“I would say Reece’s last seven minutes were enough in Origin I to suggest he will be there for Origin II.

“Reece is good. He is doing all the protocols with the HIAs and he will be fine to go for Origin. Unfortunately he is no good for us against Souths.

“He was medically ruled out. He was unavailable to play and I’m very comfortable with that. We care about our players at the Broncos and we want to do the right thing medically for them. He will be back for Billy in Origin.”

Walters said he was heartened by ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys’ vow that the game would punish severely players who attack the head of opponents.

“It’s not just our players, it’s all players, everyone has got these star players in their side,” he said.

“They need to be on the field playing where people can go and watch them, and the paying public who pay money to see these guys. I am very strong on that, so I’m pleased the NRL will take a really strong stance on it.”

Walters said he had no doubt Walsh would attack his next Origin game with the vim and vigour he has made his own.

“He won’t be gun-shy. He is from Nerang. They are not gun-shy down there,” he said.

“Reece is as tough a player as you will ever see, so it’s not about his toughness and being belted. 

“It’s about protecting him in a way that he should be protected on the field. 

“He is a marquee player, not only for us but for the NRL, and to have him sitting on the sidelines for a period of time is not healthy for the game.”