Teen Warriors sensation declares allegiance after eligibility tug of war

Warriors prodigy Reece Walsh has pledged his allegiance to Queensland and Australia, despite an approach from New Zealand coach Michael Maguire about a switch to the Kiwis.

The 18-year-old, who has both Māori and Indigenous Australian heritage confirmed he was born on the Gold Coast and has ambitions to represent the Maroons and Kangaroos.

“I was born in Queensland, I love Queensland and it’s a dream of mine to one day play for Queensland,” Walsh said.

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“I played for Australian Schoolboys [2019] and I feel like Queensland and Australia are the highest level … I’ve represented Queensland twice now [under-16s and 18s] and I love being around it.

“I lived in Nerang my whole life, played for Nerang and moved up to Brissy to start pre-season [with the Broncos last summer].”

The teenage sensation has made a serious splash in the NRL since shifting from the Broncos to the Warriors mid-season.

Walsh has scored three tries in five games for the Warriors and has looked dangerous at both fullback and in the halves, sparking debate as to why the Broncos let him leave.

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Walsh admits he saw himself playing out his career at the Broncos, but is now fully committed to the Warriors.

“That didn’t work out and I’m here now and I’m fully invested into the Warriors. I’m loving it,” Walsh said.

“I wanted to play first grade. Not saying I wanted to jump into it, but [Brisbane coach] Kevvie [Walters] … just wanted to hold me back a little bit and had Jamayne [Isaako] there [at fullback].

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“I sat down and spoke with Brownie [Nathan Brown at the Warriors]. He’s a terrific coach and he’s got a lot to give me.

“I wanted to learn as a player and grow as a player. I thought that was the best opportunity for me to grow as a player.”

Providing more scope for Walsh to grow as a player has been the selfless approach of Warriors skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.

The former Dally M Medal winner, who will join rugby union at the end of the season has decided to step aside from the fullback role to allow Walsh to play in his preferred position and the young gun is eternally grateful.

“What he’s done in the game – he’s won a premiership, Dally M [Medal], Golden Boot,” the Walsh said.

“For him to do that, it makes me really feel special and want to go out there and do a job for him and the boys.”

Originally published asTeen Warriors sensation declares allegiance after eligibility tug of war

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