Rugby league: Warriors confirm plans for young star Reece Walsh
After Reece Walsh
's extremely promising NRL debut against the Melbourne Storm, coach Nathan Brown
had a suggestion about how the Warriors might use the 18-year-old, but as Michael Burgess notes, he has now changed his mind.
The Warriors plan to use young gun Reece Walsh
in the halves for the foreseeable future, at least until injured halfback Chanel Harris-Tavita
comes back into the fold.
That means that Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
will remain at fullback, after making way in Melbourne last week to allow Walsh
to make his NRL debut at the back.
Coach Nathan Brown
suggested after that match that it could be an ongoing scenario, but has had a change of heart.
is listed to start at five-eighth against the North Queensland Cowboys on Sunday, and assistant coach Craig Hodges confirmed today that the former Broncos prodigy would be part of the left edge.
"Reece has got a big left foot so that helps down that left side of the field," said Hodges. "Kodi
] will take a little bit more responsibility organising and steering the team and Roger also talks very well from fullback, so he helps with the talk with Reece on that edge."
It's an amazing rise for the 18-year-old, who has only played three senior matches in his short career, and all at fullback, but Hodges said he was ready and able to fill the playmaking position.
"He's had some experience there as a young guy growing up and Reece is an outstanding talent," said Hodges. "We feel that what he brings to the team and the things that he does well will be a bonus to us and the things that he gets wrong won't be terminal for us, they'll be great education for him.
"It's far more beneficial for him to be getting game time, as opposed to just watching the game and trying to learn during the week.
"Whether we're right or wrong, we'll learn that over the next few months but as it stands at the moment, until Chanel gets back, I think Reece will be in the halves."
Defending in the front line will be a challenge, after being shielded last week at fullback, and young halves in the NRL have no place to hide, with heavy traffic coming their way.
But the Warriors have no qualms about his ability to cope. Hodges says Walsh
has tremendous reservoirs of self-confidence and belief - "he's an 18-year-old who can't believe it took this long to get to first-grade" - and can handle the physicality.
"He's happy to get his body in front defensively and will do a good job there," said Hodges.
The Warriors also expect the Cowboys to concentrate their assault in the centre of the field, rather than on the fringes.
"They much prefer to spot players up through the middle of the rack," said Hodges. "I'd be much expecting say Wayde [Egan
] to get a lot more traffic than Reece, but that's not to say that we haven't prepared for Reece to get some."
Jason Taumalolo is back from injury and the Cowboys' key forward. In the corresponding clash in 2020
the Warriors constantly sent runners his way, compromising his ability to change the game with his powerful charges.
"He'll get some traffic going his way and there are one or two other guys that we want to try and work over," said Hodges. "But then it's what you do once you've done that, to take advantage of them.
"It's a big bonus for them to have [Taumalolo] in the side, hopefully he is a little bit underdone but it will be up to us to tire him out quicker than normal."
After the drama of last week, with the late withdrawals of Tohu Harris
and David Fusitua
affecting an already depleted squad, Hodges expects no such drama this weekend.
"Last week it was just chaos at the back end of the week with players coming and going everywhere," said Hodges. "We've certainly had a much more settled week and unless something unforeseen happens, I'd be expecting us to be 1-17."
The British Super League has been rocked by the claim and an investigation is underway.