Broncos great calls for Reece Walsh's replacement to be given permanent NRL role

Darius Boyd believes Tristan Sailor belongs in first grade.

Brisbane Broncos great Darius Boyd believes Tristan Sailor can shine in Reece Walsh's absence, declaring the fullback is "too good to be playing reserve grade". Sailor has been named to start at fullback against the Cowboys at Suncorp on Friday after regular No.1 Walsh suffered a facial fracture in the 34-12 loss to Penrith on Thursday night and will miss four to six weeks of action.

Sailor starred last year for the Broncos in four NRL games while filling in for Walsh, racking up six try assists. And Boyd says he will show just how good he is on Thursday night. "He's too good to be playing reserve grade. He's a smart kid," Boyd told SEN. "He's probably one of the fittest at the club and fastest... While it's not good to have Reece out, we're blessed to have someone of Tristan's calibre waiting in the wings."

Reece Walsh and Tristan Sailor in action for the Broncos.
Reece Walsh and Tristan Sailor. Image: Getty

Kevin Walters has also been full of praise for the youngster heading into the clash with rivals, the Cowboys. "Tristan is going to get his opportunity and a good block of footy to show everybody what he can do," Walters told AAP earlier this week.

"We are lucky to have such good depth with Tristan. He is a natural fullback who reads the game well and is in love with the game, which is really important in those key positions. He has good football instinct."

Walsh has assisted Sailor with his fullback play over the past 12 months and Brisbane winger Jesse Arthars said this week would be no different as he gears up for his NRL return. "Tristan has been playing fullback for a long time. Reece does one of the best jobs in the game and I think they bounce off each other with different ideas, what's working and what is not working," Arthars said. "That is ultimately healthy for the club with two different minds coming together."

The Broncos are currently in the midst of an injury crisis with Walsh one of a handful of starters on the sidelines due to injury. Payne Haas is also out with a knee injury, while on Tuesday, second-rower Brendan Piakura joined them in the casualty ward after picking up an ankle injury at training and is set to miss the next month of action.

Former Dragons forward Jaiyden Hunt moved into the back row at Tuesday's training session after Piakura left the field and will replace him in the starting side. The injury of Piakura has also seen see winger Corey Oates return to the side after making a successful comeback from his own injury.

On Tuesday, Oates trained with both the forwards and backs and has been named as a utility on the bench for round four. In another positive injury update, skipper Adam Reynolds has been named to return after missing the Broncos' round-three loss to Penrith with a medial collateral ligament strain.

Darius Boyd and Reece Walsh.
Darius Boyd speaks to Reece Walsh at a Broncos training session. (Bradley Kanaris via Getty Images)

Reece Walsh shuts down rumours he has signed a new contract with Brisbane

The Broncos superstar has raised some eyebrows after promptly shutting down reports he re-signed with the club on a mega $5.5 million contract. Walsh has been at the centre of speculation over a new mega-deal at the Broncos for months now and there have been calls for the club to make Walsh the highest-paid player in their history He currently earns around $450,000 in 2023 on his current contract, but the Broncos are fully aware his new deal with command more than double the amount.

PENRITH, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 21: Kotoni Staggs and Reece Walsh of the Broncos looks dejected after a loss during the round three NRL match between Penrith Panthers and Brisbane Broncos at BlueBet Stadium on March 21, 2024 in Penrith, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)
Reece Walsh has raised some eyebrows after promptly shutting down reports he re-signed with the club on a mega $5.5 million contract. (Jason McCawley via Getty Images)

On Tuesday evening, The Courier Mail reported Walsh had signed on for five years in a deal worth $5.5 million, keeping him at the club until 2029. However, Walsh dismissed that report by taking to social media to write: "Don't believe everything you read. No deal has been signed," he wrote. Accompanying the caption was a picture of his daughter and himself sticking their tongues out.


In another picture shared online, Walsh wrote: "I'm doin me. I'll let you know when something happens." There is no indication that Walsh may leave the Broncos for another club as it is understood that both parties remain in negotiations over a new contract.

with AAP