Wayne Bennett and Dolphins 'furious' as Reece Walsh exits Warriors

·3-min read
Pictured here, Warriors fullback Reece Walsh looks on during an NRL game.
Reece Walsh's impending exit from the Warriors has reportedly left NRL expansion club the Dolphins fuming. Pic: Getty

Reece Walsh's impending exit from the Warriors has reportedly left the NRL's newest franchise, the Dolphins, fuming after it emerged that the gun fullback was on the verge of joining the Brisbane Broncos.

Late on a dramatic Tuesday, where it was revealed the Warriors were set to land Raiders fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, reports emerged that Walsh was set to turn down a massive offer from NRL expansion club, the Dolphins and move back to Brisbane.

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Walsh moved from the Broncos to the Warriors in 2021 after failing to establish himself in Brisbane's first grade squad, and the 19-year-old had two more years to run on his contract with the New Zealand-based side.

However, the Warriors granted the teen phenomenon a release on "compassionate" grounds, under the condition that he didn't speak with any other NRL clubs, apart from Brisbane.

Pictured left to right, Raiders fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad and Warriors young gun Reece Walsh.
The Warriors have picked up Raiders fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (L) for next season after allowing Reece Walsh to rejoin the Broncos. Pic: Getty

“There has been a major change in Reece’s personal circumstances in the past two months which have impacted on his ability to move to Auckland with the club next season,” Warriors CEO Cameron George said.

“We’re working through his situation and have given him permission, with some conditions, to look at options in Brisbane.

"It’s not the way either Reece or the club had wanted this to play out but we respect the issues he has.”

It's understood the bombshell development has left Wayne Bennett’s Dolphins seething, with the fullback the latest to snub the expansion club as it still searches for its first marquee signing.

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Nine’s Ben Dobbin reported that the Warriors' stance has left the Dolphins “furious” and they've sought clarification on the situation from the NRL.

“The Dolphins have rung the NRL this morning furious and demanding clarification on why the Warriors are allowed to dictate the only club Reece Walsh is allowed to play at,” Dobbin tweeted.

“Brisbane Broncos will have drama around the roster for 2023 now.”

The Daily Telegraph’s Phil Rothfield suggested "bad blood" between the Dolphins and Warriors may have been behind the situation.

“Warriors gave him conditional release that he goes to Broncos,” Rothfield tweeted.

“Bad blood between Dolphins and Warriors,” he added.

The Warriors moved quickly to sign Nicoll-Klokstad, 26, on a three-year deal after the Raiders granted the Kiwi international a release on compassionate grounds.

The Warriors have followed suit and allowed Walsh, 19, to return to Queensland to be with his young daughter.

Both players will play out their respective seasons before moving on.

Nicoll-Klokstad has been with the Raiders since 2019, playing a crucial role in their grand final run in his first season.

He began his career with the Warriors, playing two games for them in 2017.

The 26-year-old has played 73 games for the Raiders, scoring 30 tries.

with AAP

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