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Billy Slater weighs in after Reece Walsh cops backlash over NRL incident in Las Vegas

The NRL legend has defended Reece Walsh after the controversy.

Maroons coach Billy Slater has backed the decision to only hand Reece Walsh a fine for his shoulder charge on Daniel Tupou during the opening round. NRL fans were left divided during the Roosters and Broncos game when Walsh appeared to stop a certain try when he collided with Tupou and bundled him out of touch during the act of scoring.

Referee Grant Atkins initially ruled the tackle fine. This didn't sit well with a frustrated James Tedesco who immediately used his captain's challenge. And the decision was overturned as the video referee deemed Walsh didn't make an attempt to wrap his hands around Tupou.

Maroons coach Billy Slater (pictured far left) has backed the decision to only hand Reece Walsh a fine for his shoulder charge on Daniel Tupou (pictured right) after NRL fans were left frustrated. (Images: Getty Images/Fox Sports)
Maroons coach Billy Slater (pictured far left) has backed the decision to only hand Reece Walsh a fine for his shoulder charge on Daniel Tupou (pictured right) after NRL fans were left frustrated. (Images: Getty Images/Fox Sports)

While the Roosters received the penalty, debate started to whether Walsh deserved time in the bin for the shoulder charge. Others felt a penalty try could have been awarded since Tupou looked like scoring if it wasn't for the no arms tackle.

However, Slater has moved to quell the drama and claimed the NRL got the decision right. "I think firstly we all could see it was a shoulder charge and I think they've got this right," he told Channel Nine The Billy Slater podcast.

"It's probably a penalty, he's been charged with a grade one, it's a fine, he's about to sign a big contract so he's going to be OK with the fine."

Billy Slater bemoans difficult situation for fullbacks

Slater was the talk of the NRL world in 2018 when he was facing a ban from the grand final after a similar incident. However, Slater was free to play after the incident. And having been in Walsh' situation, the NRL legend admitted it is hard for the fullback running across to get these challenges right.

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"He didn't make high contact, he didn't make any head contact, there was no dangerous contact, sure he's performed a tackle that is a shoulder charge, that's illegal, I get that, that's why I'm comfortable with the outcome but given the situation again, he either doesn't compete or he puts himself in a dangerous position," Slater said of Walsh doing everything he could to stop Tupou.

"That's the only other two things he feels he can do so I'm good with the punishment, I'm OK with where it sits." Phil Gould agreed with Slater and admitted the collision wasn't too dangerous.

Reece Walsh celebrates a try.
NRL legend Billy Slater believes the NRL's ruling for Reece Walsh (pictured) was correct. (Ezra Shaw via Getty Images)

Walsh has been hit with a grade one shoulder charge on Tupou and will most likely cop a $3,000 fine if he accepts the charge when he arrives back in Australia or he can fight it and risk a two-match ban if he loses. The opening round didn't go to plan for the Broncos having entered the opening round clash in Las Vegas as favourites against the Roosters, but went down 20-10 after Tedesco put in a 'vintage' display.

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