Reece Walsh hit with charge by NRL over controversial incident in Las Vegas

Many fans felt the Broncos fullback was fortunate to stay on the field.

Reece Walsh has been hit with a grade one shoulder charge on Daniel Tupou in the act of scoring as NRL fans were left divided over the incident. Walsh 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 Broncos entered the opening round clash in Las Vegas as favourites against the Roosters, but veteran James Tedesco showed why he isn't ready to give up his claim as the best fullback in the competition having helped his team to a 20-10 victory.

NRL fans were left divided after Reece Walsh (pictured left) remained on the field after his shoulder charge Daniel Tupou (pictured right) in the act of scoring a try. (Images: Getty Images/Fox Sports)
NRL fans were left divided after Reece Walsh (pictured left) remained on the field after his shoulder charge Daniel Tupou (pictured right) in the act of scoring a try. (Images: Getty Images/Fox Sports)

Walsh did his best to keep his team in the game with a try and a try assist as the 21-year-old superstar showed the US audience his talent. However, it could have been a lot worse for Walsh if his shoulder charge in the 45th minute was deemed a sin bin offence.

Tupou was heading towards the corner flag in what appeared to be a certain try for the Roosters in the second half. Although the much-smaller Walsh had other plans and collided with Tupou side on and bundled him out of touch.

Referee Grant Atkins initially ruled the tackle fine. This didn't sit well with a frustrated 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.

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.

“They are going to challenge the shoulder charge here… we are talking 110kg man here going for the corner, watch the courage of Walsh,” Michael Ennis said on Fox League. “Is this a sin bin? It’s a shoulder charge," Ennis added after the decision.

“Does he leave 13 on 13, he will… there’s a bit being said out there,” Andrew Voss added. Fans were left just as divided with many feeling Walsh should have at least spent 10 minutes in the bin after it was officially deemed a shoulder charge.

James Tedesco shines in NRL opener

There was plenty of hype around the fullback talent over in the US ahead of the first two matches of the year, but it was Tedesco and Walsh who stole the show. And while Walsh had his hand in both of the Broncos' tries either side of half-time, it was Tedesco that shone.


Plenty was made of Tedesco's form last year, which saw plenty of NRL fans calling for a new Blues and Kangaroos No.1. And while he is no certainty to remain the incumbent for New South Wales, the fullback did everything he could in the first game to show he is ready to fight for his position.

James Tedesco runs the ball.
James Tedesco (pictured) was one of the best players in Las Vegas for the Roosters. (Ezra Shaw via Getty Images)

Tedesco made nine tackle busts, ran for more than 200 metres and was on hand to set-up a try. The match was played at such a fast-pace, coach Trent Robinson was all praise for both teams.

"I thought the physical contact and the continuity of the footy that us and Brisbane played was quite high for round one, or any stage," Robinson said. Broncos coach Kevin Walters was more downbeat and admitted the Broncos were off their game in the opening round.

"Before I left home, they said 'It's always hard to win in Vegas'. They weren't wrong; it was a tough game," Walters said. "Our attack just never flowed. We just didn't execute what we came here to do, really. We've got plenty to work on, but it is round one."

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