Reece Walsh produced an absolute masterclass on Friday night as he continues to make an irresistible case to replace James Tedesco as Kangaroos fullback. The Broncos young gun had a try, try assist, two line breaks, four line break assists, four tackle breaks and a 40/20, running for 159 metres as Brisbane thrashed Parramatta 54-10.
It was Walsh's latest emphatic statement that he's ready to take over from Tedesco as the Australian fullback, with the Sydney Roosters fullback somewhat down on form this year. Walsh outpointed Tedesco as Queensland won the State of Origin series, before Tedesco played a blinder while Walsh was suspended in Game III.
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Walsh's form has been simply scintillating since his return from the three-game ban, leading many to call for him to be crowned the new Kangaroos fullback. The 21-year-old showcased his speed, passing game, step and vision as the Broncos ran out to a 24-0 lead at half-time.
He set up the Broncos' first try of the night when he spied a chance on the short side. He accelerated, found second-rower Kurt Capewell, who kicked off the outside of his right foot for Adam Reynolds to collect, step and score. Walsh then threw a sublime cut-out pass for winger Deine Mariner to score the first of his three tries, before he grabbed a late try of his own after finishing off another brilliant attacking raid.
"I don't know where the cap for our side is," coach Kevin Walters said. "To be fair, Parramatta had their injury problems. They had to reshape their defensive line which is always difficult when you have got guys like Reyno and Walshy pulling the strings."
In commentary for Fox League, Greg Alexander said Walsh was “outstanding again” and that he’s “always involved in everything,” while Cooper Cronk said: "Every time Reece Walsh touches the ball, his footwork, his speed and his footy IQ for a young man…
“I would love to play halfback with a threat of this guy out the back of shape. He is electric. How many times does he beat the front defenders through footwork, speed and acceleration? On top of that he goes looking for work.
“His ability to be a gambler and throw risk and not worry about the situation, just go all-in on a play. It’s beautiful to watch. The Broncos are humming and that combination of Adam Reynolds and Reece Walsh is just really good to watch. To the Broncos fans, if you’re going to do something special this year, you have the ingredients in Pat Carrigan and Payne Haas, Adam Reynolds and Reece Walsh to do it all.”
Calls for Reece Walsh to replace James Tedesco for Australia
Speaking earlier this week, Phil Gould said he believes it's time for Mal Meninga and the Kangaroos to move on from Tedesco, opening the door for Walsh. "I think the Test side will probably be made up of those who last longest, getting into the finals and grand finals," Gould said. "I think fellas like Dylan Edwards and Reece Walsh will come into play there. Maybe Kalyn Ponga if Newcastle go deep into the finals series.
"Probably the premiership-winners and grand final-winners will make up the bulk of the side. I think that brings the new blood, your Dylan Edwards and your Reece Walsh, into play. There might be a changing of the guard there, I think."
But Roosters coach Trent Robinson said he believes there is still time for Tedesco to reassert his international credentials this season. "He had the same thing with NSW. People are going to have their opinions and that's fine," Robinson said.
"Selections will come up at some point but the race isn't over. He's still our Australian captain. He lifted the trophy (at last year's World Cup). There's some games to be played to still fight for that jersey. Let's give him that opportunity."
Reece Walsh best full back in the comp, give him the Kangaroos jumper
— Jon-Bernard Kairouz (@jonbernardk) August 11, 2023
Reece Walsh … Superstar
— Phil Gould (@PhilGould15) August 11, 2023
Reece Walsh is the best fullback in the game, daylight second 🐴 pic.twitter.com/cJUeNjeIDi
— Sunset 50 (@ImagineSunset) August 11, 2023
Reece Walsh is one of the best players I’ve ever seen. If he keeps progressing the way he is, he’ll be the greatest full back in history (imo) He’s 21. He’s got absolutely everything. Crazy good. 🔥🔥🔥🔥
— Leon Pryce (@leonpryce6) August 11, 2023
Reece Walsh is very firmly cementing himself as the buy of the year and someone I owe an apology to.
Absolutely unreal form and he's taken the already good Broncos side to the next level.
— Braden (@bradenstwit) August 11, 2023
Reece Walsh.. i have no words to say. Just special
— 🌟 (@JBroncosEra) August 11, 2023
I was wrong about Reece
I love TMM https://t.co/SFTlZITfqq
— Darren (@7Durantula7) August 11, 2023
Does anyone think Tedesco should be Australia’s fullback after watching 40 minutes of Reece Walsh?
— MSL2035 (@MSL2035) August 11, 2023
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