Reece Walsh's 'never-before-seen' act as Broncos inflict huge blow on Panthers

The Brisbane Broncos fullback is the talk of the NRL world once again.

Reece Walsh.
Reece Walsh scored a brilliant solo try as the Broncos beat the Raiders. Image: Channel 9/Getty

Greg Alexander has declared he's never seen a player accelerate through the defensive line like Reece Walsh, after the Brisbane Broncos fullback produced another masterclass on Saturday night. Walsh had a try, two assists, two line breaks, two line break assists, eight tackle breaks and a field goal as the Broncos overcame the Raiders for a 29-18 win.

With the game still in the balance at 24-18, Walsh showed his all-round abilities as he nailed a field goal to put the margin beyond a converted try. He then put the final nail in the Raiders' coffin when he sliced through the defensive line with some blinding speed to score in the corner for a brilliant try.

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The wonderful solo effort came after he provided the final pass for tries to Selwyn Cobbo and Kotoni Staggs in the first half. But it was his late try that had NRL fans and commentators searching for superlatives.

“The acceleration, I don’t think we’ve seen anyone like Reece Walsh accelerate through defensive lines,” Alexander said on Fox League. “I can’t remember anyone else doing it like Reece Walsh does it.

"He just sees open space and Matt Frawley has had a nightmare trying to defend the speed of Walsh tonight. That’s no knock on Frawley, most would.”

Walsh has been in sublime form since returning from a three-game suspension for swearing at a referee. The 20-year-old continues to make a case to replace James Tedesco as the Kangaroos fullback, although Mal Meninga has continually stated that Tedesco will be his man.

Brisbane Broncos one win away from minor premiership

The Broncos' win means Kevin Walters' side now have one hand on the minor premiership following Penrith's shock loss to Parramatta on Thursday night. The Panthers and Broncos were both on 40 points coming into the penultimate round, with the Panthers ahead on for-and-against.

But the Broncos will enter the final round two points ahead of their rivals, and a win over the Melbourne Storm next Thursday night will see them secure the minor premiership. However the Storm have beaten the Broncos in their last 13 encounters, with the last Brisbane victory Melbourne coming back in 2016.

The last time the Broncos prevailed over the Storm at Suncorp Stadium was a 16-14 victory way back in 2009. However the 2023 Broncos are seemingly a different team as they prepare to host their bogey side in Round 27.

Reece Walsh in action for the Broncos against Canberra.
Reece Walsh produced another masterclass in the Broncos' win over Canberra. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

Walters is even enthused about playing the fourth-placed Storm again at some stage in the finals. "I think that would be fantastic," he said. "Two games against the Storm in a couple of weeks, how exciting is that? I'm serious. They have been the benchmark for a long time and you want to play against the best teams."

Last year the Storm came to Suncorp and put the cleaners through the Broncos in a 60-12 demolition. "It was a good lesson on how to play rugby league for our boys," Walters said after that loss.

Unfortunately for the Broncos they are likely to be without injured captain Adam Reynolds (calf) and forward leader Patrick Carrigan (foot) once again. Reynolds and Carrigan both missed the win over Canberra.

"I don't think Reynolds or Carrigan will be available (against Melbourne). So we've got to have full confidence in the group that they will go out next week and get a similar result," Walters said.

with AAP

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