Payten unveils Cowboys plot to thwart 'Reece lightning'
North Queensland coach Todd Payten has outlined his "physical" plan to nullify electric Brisbane fullback Reece Walsh in Friday night's clash at Suncorp Stadium.
Walsh will make his NRL debut for the Broncos. The 20-year-old former New Zealand Warrior showed in the trial game against the Gold Coast, before fracturing an eye socket, how he likes to sweep to the left and take on a playmaking role as a third half to put away his outside supports.
He can go to the right as well, but that is his go-to play. As a left-foot kicking option his presence on that side of the field will always be a threat.
The Cowboys right-side defensive line-up of Jeremiah Nanai, Chad Townsend, Peta Hiku and Kyle Feldt will have to be on their toes.
"He's electric with his speed across the line and we are going to have to hold our edge together and defend in one line," Payten said of Walsh, affectionately known as 'Reece lightning'.
"When we've got the opportunity we are going to have to be physical with him and limit his opportunities down our end of the park."
The Broncos beat the Cowboys 20-18 in a trial on the Sunshine Coast, a result that is irrelevant to Friday night's outcome, but Payten got a sense of where his opponent's strengths rest.
He also took note of comments this week by Brisbane prop Payne Haas who said the Cowboys "pulled our pants down" last year at Suncorp Stadium in a 38-12 loss, and the Broncos would not let it happen again.
"They out-muscled us (in the trial) absolutely. They are a highly motivated team," Payten said.
"I read some comments about us embarrassing them last year so we expect them to start fast and start physical.
"We played pretty good footy on the weekend for 55 minutes. We are going to have to play for much longer to get the result we want."
The Cowboys beat Canberra 19-18 in hot and humid conditions in round one in Townsville and Payten said his players had a lighter load at training this week to taper into Friday night's showdown.
Brisbane's defence on their tryline is far better this year than in the past and will be a challenge to break down.
Payten said he'd been working on "a few shapes" he thought could be effective.
"I would like to spend some time down there and tire them out in some way," he said.
"Against good defensive teams you need multiple plays at the right end of the field."