Reece Walsh at centre of major Las Vegas development amid concerns for NRL opener

The Broncos star is one of 12 NRL players racing the clock to be approved to play in Las Vegas.

Pictured Broncos star Reece Walsh
Broncos star Reece Walsh is one of the ‘Vegas Dozen’ who are struggling to get a visa so they can play in Las Vegas for the 2024 NRL season opener. Image: Getty

Reece Walsh is one of 12 NRL players who has reportedly been summoned to appear at the US Embassy for formal interviews to decide whether or not they are granted visas to enter America. The interviews will take place in Sydney this week, where the players must sit down with an American immigration official and discuss any off-field transgressions that resulted in police arrests or charges.

The Daily Telegraph reports Walsh is one of the 'Vegas Dozen', whose place in NRL's Las Vegas showcase is uncertain. The start of the NRL season will kick off in America on March 3, with the Rabbitohs and Sea Eagles doing battle before the Broncos and Roosters go head-to-head at Allegiant Stadium.

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The NRL is understood to have been assisting the four clubs and the dozen players to secure their visas. The league has also called on the help of immigration experts to help the players who have been flagged.

NRL officials maintain they are confident all 12 players will be given the green light. Walsh is taking no chances though, hiring his own visa expert who will also attend the US Embassy with him.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 01: Reece Walsh of the Broncos reacts during the 2023 NRL Grand Final match between Penrith Panthers and Brisbane Broncos at Accor Stadium on October 01, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
Reece Walsh of the Broncos reacts during the 2023 NRL Grand Final match between Penrith Panthers and Brisbane Broncos. Image: Getty (Bradley Kanaris via Getty Images)

It is unknown whether Rabbitohs duo Jack Wighton and Latrell Mitchell are part of the 12 in question. They were arrested in Canberra and slapped with several charges in 2023, however, the charges were subsequently dropped in November. They may still need to front the US consulate, however, as they were arrested.

Peter V'landys confident all NRL players will be cleared

ARLC chairman Peter V’landys has insisted that he expects the playing group summoned to the US Embassy to obtain their visas. "I don’t think there will be any problems," the ARLC chairman said.

"If you haven’t got any criminal record, it’s a five-minute process, but if you have been charged and been convicted, you have to go through an interview process. Precedents have shown us that (athletes involved in) such incidents are provided with visas, so we have to go through the process."

Peter V'landys questions Wayne Bennett's interest in NZ coaching job

V'landys questioned the decision of Wayne Bennett to put his name forward for the vacant New Zealand coaching job last week. The Dolphins coach is reportedly the frontrunner to succeed Michael Maguire as the head coach of the New Zealand side, publicly putting his hand up to take over the side from December - at the end of his contract with the Dolphins.

It comes months after Maguire accepted the NSW State of Origin job which effectively ended his relationship with the New Zealand side. News of Bennett’s interest in the Kiwis job led to V'landys taking a cheeky swipe at the Dolphins coach's choice. "I don’t know why Wayne wants to get on a loser. He’s normally a winning coach, why would he want to go and coach against Australia," he told Triple M's The Rush Hour.

NZRL chief executive Greg Peters confirmed Bennett will get a formal interview for the role. The governing body is reportedly keen to name Maguire's successor by the end of next month.

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