Queensland fullback Reece Walsh has become the No.1 State of Origin villain for the Blues after his reaction for a brutal headbutt sent the NRL world into meltdown, before he was controversially interviewed after the game. The final moments of the Maroon's 32-6 demolition of the Blues descended into chaos as Josh Addo-Carr was given 10 minutes in the bin for throwing a punch at Walsh.
The Blues were battered and bruised with Brad Fittler looking to have coached his last game for New South Wales when Jarome Luai and Walsh got into a scuffle. Controversy erupted when Addo-Carr leapt over the pack and threw a punch towards Walsh, which missed.
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Maroons legend Cameron Smith labelled Addo-Carr's action as a 'brain snap'. "C'mon boys, 20 seconds to go, bit late for that stuff," he said in Channel Nine commentary.
However the drama had only just started. In the scuffle, it appeared Walsh head-butted Luai as the pair went at it. Walsh was then seen pointing to the scoreboard and waving goodbye to Luai as his teammates held him back.
Addo-Carr was given 10 minutes in the bin having thrown the first punch. And in bizarre scenes, Addo-Carr kissed his badge and taunted the crowd as he went down the tunnel.
But this was to be topped from the 20-year-old Maroons fullback. Walsh was handed a straight send off. And he was clearly still pumping with adrenaline as he stirred up the Queensland faithful on his exit.
Walsh was filmed kissing the badge and gesturing for the crowd to cheer as he was sent off in what will go down as infamous Origin scenes. While Addo-Carr's reaction riled up Queensland, Walsh's behaviour became the talking point. Walsh became one of a select few players ever to be given a straight send-off in State of Origin.
To make matters worse, viewers were left fuming when he was allowed back on the field to conduct interviews and celebrate with his teammates after his marching orders. "I'm a bit disappointed in how the game ended...if I could take my time back I would, and show a bit more class," Walsh told ABC Sport in an on-field interview.
In a Fox Sports interview in the Maroons dressing room, Walsh admitted what was said between him and Luai will stay on the field after the scuffle.
NRL world erupts over Reece Walsh behaviour in Origin
Many felt the youngster should have been waiting for the fans in the dressing room after the brutal headbutt rather than conducting interviews, which was a poor look for the game. The NRL world was left outraged at Walsh's behaviour during the send-off, while many Queenslanders felt New South Wales were just being sore losers considering Addo-Carr reacted in a similar manner.
Reece Walsh should not be allowed back on the field to enjoy it let alone interviewed. Straight send off should be made to stay in the locker room. #StateofOrigin
— EK44YS (@Ek44Y) June 21, 2023
— Hynesight (@Hynesight7) June 21, 2023
Bad form interviewing Walsh as he should of been in dressing room. Sent from field not a hero.
— Who I am (@whoiamismeha) June 21, 2023
Are you condoning this @NRLonNine? Why would you interview a player who has been sent off for this? Not a good example is it? 🤔
— Kate R (@thisgirlkate) June 21, 2023
You would never see Billy Slater carry on like Reece Walsh did. Walsh is an embarrassment to his state, his coach and the game of Rugby League #Origin
— Rugby League is the winner (@RListhewinner) June 21, 2023
Great refereeing to send off Reece Walsh and Jarome Luai for head butting.
But idiot Addo Carr should have been first to go.
— Darren Walton (@DarrenWalton369) June 21, 2023
WILD SCENES: Josh Addo-Carr kissing NSW badge as walks off field and telling crowd to boo louder. Reece Walsh happiest man to be ever sent off …
— christian nicolussi (@mrchrisnico) June 21, 2023
Reece Walsh was absolutely entitled to take the piss at the end
People getting upset about it are really reaching
— AK #15 (@falconpunch89) June 21, 2023
Ok, this isn't cool. Reece Walsh both celebrating after being sent off, and then getting to go back onto the field post game for an interview is really poor form. #Origin
— Shawn Dollin (@Azkatro) June 21, 2023
Reece Walsh was without a doubt one of the Maroons' best in Game II having dealt with every high-ball with aplomb. Walsh was devastating in attack and broke the Blues line in the second-half before helping Valentine Holmes go over for a try. He also put Xavier Coates over for a try to finish with two try assists and 114 running metres.
Unfortunately for Walsh, the drama comes as Maroons legend Smith admitted the 20-year-old was given a talking to after Game I.
Walsh appeared to get ahead of himself after the contest after rubbing the salt into the wounds of the Blues team with some post-match comments in Adelaide. "They were always going to come (for me)," he said after Game I in Adelaide.
"They always think they are better than everyone down there in Blue. They think they own the game." The comments certainly caught the attention of the Blues and the media after the dust settled.
And it also caught the attention of the Maroons coaching staff. Smith said coach Slater and the staff were aware of the comments and spoke to Walsh after the spray from the youngster.
“Yeah we (saw) those comments,” Smith added. “Yeah, I think he got a little bit of feedback from that and he has learnt from that. He won’t make that mistake again.”
Regardless, Queensland have now sealed their third Origins series in the last four years with Brad Fittler's job now hanging by a thread as the Blues return to Sydney for the dead-rubber.
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