Slater wisdom lights fire in Walsh at No.1 for Broncos
Reece Walsh will play fullback for Brisbane for the first time in an NRL match with his confidence sky high after taking to heart wisdom from modern great Billy Slater.
Walsh has been named at No.1 in the Broncos side to play North Queensland at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night after missing the opening round 13-12 win over Penrith with a fractured eye socket.
The 20-year-old former New Zealand Warrior has been in touch with Queensland coach Slater, who put an indelible stamp on the way fullback is played in the modern game.
"I sent Bill a message just when pre-season started about the few things that I need to work on to get better," Walsh told AAP
"He spoke about being a reliable and safe fullback and focusing on the basics of the position.
"I want to defend well, communicate and keep my errors low but not go away from the creative things in attack that I know I can do.
"I still want to play my game. I have enough good players around me to just focus on doing my job and the rest will look after itself."
Slater told AAP at Channel Nine's Wide World of Sports NRL launch he had been in touch with Walsh about the keys to successful fullback play.
"I am looking forward to watching Reece as much as the next person. He is a great young kid who works really hard and he has a huge amount of talent," Slater said.
"I would love to see him focus on the fundamentals of the position which is the stuff we probably don't see a lot on the television.
"The positional play, the communication, the support ... all the stuff your teammates recognise.
"He already has a lot of the brilliant stuff but if he focuses on the foundation of the position, which I know he is, and nails the simple things then he will lay the base to play consistent footy."
Slater said Walsh was still young and finding his way in the hurly burly of the NRL.
"Sometimes we see young guys come in and they show so much brilliance that we all of a sudden think they should be at the level of Darren Lockyer, Andrew Johns or Johnathan Thurston straight away," Slater said.
"We have to remember there is a development period, as there was for those players."
Newcastle's Kalyn Ponga is the incumbent Maroons fullback but Slater said he was not looking at Walsh to put the pressure on to create a contest for the spot for this year's State of Origin series.
"I don't look at it like I want competition for this position or that position. It is not about me," he said.
"The players will determine where they are at in their careers. Their performances and actions on the field tell the selectors and myself whether they are ready to play Origin or not."