New South Wales State of Origin coach Brad Fittler has identified Queensland fullback Reece Walsh as a target for his team, indicating that they plan to make the Maroons debutant feel the heat of the furnace. Walsh, who is just 20 years old, has been in formidable form for the Brisbane Broncos, having made 13 try assists, eight linebreaks, and four tries in 11 appearances so far this season.
However, with 19 errors in the NRL, Walsh has recorded the most errors of any Queensland player. Fittler believes that Walsh’s inexperience could be exploited by the NSW team, with instructions given to halfback Nathan Cleary to apply pressure on the young fullback.
Fittler stated that isolating Walsh and forcing him to make errors is a key strategy for NSW, and that they will be watching him closely throughout the game. Despite this, Maroons coach Billy Slater believes that Walsh has what it takes to perform at the Origin level.
NSW captain James Tedesco acknowledged the pressure that Walsh will face, particularly when fielding towering bombs. He noted that the team will need to cut down Walsh’s time and space, as this is where he is most dangerous.
Queensland five-eighth Cameron Munster is confident that Walsh will rise to the occasion, under the guidance of Billy Slater. Munster believes that Slater has the experience and expertise to bring out the young fullback’s X-factor when needed.
Finally, Maroons halfback Daly Cherry-Evans praised Walsh’s development as a player, noting that he is now a more complete player than when he was forced to rule himself out of a debut due to injury in 2021. Cherry-Evans expressed his excitement at the prospect of playing alongside the young fullback, calling him an “exciting” addition to the team.