Queensland debutant Reece Walsh is determined to continue making the state proud every time he pulls on the Maroons jersey after his impressive State of Origin debut in Game One. The young fullback faced off against Newcastle Knights captain Kalyn Ponga in an epic battle over the weekend as the Broncos secured a last-gasp win. Despite being selected over Ponga for the Origin opener, Walsh had nothing but praise for his counterpart and felt proud to share the field with him. Walsh stressed that when you play for Queensland, you want to do the whole state and the past players proud, and that he would do everything to ensure he leaves no stone unturned in doing his job well.
Ponga confirmed that he had no issues with Walsh being selected over him and had every faith in his former teammate doing the job this year. The Newcastle captain also revealed that he had decided not to make himself available for the Origin series to focus on the Knights. Ponga expressed his admiration for Walsh’s quality as a player and the faith that some of the game’s legends, such as Billy Slater and Cameron Smith, have in him.
Walsh, who has taken his game to the next level since returning to the Broncos this year, is grateful for the opportunity to learn from Slater, who he describes as a “freak.” He spoke of how much Slater has to offer as a Queensland coach and how his knowledge and skillset have helped him improve as a fullback.
Playing in front of a sell-out home crowd at Suncorp Stadium in the upcoming matches is extra motivation for Walsh, with his daughter, Leila, set to be amongst his biggest supporters. Walsh spoke of how important Leila is to him and how grateful he is for the role she’s played in his journey to becoming a Queensland player.
Overall, Walsh’s determination to make his state proud and his eagerness to learn from the best in the game will no doubt stand him in good stead as he prepares for the remainder of the State of Origin series.