Joel Gould |
Reece Walsh had a dream club debut for the Brisbane Broncos but behind his brilliance is a keen mind and a work ethic rare in a 20-year-old.
Walsh had a hand in three tries, scored one, saved a couple and generally dazzled in Friday’s 28-16 win over North Queensland at Suncorp Stadium.
Behind the scenes, Walsh has left no stone unturned in his quest to be the best as he targets a premiership with the Broncos.
During pre-season he worked with Gold Coast-based high-performance coach Brett Mallett on breathing techniques and underwent targeted sprint training at Viking Athletics, also on the Gold Coast.
Walsh said he was not as fast as NRL speed demons such as Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, Jason Saab or Josh Addo-Carr, so he did something about it.
“I tried to take in some sprint training in the off-season, just to try something new on the track with spikes on,” Walsh said after his club debut.
“It was awesome to see from a different point of view how the mechanics work in your body. I enjoyed getting out of my comfort zone and trying new things.”
Walsh has scrutinised highlights of former outstanding Broncos fullbacks such as Karmichael Hunt, Darren Lockyer and, more recently, Darius Boyd.
Boyd is now assisting him as a member of the Broncos coaching staff.
“What Darbs (Boyd) says to me when he gives me tips means a lot,” Walsh said.
“I hold that close to my heart because he was such an awesome fullback and such a great at this club.
“I want to be the best fullback for this team. What Darbs says to me … I take on board and implement.”
Broncos captain Adam Reynolds noted how Walsh is a student of the game.
“He studies the game. He loves the game. He watches almost every game on the weekend,” Reynolds said.
“He is always asking questions and coming to me with new plays and asking how we can break down defences. It is not a fluke what you see on the field.
“I just have to work out ways to get him into space. He is excellent at executing plays.
“His speed is his best attribute, and his toughness going deep into the line.”
Walsh said he has one ultimate goal in 2023.
“A premiership,” he said. “This group of boys are hungry. We want to work hard, win footy games and be playing in September.
Walsh was granted a release last year from his Warriors contract and knew he wanted to be back at the Broncos where he came through the club’s academy.
He is relishing life under coach Kevin Walters.
“I knew where I could get the best out of myself. I am happy being back here,” he said.
“It was awesome to finally put on the jersey and experience Suncorp Stadium with a packed crowd.
“I went out there and did my job. Kevvie made it simple for me. The boys made it easy for me.”