He’s the man tasked with replacing Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, and the early signs suggest Reece Walsh could be one of the best to ever pull on a Warriors jersey.
In just his second game, Walsh and halves partner Kodi Nikorima tormented the Cowboys who looked out of sorts before they mounted a huge second-half fightback that fell agonisingly short in front of a paltry crowd of 3,692.
Walsh is only 18, but like Roosters halfback Sam Walker, plays with the maturity, class and confidence of a man who has been in the game for close to a decade.
He showed moments of magic when he ran the ball on the last to set up a try and could have had another assist had The Bunker not intervened to rule out a Ken Maumalo four-pointer.
But Reece’s pieces of perfection were undone by some passages of play he’d like to have again. In the second half alone, he kicked a ball dead, came up with a cold drop and lost another one after he made a blistering break through the middle.
Despite those errors, he put his hand up to do most of the kicking and was happy to put himself under pressure with the game on the line.
He’s the kid Brisbane could have built their future around. Instead, he is the new face of the Warriors.
Reece Walsh recorded one try assist and one line break in his second NRL game. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
LOW, LOW OUTPUT
Jason Taumalolo’s long-awaited return from back-to-back broken hands failed to live up to the hype after he once again spent a large chunk of the match on the bench.
Eyebrows were raised when new coach Todd Payten used his workhorse for just 51 minutes in Round 1, and Taumalolo’s numbers were even worse on Sunday.
The hulking lock had three runs for 29 metres before he was taken off after 22 minutes, and didn’t return until the 58-minute mark.
His second stint was slightly better, but was overshadowed by a head clash with Ben Murdoch-Masila that forced the Warrior off for an HIA and had fans blowing up about an accidental elbow to the head on his way to the ground.
He then came up with a costly error with five minutes remaining as the Cowboys pressed for the lead.
The rest of the competition should be keeping an eye on Scott Drinkwater, with the off-contract utility at risk of being squeezed out of Townsville after the club recently signed halves Chad Townsend and Tom Dearden.
The silky mover has his defensive deficiencies but there is no denying his attacking nous, especially his left boot which has set up six tries so far this season.
Drinkwater grubbered for Murray Taulagi to score the first try of the second half and then backed up his winger a minute later to score a long-range four-pointer to spark his side after an insipid first 40 minutes.
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