NRL 2022: Reece Walsh’s Broncos signing reveals truth behind ‘heated clash’ with Kevin Walters

In an exclusive interview, new Broncos signing Reece Walsh sets the record straight about his infamous encounter with Broncos coach Kevin Walters.

Reece Walsh comes home. Back to Brisbane to fulfill a childhood dream of playing for the Broncos in the NRL.

His decision sent shockwaves through the NRL last week, leaving Brisbane fans in ecstasy and frustrated Dolphins supporters who had openly sought his signature.

In an exclusive interview with News Corp, Walsh opened up about his decision to seek a release from the Warriors, his desire to be closer to his baby daughter, his relationship with Brisbane coach Kevin Walters and his love for the Broncos.

“I’m very happy with the decision I made and I’m coming home,” Walsh said. “My childhood dream has come true.”

THE REQUEST

A few weeks ago, Walsh sat down with his agent Nash Dawson, Warriors boss Cameron George and Craig Hodges, the club’s head of football, to raise the idea of ​​a release.

The subject had bothered him ever since he and his partner went their separate ways. Walsh couldn’t face the thought of being separated from his daughter, Leila.

Even then, it took him some time to work up the courage to raise the matter with Warriors officials. Walsh owes a huge debt of gratitude to the Warriors for giving him a chance and supporting him through some challenging times.

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But his loyalty to the warriors would never usurp his devotion to his daughter.

“The Warriors have been so good to me and that’s why it was difficult,” Walsh said.

“I wanted to repay them and give them back for helping me through a difficult time. It was hard to sit down and talk to Cam and have a conversation about my family situation and what was going on behind the scenes.

“It was a difficult conversation but to say the club is run by great people and they totally got it.

“I was really grateful and very happy with how they took it and the amount of support they gave me. I felt like I couldn’t [go to New Zealand] and miss crucial parts of my daughter’s growing up.

“I don’t think I was ready to put it all behind me and go to New Zealand on my own. For her to be here and grow up and me to miss her when I first ride a bike and go to school for the first time, it would be too hard.”

Walsh knows what it’s like to come out of a broken home. His mother and father separated when he was three years old. He wanted to make sure he was there for Leila whenever she needed him.

“When I make these decisions, I don’t just think about myself anymore,” he said.

“My daughter is the main reason I go out and do what I do. It’s for her. I want her to grow up and know that I love her and that I am there for her.

“I want her to look at me and be proud of me. I want to give her the life I never got. I grew up with mom and dad separating – it was really tough.

“I didn’t want my daughter to grow up thinking that I’m not there and that I don’t love her and don’t want to be with her because I love her with all my heart and I will do anything for that little girl.

“I couldn’t give that up so I could stay in Queensland. She means the world to me, mate.”

THE BRONCOS

After Walsh made the decision to seek a release from the Warriors, there was only one place he would go.

Walsh joined the Broncos when he was 13, and in his heart he never left. He carefully watches their games and keeps in touch with many of his former teammates.

“She [The Warriors] asked where I’d rather go,” Walsh said.

“I said I have a great relationship with everyone in Brisbane and I have a lot of really good friends in Brisbane.

“I felt that going back to Brissie would be a pretty easy transition for me. I’ve been there since I was 13 years old. It’s a club I’ve always wanted to play for.

“I grew up with the Broncos. I’ve always wanted to wear a Broncos jersey. When I left it was tough. I had a lot of really good buddies there.

“I always watched their games. I don’t think I’ve ever missed a game. I would always smile as I sat and watched the boys play.

“I would always think maybe one day. When I got the opportunity to return to the Broncos, I didn’t want to give it up.”

He could have made more money elsewhere, particularly with the Dolphins, but he insists the call wasn’t about lining his pocket. He says it also shouldn’t be taken as a reflection on the dolphins or Wayne Bennett.

“I never sat down and had a conversation with Wayne,” Walsh said.

“Wayne had nothing to do with it and it was never his fault. I don’t think anyone should give Wayne flak.

“When I sat down and spoke to Nash and his family, the decision was never about money. It would always be closer to my daughter.

“I can live on the Gold Coast and travel to Red Hill any day. i am young I know if I lay down a little I can have a long career in football.

“I want to do that. I know money will come. It was never about the money buddy.”

WALSH AND WALTERS

Much has been said about the relationship between Walsh and Brisbane manager Kevin Walters. There were recent reports that prior to Walsh’s departure from the Broncos, he and Walters had a heated argument at the team hotel over his willingness to play in the NRL.

Walsh insists the couple have a good relationship. If there was a problem, time seems to have healed the wounds. Walsh says he now understands why Walters was reluctant to play him at a time when the Broncos were struggling.

“I’ve talked a lot about me and Kevin’s relationship being bad, that’s not the truth,” Walsh said.

“What happened with the Broncos was I was a young kid coming through and I wanted to play NRL. At the time Kevin had just taken the job and he had seen a lot of young kids who were probably a little premature and not having the best of times.

“Kevin tried to protect me a bit. He was always honest with me and wanted to protect me and make sure I got into first grade at the right time.

“I respected his decision and what he wanted to do. Obviously I had a really good opportunity to come to the Warriors and learn from an elite full-back (Roger Tuivasa-Sheck) and probably one of the best full-backs we’ve seen and play in the first grade.

“I took that opportunity and Kevvie respected that. There was never any bad blood or anything like that.”

THE FUTURE

Walsh is devastated that he was not available for the final State of Origin game on Wednesday night. Maroons coach Billy Slater called him to check on his fitness but Covid-19 meant he was ruled out of play for the decider.

However, he will be at the game cheering on his good pal Tom Dearden as he makes his Origin debut. With his future settled, his priority now is to end the season well for the Warriors.

“I know how it looks and I know people will be a little bit disappointed that I’m leaving, but every time I put on the Warriors jersey I’m not going to take it for granted,” he said.

“I don’t think just because I’m going next year I can slack off. The mentality I have at the moment is that right when I put that jersey on I want to go out and do 100 perfect efforts and show the club and the lads that I’m going to stay solid this year and pay them back.

Originally posted as NRL 2022: Broncos signing with Reece Walsh reveals truth behind ‘heated clash’ with Kevin Walters

https://www.codesports.com.au/nrl/nrl-2022-broncos-signing-reece-walsh-reveals-truth-behind-heated-clash-with-kevin-walters/news-story/0be9df626f949cb76034e3c4123d9f27?nk=84c1dfe708325432a4365d02551d2c37-1657529766 NRL 2022: Reece Walsh’s Broncos signing reveals truth behind ‘heated clash’ with Kevin Walters

Nate Jones

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