NEWS NRL must do more to protect Reece Walsh: Walters

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Kevin Walters says the NRL must do more to protect Reece Walsh and is furious Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii received only a four-match ban for knocking the fullback unconscious during State of Origin I.

The coach confirmed Brisbane's other Origin representatives Payne Haas, Patrick Carrigan and Selwyn Cobbo will all back up from Wednesday's match to face Cronulla on Saturday, with Tristan Sailor coming in to replace Walsh.

NSW centre Suaalii accepted a four-game suspension for the late, high shot on Walsh that forced the Maroon off the field and saw him banished before Queensland stormed to a 38-10 win in Sydney.

Walsh displayed category-one head injury symptoms and despite later passing a head injury assessment, he will miss the clash against the Sharks and also next week's match against South Sydney.

The Broncos have the bye in round 16 and then travel to Auckland to face the Warriors on June 29, only three days after Origin II in Melbourne.

Walters is confident Walsh will be fit for game two but if he is rested from the New Zealand road trip given the short turnaround, he will not play for Brisbane again until July 5 - a month on from Origin I and only a week before Suaalii finishes serving his ban.

The situation has frustrated Walters, who feels the NRL must do more to discourage players from putting illegal shots on the diminutive Broncos superstar.

"The NRL have got to protect him, that's who's got to protect him, and be harder on the suspensions," he said.

"Four weeks for what he actually did, Reece will be missing for us for four weeks.

"(A four-week ban) is not going to deter another player from coming out next time Reece plays and trying to take his head out again."

Walters noted the Origin incident marked the second time this year the Broncos would lose Walsh after an opponent flew out of the defensive line to put a hit on him.

Penrith centre Taylan May was permitted to remain afield and received no suspension over the head clash that left the 21-year-old with a facial fracture in round three.

"That's twice now and the first time he didn't even get sin-binned or not even suspended, nothing," Walters said.

Walter was tight-lipped on speculation the Blues came into Wednesday night's game with a plan to target Walsh, who was floored by NSW second-rower Liam Martin as he made the first kick of the night.

"It's not right for me to try and feel what their plan was, but I saw what their actions were and that was the first block play of the game. You make your own mind up," he said.

Walters was at least pleased to see Suaalii sent from the field for his hit.

"It was policed well on Wednesday night but I just thought they could have gone a bit harder with the suspension," he said.

"We want our great players to play and it's not about toughness because Reece is as tough as any player in the game. But four weeks for ironing a bloke out the way he did, that's not enough."

Replacement fullback Sailor is set to come into the Broncos' side after making a timely recovery from a high ankle sprain that required surgery last month.

Sailor had been expected to need between four and six weeks on the sidelines but has returned to the first-grade set-up less than a month after suffering the injury playing Queensland Cup.

"He's been in here seven days a week for the last three weeks getting it right," Walters said.

Canberra Times
 
ell.d33

ell.d33

BRL Player
Jul 17, 2016
60
103
Can someone explain to me what it means to be ruled category one HIA on field but later pass a HIA assessment? Not that I’d want to risk him, but didn’t something similar happen to the roosters and they fought it?
 
Manofoneway

Manofoneway

NRL Player
May 22, 2022
1,479
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Great from Kevy. Billy slater could learn a thing or two from this. Needed to absolutely trash the action when he had the opportunity in the presser. Second time this year Walsh has been sidelined from foul play. Missed 8 weeks total and guilty players only to miss 4 in total. Weak
 
Super Freak

Super Freak

International Captain
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Jan 25, 2014
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Can someone explain to me what it means to be ruled category one HIA on field but later pass a HIA assessment? Not that I’d want to risk him, but didn’t something similar happen to the roosters and they fought it?



I'm assuming you're referring to Walker, in his case the independent doctor ruled that he should have been deemed a Cat 2 and not a Cat 1 so it got changed. Walsh was knocked out before he even hit the ground so there's absolutely no chance he will get it changed to Cat 2.
 
ell.d33

ell.d33

BRL Player
Jul 17, 2016
60
103


I'm assuming you're referring to Walker, in his case the independent doctor ruled that he should have been deemed a Cat 2 and not a Cat 1 so it got changed. Walsh was knocked out before he even hit the ground so there's absolutely no chance he will get it changed to Cat 2.

Thank you ☺️ that’s very helpful
 
Jedhead

Jedhead

State of Origin Rep
Contributor
Jan 8, 2018
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Great from Kevy. Billy slater could learn a thing or two from this. Needed to absolutely trash the action when he had the opportunity in the presser. Second time this year Walsh has been sidelined from foul play. Missed 8 weeks total and guilty players only to miss 4 in total. Weak
Yeh I also thought Slater saying nothing was a weak act. He was obviously caught in a conflict of interests being a Ch 9 employee. You’ll notice all the employees of nine said nothing damning with the exception of JT. How slater could let this go through to the keeper is beyond me.
 
Manofoneway

Manofoneway

NRL Player
May 22, 2022
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I guess can't be too hard on Bill, he's a rookie coach and isn't navigating these things week to week. He's done an outstanding job with QLD but Walsh needs his coaches to use their platform to make things easier for him. His career will be over quickly if he keeps getting bashed like this. Love seeing Kev feed it to them and I guarantee they will be listening
 
1

1910

International Rep
Apr 14, 2013
15,036
18,438
Can someone explain to me what it means to be ruled category one HIA on field but later pass a HIA assessment? Not that I’d want to risk him, but didn’t something similar happen to the roosters and they fought it?

SCAT 6 test (sports concussion assessment tool) is not the same as HIA. Players do it in the pre-season and they have to achieve their baseline again when they're concussed- it's what day is it? What time? and 10 random things you need to name back in order.

Walsh passed his SCAT 6, not his HIA.
 
Emanon

Emanon

QCup Player
Apr 26, 2021
261
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Honestly, I think Slater handled it well. It was opening exchanges of game 1, and Ch 9 were looking for an outburst live and they didn't get one. But Kevie and JT are right. The NRL will need to step in and protect the players at some point.

I remember reading somewhere one of the ex AFL bosses used to host a BBQ for the coaches in the offseason or something. Maybe something like that is needed in NRL if they don't do it already? Lay it out to them all at the exact same time.
 
T

The Boss

NYC Player
Feb 15, 2016
120
83
Doubt this will change much, you still have to jam Walsh in hard and fast and people defenders will get it wrong time to time.
 
LittleDavey

LittleDavey

NRL Captain
Mar 25, 2013
3,759
7,295
For me it's like the contact on kickers - it's basically been outlawed now and everyone knows it (except the contact on Walsh with his first touch on Wednesday..)

We can't allow the small, fast players to be taken out of the game. The NRL has changed the rules to essentially protect multiple players in the past, it's gotten to the point where it needs to happen again. Although in this case it's not a changing of the rules, but a sticking to them which is required.

Should have been 6 weeks for me, not 4. And May should have been multiple weeks early in the season as well. If guys are getting sent and then rubbed out for weeks for hits gone wrong, it will stop almost overnight. Like the shoulder charge. Just police the existing fucking rules properly.
 
KateBroncos1812

KateBroncos1812

NRL Player
Jul 28, 2023
1,232
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Unfortunately We can't wrap walshy in bubble wrap. As I said to my tiger loving mum he was targeted ever since he has come back to the broncos
 
Harry Sack

Harry Sack

International Rep
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Jun 12, 2013
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Yeh I also thought Slater saying nothing was a weak act. He was obviously caught in a conflict of interests being a Ch 9 employee. You’ll notice all the employees of nine said nothing damning with the exception of JT. How slater could let this go through to the keeper is beyond me.

Feels like opposites day tbh. I'd expect Kevie, the full time coach to be far more even about it than Slater tbh. When addressing the media that is. That said I thought Slater said a lot with less. Was clearly angry about it.
 

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