NEWS Reece's relief as Uncle Patty's got his back

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Known as 'Uncle Patty' to Reece Walsh's daughter Leila, Maroons enforcer Pat Carrigan says he'll always have his Broncos teammate's back regardless of how heavily targeted the star number one is by the Blues on Wednesday night.

With Walsh lying motionless on the Accor Stadium turf, Carrigan was the first player on scene to check on his Broncos teammate, who missed Brisbane's next two games as a result of the NRL's concussion protocols.

While delighted to see the star number one back available, Carrigan – who has been captaining Brisbane in recent weeks in the absence of Adam Reynolds – said he expected New South Wales and chief aggressor Liam Martin to do all they can to shut down the attacking threat posed by his side's mile-a-minute fullback.

“I think I said on the night that I don't think Joey [Joseph Sua’ali'i] would have meant to do that tackle," Carrigan said. "Accidents happen in footy and that’s an accident that's gone wrong and that's it, and hopefully it doesn't obviously happen to him again for his health and that sort of thing.

"It's not nice to see – especially when I got over there [on the field]. In this arena, there's a little bit of a price that comes with it and we're willing to accept it.

"You've just got to mitigate the risk as best as you can.

"I wouldn't expect Marto to change anything he does, anyway. It's a physical game – that's just Marto and the way he plays. He's a competitor and one of the best back-rowers in the game so it's a privilege to go up against him."

As the only two Brisbane players selected in the Queensland side for Game Two, Walsh and Carrigan have enjoyed a strong bond since Walsh's return to the Broncos in 2023 after moving away to the Warriors in 2021.

"It's not just what he does for me on the field, he does a lot for me off the field too with my little one," Walsh told reporters earlier about Carrigan's friendship.

"Every time my little one sees him, she lights up and calls him 'Uncle Patty' so our friendship is probably more than just a rugby league one.

“You always expect a quality and big series from big players and that’s what Patty is. Even if there were some bigger names here, I still think he'll want to grow and get better... that's just a part of Patty's nature.

“I know he’s going to work hard and I know he’s got some awesome boys in the team who are going to look after him and I’m sure he’s going to look after us too.”

On his own game, Carrigan – who will play in his eighth Origin game when the sides run out in Melbourne – said he relished being in the Maroons camp environment and was being pushed by coach Billy Slater to be better.

“I really enjoy coming into this environment and learning from guys like Billy. He is always pushing me to be better and if you do play well in this environment, it can set you up outside of that back in clubland,” Carrigan said.

“I have some more gears yet and hopefully I can keep slowly chipping away and get better [with] the quality around what I do. Whether it be my running game or bringing out some of my skill attributes in this arena.

“You naturally get through a lot of work in these sort of areas, but just improving the quality around what I'm doing and little things.

“It's really refreshing – when I come in here with Bill, he keeps me accountable of those little things and I take it back to clubland.”

NRL.com
 

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