Reece Walsh has revealed constant rumours surrounding his future with the Warriors were starting to put up “red flags” with the club, prompting his decision to stamp the chat out.
For much of the NRL season, there have been reports regarding Walsh’s future with the New Zealand club, despite having another year – as well as a player option for 2024 – on his contract.
Earlier this week, Walsh moved to lay the rumours to rest, confirming his plans to honour his contract with the Warriors and be a part of the club when they move back to Auckland full-time for 2023.
Today, Walsh explained that he got to a point where it was necessary to comment on his future.
“That’s why I did go out and talked to a journo, just to get that off my back and just get it off the boys’ minds here at training and the coaching staff too,” Walsh said.
“Heaps of people are talking and I feel like it was starting to, not so much stress them out, but a bit of a red flag was getting put up there.
“If it’s not coming from my mouth, don’t believe it.”
Walsh’s future in the competition has been a hot topic since he broke into the Warriors’ first-grade side in 2021. Joining the club from the Brisbane Broncos, he quickly caught attention with his impressive skills and impact at the top level.
But with his thoughts on where he will play his football off his chest – until at least the new season – Walsh will look to recapture the form that saw his thrust into the spotlight.
By his own admission, Walsh hasn’t been able to produce at the same level as he did in 2021, and suggests he’s not so much of a secret weapon anymore.
“I feel like my game is slowly going in the right direction,” he said. “I don’t feel like I’ve had the biggest impact on footy games as I did last year, but that’s all about opposition studying a bit more and putting a bit more light on myself.
“I’m not too worried. If I can keep going in that good direction where I can keep getting better each week, I’ll be pretty pleased with that.”
Walsh and the Warriors will need to be firing across the park on Sunday when they meet the Cronulla Sharks in Sydney, with the Sharks having established themselves as title contenders.
With attacking weapons across the park – halfback Nicho Hynes and centres Siosifa Talakai and Jesse Ramien having a particularly strong impact this season – the Sharks are among the highest-scoring teams in the competition.
While the Warriors are coming into the game on the back of a golden-point win over the Canberra Raiders, Walsh said they will need to be better to trump the Sharks.
“It wasn’t our strongest performance but we got the job done in the end,” Walsh said.
“If you cut back the errors and all those sorts of things, the game flows a lot more. The pleasing thing is we didn’t have the strongest performance but we got the job done. That’s always a positive.
“It’s all about playing our footy and putting that in for an 80-minute performance. I still don’t think we’ve put a solid 80-minute performance in this year, so if we can keep working towards that goal, I feel like we’ll just keep getting better as a club.”
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