Brisbane Broncos Training Session
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 09: Coach Kevin Walters directs his players during a Brisbane Broncos NRL training session at Clive Berghofer Field on March 09, 2021 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Brisbane Broncos head coach Kevin Walters has revealed that Reece Walsh doesn't hold a mortgage on the club's fullback jersey heading into the 2023 season.

It was widely believed that when Walsh signed with the Broncos for 2023 after being granted a release from the final year of his deal with the New Zealand Warriors due to personal circumstances that the young star would play fullback.

However, with Tesi Niu, Te Maire Martin, Herbie Farnworth and Selwyn Cobbo all at the club - Martin has now gone in the opposite direction to join the Warriors - there were no guarantees.

Martin was the first choice of fullback outside of injury during 2022, while Farnworth were regular selections at centre and wing for Walters, however, both have reported aspirations of playing at fullback.

Walters appeared to hint Walsh would have first shot at fullback shortly after his signing, however, became the second club figure this week to throw cold water on the idea of a guarantee.

“We've got a lot of faith and belief in Tesi," Walters told News Corp.

“He had a good season under some trying circumstances with his personal life. I thought he played some really good football at different stages.

“Tesi is finished with the World Cup now and will get back to Australia and in here. We will start putting the work into him to be a fullback for us.

“It's good to have good options and Reece certainly hasn't got a mortgage on the number one jersey. It'll be a dogfight through the pre-season and into the season as to who gets the jersey.”

Walters' comments followed that of Brisbane academy chief Simon Scanlan this week.

“The thing we've made clear is Reece isn't guaranteed anything,” Scanlan said.

“We have Tesi Niu and Herbie Farnworth wanting to play fullback as well so it will be a shootout for that No.1 jumper in the pre-season.

“Reece has to come in and fight for the jumper.

“No-one at the club has been told they are locked in as the No.1 fullback. Reece is one of the guys in the mix."

The reports come as the Broncos aim to keep Niu at the club.

He is off-contract at the end of 2023, with the Dolphins and Newcastle Knights reportedly circling for his services should he ask for a release.

Walters said there was no indication the young gun - who played for Tonga at the World Cup - was angling for a departure from Red Hill however.

“We haven't heard anything from Tesi at this stage,” Walters said.

“We expect there to be a lot of competition for spots next year. That's what strong clubs provide, good competition among the players.