GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 22: Reece Walsh during a Queensland Maroons State of Origin training session at the Cbus Super Stadium on June 22, 2021 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

The New Zealand Warriors have revealed the reasons behind dropping Reece Walsh to the bench, with interim coach Stacey Jones stating that the Brisbane-bound fullback 'still has a lot to learn'.

It's easy to forget that Reece Walsh has played under 35 NRL games, and debuted just 15 months ago. Since his maiden NRL match on ANZAC Day last year, the kid has set the competition alight, a minor calf injury the only reason the 20 year-old didn't make his Origin debut last year.

However, the youngster has been hit with a small dose of second-year syndrome and has only shown glimpses of his capabilities so far in 2022. Following on from his recent release to join the Broncos in 2023, you can see why Walsh has fallen down the pecking order so quickly.

A tornado of rumours linking Walsh to a ten-week cameo with Melbourne have been swatted down by the Kiwi club, instead Tohu Harris took the time to praise the fullback in his response to the benching.

“He came out and trained really well, so I am hoping it’s having the intended effect I think Stace was aiming for, to give him a bit of a kick, to I guess tell him that he’s still not quite there yet as the first-grader he can be,” Harris told

“I think he has responded to what has happened really, really well and he had a great training session out on the field, so that seems to be a good sign.

“The consistent grind of the NRL is something he will learn with time and age.”

NRL Rd 15 - Knights v Warriors
NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 19: Reece Walsh of the Warriors warms up during the round 15 NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and the New Zealand Warriors at McDonald Jones Stadium, on June 19, 2021, in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

Stacey Jones believes replacement Chanel Harris-Tavita offers a more holistic game with his experience, something that Walsh can watch and take things away from.

“We are just looking for a more consistent performance at the back and I thought Chanel a couple of weeks ago really showed that."

“Just a couple of little effort areas, and for Reece it’s probably just a bit of a learning thing for him.

“I thought I needed to make a change in that position and Chanel proved it the week before – more around defence where he works hard and gets the numbers right – and Reece can learn from that."

It's still unclear who will play fullback for the Warriors in 2023 and beyond with both Walsh and Harris-Tavita departing.

The club has announced the return of Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, however there is word the Raiders back has been signed as a centre, not a custodian, fuelling rumours that Te Maire Martin will join the club in somewhat of a swap deal with the Broncos. Cronulla utility Luke Metcalf will join the club next season and could provide an option as well.

The club's season is all but over, currently four wins outside the top eight, meaning the time to experiment is now. Whether it's testing new combinations or potentially debuting talent, it's unclear how Jones will have treat the final seven games of the regular season, though it's clear Walsh won't be a major factor of it.