The Brisbane Broncos are reportedly set to announce the signature of star fullback Reece Walsh for 2023 and beyond in the coming days, but the question remains - does it make any sense?

The move will undoubtedly be trumpeted as a monumentally large one for the club when it goes through, given how disappointed club officials were believed to be when he originally departed Red Hill.

Walsh was a Broncos' junior and rated as one of the best young talents in the game.

An enormous part of the Broncos' future plans, Walsh was supposed to be the long-term number one for the Broncos, until he wasn't.

Signing a bombshell contract with the New Zealand Warriors in mid-March last year, Walsh, who was on a development deal with the Broncos at the time, was released by the club just a few weeks later as they didn't want to stand in his way of a potential first-grade debut.

That took no time at all, with Walsh ultimately debuting for the Warriors in Round 7 - just two weeks after he joined the club - on ANZAC Day against the Melbourne Storm in Melbourne.

There could not have been a bigger Warriors' game to debut for, and yet, Walsh was superb in his rookie outing, and had plenty of strong performances between his debut and the ene of his first season in the NRL.

It was only at the end of the season that controversy would strike Walsh after he was arrested on the Gold Coast, found to be in possession of a small bag of cocaine.

Walsh owned up to his mistake, was fined $5000 by the NRL and suspended for two matches.

That will only be a very minor blip on the radar by the end of his career though, with Walsh returning to form to be one of the bright spots in a Warriors' team who have struggled enormously this season.

Sometimes, we forget the star fullback is only 19 years of age. It's an incredibly young age to be in the spotlight to the level that Walsh is, with only 30 games of NRL experience under his belt after debuting at 18.

Those form struggles mentioned could well be coming to an end for the team though, who are set to move back to Auckland in 2023, and had their homecoming match in Auckland on the weekend with a win over the Wests Tigers at Mt Smart Stadium in front of a sold out crowd who hadn't seen their team play in New Zealand since prior to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

1038 days in total.

NRL Rd 16 - Warriors v Wests Tigers

But it's what same issue which has caused the club untold problems in roster management, losing all of Matt Lodge, Euan Aitken and Kodi Nikorima for 2023 - Lodge and Nikorima immediately - while Walsh now appears set to join the list.

Speculation that Walsh didn't want to move back to New Zealand has followed him around like a bad smell for most of the season, and despite claiming he was moving across the ditch to fulfill his contract earlier this year, it's understood a "change" in personal circumstances have seen him put a request for a release in - one that is set to be honoured by the Warriors on the proviso that he signs with the Broncos.

That's a double whammy though for clubs in the south-east corner of Queensland though, with the Dolphins reportedly previously interested, but not likely to gain a release for Walsh to join. While the Broncos may reportedly want Walsh, it's also tipped they may need to offer up a player swap for the 2023 season to get the move across the line.

But it's not the player swap, or even the salary cap issues which form the basis of the argument that the Broncos simply don't need Walsh.

The form of Kevin Walters' side this year has been nothing short of extraordinary, particularly when it's measured up against their pre-season expectations.

While the club brought in a host of new faces for 2022, led by former South Sydney Rabbitohs halfback Adam Reynolds and Penrith Panthers second-rower Kurt Capewell - both of whom played in the 2021 grand final - competing for a spot in the top four was not seen as a realistic option by many before a ball was kicked this year.

But that is exactly where the Broncos find themselves.

The club are absolutely humming, and they should be moving mountains to not upset the balance they have created.

Brisbane Broncos Training Session

And that, in this instance, means not looking at bringing in another star, no matter how happy it might make club officials to bring a young gun who was once seen as the future of one of the most important roles in the game for the club.

They have moved on from that, and the plan of succession in the number one jumper with their current roster couldn't - and more accurately shouldn't - be more clear.

Tesi Niu started the season there and was growing nicely into his role before being injured after displaying some solid form in a well-beaten team there at the back-end of 2021.

Despite playing during a rough trot of form for the Broncos at the start of the season against high-quality opposition - in his five games, he played all of the Cowboys, Roosters and Panthers - he scored a try, made 29 tackle busts, added a couple of try assists and averaged 121 metres per game.

Playing in a team who were growing into new combinations, Niu did a strong job at the back, and will aim to pick up where he left off when he returns for the club this weekend against the St George Illawarra Dragons with a whole host of players missing due to injury.

When he did go down injured though, Walters stuck Te Maire Martin into the role, and he has been superb ever since during a monster run of wins for the Broncos.

In nine games, he simply did his job. He certainly wasn't the best fullback in the game, but with the way Brisbane were going about their business, he didn't need to be.

Assisting four tries, he was a threat with the ball in hand and more importantly, did a strong job in defence, which is an area Niu still has plenty of work to do in.

But neither of those two players are the likely long-term options to play at fullback.

Niu will ultimately wind up in the centres, while Martin's future is a complicated beast given where he sat in the club's plans at the start of the year - a chance taken on a development deal - as well as the breakout form of a future Maroon in Ezra Mam at five-eighth.

The future of the fullback role is undoubtedly Selwyn Cobbo.

While the Queensland debutant has played on the wing this season, and Walters has refused to move him into the number one jumper despite having opportunities to do so, it is ultimately where he is going to want to play.

Cobbo is a big priority for the Broncos, and while loyalty at the moment continues given he has just re-signed on significantly less money than what he could have received elsewhere, that may not be the case at the end of 2024 when negotiations open for his next contract from 2026 onwards, particularly if he isn't playing at fullback.

He certainly needs extra time to fill out his frame before becoming a week-to-week fullback at NRL level, but bringing in Walsh only threatens to disrupt the momentum Brisbane have managed to build to this stage.

They are going along nicely, but what's more, they need every spare dollar in the salary cap they can get - and paying up to a million dollars per season for Walsh could well ultimately cost them the likes of Payne Haas and Patrick Carrigan, who are going to be in for further upgrades in the coming seasons, as well as young guns in the set up like Mam and Brendan Piakura, or more established first-graders like Kotoni Staggs.

NRL Rd 11 - Knights v Broncos

The Warriors have virtually backed Walsh into a corner with suggestions they won't release him to the Dolphins, but it simply seems illogical that the Broncos would want to take Walsh given the momentum they have managed to build up.

Talent might be the driving factor, but in this instance, it shouldn't be the only factor in a decision which could shape the future of a club where the outlook is far healthier than it was 12 months ago.

The last thing the men from Red Hill should be doing is making risky calls which have the potential to derail that.

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