As a result of back-to-back wins over premiership hopefuls to start the new season, the Broncos are currently flying high.

They're one of only four teams who remain undefeated, at the time of this being written, despite having the league's most difficult draw to start the season.

Kevin Walters' men saw off the Panthers, at the foot of the mountains no less, to begin their season before delivering a 12-point beating to the Cowboys.

The wins have come on the back of a brilliant platform laid by Payne Haas, Patrick Carrigan and Thomas Flegler. Ezra Mam and Herbie Farnworth have both enjoyed an equally incredible start to the season.

Their start mirrors that of their 2022 counterparts. They won their opening two games, including a win over an opponent from the grand final from the prior season in Round 1.

Truthfully, there are actually a lot of similarities between the 2022 and 2023 Broncos. Overall the personnel is almost identical, with a few minor changes.

There is however, one significant difference that separates the current Broncos from their 2022 selves.

That difference is what I believe will see Brisbane not only avoid repeating their late 2022 fade out, but instead improve into a comfortable finals finish.

That difference being the arrival (or is that return) of their new superstar number one, Reece Walsh.

With the greatest of respects to Jamayne Isaako, Tesi Niu and Te Maire Martin, the fact we had to name three players here shows the Broncos never settled in a first-choice fullback in 2022.

Brisbane Broncos Training Session
Tesi Niu leads a shrinking list of fullback targets for the Newcastle Knights. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Reece Walsh, upon his return to the club after two seasons playing for the Warriors, is that very first choice halfback they were screaming out for.

His class, ball playing ability and elusive running game compliments his halves perfectly and instantly combine to make the Broncos a far more dangerous outfit. Dare I say a side with very real top-four aspirations.

It's worth remembering that at the completion of Round 19 in 2022 that the Broncos were sitting fourth. They were only a win behind the second placed Cowboys and equal on point with the side who would eventually finish second in the regular season, the Sharks.

Only a historic fade out, which included losses to the Tigers and Dragons, saw the Broncos miss the finals.

Despite an easy run in, Brisbane's only win in the last six weeks came over the Knights.

The Storm and Eels, teams fighting for spots similar to the Broncos, took the Red Hill-based side apart to the tune of a combined 113-8. At Suncorp no less. With the season on the line.

The awful end to the season almost entirely overshadowed the great results produced prior. The Broncos 2022 season will be remembered for air-chairing the Raiders into a Final's position that seemed impossible.

Adam Reynolds faltered toward the end of the season due to injuries and fatigue leaving the Broncos with nothing, and lots of it.

I've seen enough in his club debut performance, as well as his career to date, to suggest that Reece Walsh is the missing piece to complete the 2023 puzzle.

I'm not willing to go as far, just yet, to suggest Brisbane are a legit premiership threat. That said, if Reynolds, Haas, Mam and Walsh all stay fit, perhaps a re-visit of that statement will be in order.

Walsh simply couldn't have done more on his club debut. A try, a try assist, three line break assists, three tackle breaks and 175 run metres combine for a spectacular return.

There's just a different level of class on show at the back when Walsh is there.

He was very good in an often below average Warriors side. I am loathe to be negative toward the club after what they did for the competition throughout Covid, but there is a huge discrepancy in talent across the sides.

NRL Rd 24 - Warriors v Raiders
MACKAY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 27: Reece Walsh of the Warriors looks on before the start of the round 24 NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Canberra Raiders at BB Print Stadium, on August 27, 2021, in Mackay, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Walsh will be plying his trade behind one of the game's elite middle rotations. Haas and Carrigan are two of the top middles in the game. Thomas Flegler is hugely underrated while Corey Jensen, Marty Taupau and Keenan Palasia combine to round out a more than handy engine room.

In Reynolds, Walsh now has the ultimate role model influencing his game.

Reynolds has become the ultimate professional, has over 250 NRL games to his name and seems to enjoy his role as a leader.

Walsh could do far worse than attaching himself to the hip of the Premiership winner. This will only improve his game, on and off the field.

I'd also argue that the Broncos are in a much better spot, should Reynolds need time off at the business end. His injury history suggests it's on the cards, but Broncs fans shouldn't be overly worried.

Walsh's kicking game can help bridge any losses while his ball playing skills can see him play as a half if needed.

When Walsh signed, I actually dropped a comment into the group chat that read "If this kid stays fit, the Broncos are a problem!". I stand by and double down on this comment today.

Brisbane are far from a one man outfit but Reece Walsh is the reason the 2023 Broncos are a far more dangerous outfit than they were in 2022.