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)

Reece Walsh may secure a release to join the Brisbane Broncos from the start of the 2023 season, but it's set to come at a cost for the Red Hill club.

The NRL's transfer market and rumour mill has been in overdrive for the last 24 hours, with Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad's now confirmed move to the New Zealand Warriors setting off a domino effect.

The Warriors this morning confirmed Walsh has permission to negotiate to remain in Australia following a "change of personal circumstances", but only with the Brisbane Broncos.

That rules the Dolphins out of contention for the star, and what would be their first genuine marquee player, with reported bad blood existing between the Dolphins and Warriors, meaning the Auckland-based club wouldn't be willing to release him to Redcliffe for what is the final year of his current contract with the Warriors.

Personal circumstances stopping a move to Auckland fulltime next year are behind Walsh's call, with the same already impacting Matt Lodge, Kodi Nikorima and Euan Aitken from the playing group, while head coach Nathan Brown also stood down a number of weeks ago under the same reasoning.

It's now being reported the Warriors will want a player swap for Walsh to head back to the club he was once a junior at for the 2023 season, and The Daily Telegraph's Phil Rothfield is suggesting that player will be Te Maire Martin.

A move of Martin to the Warriors would make a high degree of sense.

He is a New Zealander, and was living there before returning to the NRL with the Broncos on a development contract from a previous medical retirement.

It would also free up the pressure on game time for Brisbane's crop of fullbacks and backs, with Tesi Niu already likely to have to fight for a spot in the centres following Walsh's arrival, while any planned move of Selwyn Cobbo to fullback would be put on the backburner.

RELATED: Why the Broncos don't actually need Walsh

That comes with none of Walsh or Martin realistically able to switch to the halves anytime soon thanks to the breakout form of Ezra Mam, who will remain in the halves alongside Adam Reynolds for the remainder of the veteran's contract.

Martin, on the other hand, would likely slot straight into the number 14 jumper at the Warriors, serving as back up in both the halves and at fullback to the likes of Shaun Johnson, Daejarn Asi and the arriving Luke Metcalfe, as well as Nicoll-Klokstad at the back.

1 COMMENT

  1. So Reece Walsh wants to leave the thirteen on the table Warriors, and rather than stay until the end of 2023, he’d like to bail out now, or by the end of the season at the latest. That’s my take.

    He has split up with his partner, and has told the Warriors that he wants to stay in Brisbane to he can be with their child. Problem is, the child will live with mother, and Walsh may well have to apply to the courts for access. He may not be seeing much of baby. And, hey – once he finds a new girl will he want to carry on seeing baby, anyway?

    Maybe that is why the Warriors have said “it’s only Brisbane, if you want to leave”.
    Smart move on their part. Maybe they have stopped being a pushover for every employee who prefers to Oz to NZ, and is able to spin a hard-luck story with a straight face.

    If Brisbane don’t need him, don’t want him, can’t afford him (or all the above), the smart move for Walsh would be to demonstrate how genuine his problem is by asking the Warriors if he can negotiate with a Queensland cup team based in Brisbane. The Warriors could hardly say “No”.

    So Reece signs with the Redcliffe Dolphins (say) then at the end of the 2022 season perhaps he moves to some other Queensland team.

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