NRL 2021: NZ Warriors snare hot prospect Reece Walsh as potential Roger Tuivasa-Sheck replacement

The New Zealand Warriors may have found Roger Tuivasa-Sheck's replacement in young fullback Reece Walsh, who will join the club in 2022.

The Auckland side have snared one of the game's brightest young talents from the Brisbane Broncos on a three-year deal, starting from next season.

The 19-year-old is a prodigious talent and is already creating an impressive resume. In 2019, he represented both the Queensland State of Origin under-18s and Australian Schoolboys sides. 

He comes from the famed Keebra Park State High School rugby league nursery, which produced his future teammate Ben Murdoch-Masila along with the likes of Benji Marshall and Payne Haas.

"This is a fantastic signing for our club and Warriors fans have every reason to be excited about the progress we are making with recruitment in the short, mid- and long-term," said Warriors chief executive Cameron George.

"He comes to the Warriors at the perfect time following us re-signing Tohu (Harris). We now have an exciting future with experience and exciting young players developed from within and others that have been handpicked to join us. It's a great statement for our club."

Walsh has Australian Indigenous and Māori heritage and has been wowing observers with his skill level across the ditch.

"Reece is a prodigious talent who has starred in junior footy," said Warriors recruitment manager Peter O'Sullivan. "It's not often you get an opportunity to secure a player of his ability, He is a natural footballer with speed, balance and vision.

"With experience, I believe Reece will go on to become a top-line NRL fullback in the coming years. He'll complement Wayde [Egan], Kodi [Nikorima] and Chael [Harris-Tavita] perfectly in our spine."

The departure of current Warriors captain Tuivasa-Sheck to rugby union to join the Blues will leave a massive hole in the side but coach Nathan Brown says Walsh shapes as a wonderful replacement. 

"Reece has all the attributes in his game that the really good players have," he says. "His speed and game sense are things that can make a difference in our team.

"We won't be putting pressure on Reece by making big statements about his game but we will give him all the guidance to make sure his game is ready for the start of 2022.

"We want him to work hard and train hard and he will have a great career in front of him."

Just whether the Warriors trust him with the crucial fullback position is yet to be seen, but they do have options within the current squad with centre Peta Hiku and Hayze Perham. 

Both are off contract at the end of the season, so what O'Sullivan does with them will be interesting to see. Hiku has filled in at fullback many times in recent seasons and Perham will wear the No.1 jersey for Warriors feeder club the Redcliffe Dolphins in the Queensland Cup on Saturday.

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