Rugby league: NZ Warriors coach Nathan Brown reveals Reece Walsh selection conundrum solution

Another impressive performance from rising star Reece Walsh has again raised the question of if he should start for the NZ Warriors. 

The talented young playmaker played 46 minutes in Sunday’s 34-18 loss to the Parramatta Eels, scoring one try and making three line breaks. 

His impact helped the Warriors impose themselves on the game and prompted more questions about how best to use the 18-year-old. 

"It’s there for everyone to see that he’s quite dangerous and understands the game very well and he’s quick," Brown says.

"The most pleasing thing was in the second half he really got his numbers really good in defence."

Brown says he wants Walsh to play mostly at fullback, despite also being used in the halves - with the selection dilemma helped by the selflessness of captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck. 

"That’s our plan this year just put him in and Roger’s more than happy to move.

“It’s not a real headache, because Rog just wants the club to do well and he knows Reece is the future of the club.

"But while Reece plays a big part in our future, we want to win the games now as well, so it's probably a bit of a balancing act."

What is becoming a constant headache for Brown is his side’s habit of conceding multiple tries in a row.

In the past three weeks, the Warriors have leaked a cluster of consecutive tries to make life hard for themselves.

Brown says their defensive attitude hasn't been up to scratch. 

"It’s not about the points part of it, it’s about the defence part, because that’s quite clearly, where we’re not quite capable at the moment."

A 24-6 halftime deficit against the Eels on Sunday left the Warriors with a momentous task just to get back into the game. They won the second half 12-10, but the damage was already done. 

"It’s hard to be realistic when you’re giving up that much possession to a Parramatta or Roosters or Melbourne to keep them to nil. 

"But rather than leak four, we need to leak one and a half, then we’re right in the contest.” 

Nathan Brown
Nathan Brown Photo credit: Photosport

Brown saw cause for optimism, and aside from their games against the Storm and Roosters, the Warriors have always been  "in the fight" this season.

"We had some good moments, we got to 28-18 and we did that by being nice and direct and then we tried to go a bit around them and turned a bit of ball over. 

"We got that off the back of some really good defence, I think we defended five or six sets in a row."

The Warriors showed flashes of their strength at both ends against Parramatta, but will need to improve on defence to get momentum going this season.