NRL: Reece Walsh shines in first start as Brisbane Broncos go top of table with victory over North Queensland Cowboys

Former NZ Warriors fullback Reece Walsh played the starring role for Brisbane Broncos, as his new side went top of the NRL with a commanding 28-16 victory over local rivals North Queensland Cowboys.

Walsh, 20, left the Warriors at the end of 2022 in order to move closer to his family, living in Queensland.

And making his first NRL start for the Broncos after missing last week's win over reigning premiers Penrith Panthers, Walsh was the star turn for Brisbane.

Locked at 10-10 at halftime thanks to first half scores by North Queensland's Jeremiah Nanai, and Brisbane pair Kurt Capewell and Ezra Mam.

But in the second half, Walsh took charge.

The fullback laid on one try assist, deftly kicking through the line to allow centre Kotoni Staggs to dive over and score, before crossing over for his first points as a Bronco.

After Herbie Farnworth broke the Cowboys' line, Walsh was in the right place at the right time to receive the final pass, and dart in under the posts.

All up, Walsh finished with one try and one try assist, 175 running metres, three line break assists, one offload and six tackles in his 80 minutes.

"If that's his first game it's great for everyone involved," said coach Kevin Walters. "It was a great start for him. 

"He has good skills in his kitbag but it's only early for Reece. We brought him back to do some of the things he did. I'm very proud."

Brisbane Broncos 28 (Capewell, Mam 2, Stags, Walsh tries; Reynolds 3 conversions; Reynolds penalty)

North Queensland Cowboys 16 (Nanai 2 tries; Holmes 2 conversions; Holmes 2 penalties)