NRL news | Reece Walsh quits Warriors to join Broncos, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad leaves Raiders


UPDATE: The Dolphins are reportedly “furious” about gun teenager Reece Walsh quitting the Warriors to rejoin the Broncos.

News broke on Tuesday afternoon of the 19-year-old’s stunning backflip, barely two months after he declared he would not break his contract to return to Queensland.

Walsh had been pursued by the NRL’s newest team, the Dolphins, and coach Wayne Bennett who continues to hunt for a marquee signing for their inaugural season in 2023.

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In May he declared he was determined to honour his Warriors contract in the face of poaching from the Dolphins.

“It’s not fair on my teammates or the club that they think I am wanting to go elsewhere,” Walsh said at the time.

“It’s not the case – we haven’t spoken to any other clubs, I have a contract in place which means I am 100 per cent going to New Zealand next year.”

Nine’s rugby league reporter Ben Dobbin tweeted, “the Dolphins having rung the NRL this morning furious and demanding clarification on why the Warriors are allowed to dictate the only club Reece Walsh is allowed to play at”.

It’s been reported the Warriors did not want Walsh to fall into the hands of Bennett and his Dolphins.

The 19-year-old was one of the Broncos’ most promising juniors, but was sensationally released by the club mid-season last year so he could take up a deal with the Warriors.

Walsh was named the NRL’s rookie of the year despite playing only 16 games.

He remains contracted until the end of 2023, with an option in his favour for 2024, but he won’t make it that far after the club decided to give him a release to stay in Brisbane on compassionate grounds.

It has been reported that Walsh recently split with his partner and is keen to stay in Brisbane to be close to his daughter.

“There has been a major change in Reece’s personal circumstances in the past two months which have impacted on his ability to move to Auckland with the club next season,” Warriors CEO Cameron George said in a statement.

“We’re working through his situation and have given him permission, with some conditions, to look at options in Brisbane. It’s not the way either Reece or the club had wanted this to play out but we respect the issues he has.”

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Walsh has reportedly signed a three-year deal to re-join the Broncos.

The Walsh news surfaced as the Raiders agreed to release star fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad to return to the Warriors.

“Having Charnze back with the Warriors is going to be tremendous for us as a club and also for him personally,” George said.

“There’s huge raps on him as a player but there’s even bigger raps on him as a person.

“He brings undoubted qualities as one of the best fullbacks in the game as well as so much off the field as a wonderful young man.

“He’s so excited about coming back to the Warriors, being home and being closer to his family.”

Walsh is set to take the Broncos’ No.1 jersey next season, with Te Maire Martin, who is off contract, understood to be under consideration as a back-up if they can agree to terms to re-sign him.

The Broncos have reportedly hatched a long-term plan to convert Walsh to a five-eighth, pairing him in the halves with Ezra Mam once superstar in the making Selwyn Cobbo is ready to transition to fullback.

Walsh joins a list of players and coaching staff to have quit the Warriors since the club announced it would return to New Zealand for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Coach Nathan Brown quit his post before the Warriors returned home, citing the need to be near his family in Australia. Controversial prop Matt Lodge also never made it across the ditch, cutting his contract short.

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