With the August 1 deadline passed, Reece Walsh will definitely see out the rest of the season with the Warriors and he says he’s determined to give it everything in his last five games for the club.
Walsh was given an early release from his contract to rejoin the Broncos next season and the Warriors have signed Te Maire Martin on a three-year-deal as his replacement.
But Walsh could have gone even earlier than initially expected, to play out the remainder of this year’s campaign with the Storm.
It could have been a great experience for Walsh to spend time working under Craig Bellamy, play footy finals and potentially win a Premiership.
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However, Warriors CEO Cameron George refused to entertain the possibility of Walsh heading to Melbourne, despite a number of calls from the Storm inquiring about it.
In the end, the Storm picked up David Nofoaluma from Wests Tigers, who’s certainly not a player of Walsh’s quality.
So instead of contemplating picking up his first premiership ring, Walsh will head to the Sunshine Coast this weekend for the Warriors’ game against the Rabbitohs.
“I didn’t look into it too much,” Walsh said of the interest from the Storm.
“I was going through a bit at the Warriors and wanted to get back in the team.
“I sort of feel for the Melbourne boys, they’re going through a bit of adversity, but the Warriors have been through adversity for the last three years and they’re the sort of club that can get themselves out of it.
“That transition isn’t going to happen for myself and I’m going to be here at the Warriors.
“I send all my regards to the Storm boys and I’m backing them to play some good footy and prove all the naysayers wrong.”
Walsh isn’t kicking stones about playing out the season with the Warriors and judging by his performance in the 24-12 loss to the Storm last Friday, it’s not affecting how he’s playing.
“I’m not saying in the weeks before that I hadn’t put in the effort or anything like that, but it was a bit of a statement game for myself,” Walsh said.
“If I can keep getting better each week, I’ll put my heart and soul into my jersey each week.
“If I can keep doing the right things, hopefully we’ll go in the right direction.”
The Warriors take on a Rabbitohs team lying seventh on the ladder, so they’ll be desperate for the two points on Saturday to stay in the top eight.
For their other four games in 2022, they take on the top two teams in the NRL, the Panthers and Cowboys, but also have winnable games against the Bulldogs and Titans.
Winning two of their remaining five games will be a pass mark for the Warriors, more would be a bonus and Walsh feels their closer score against the Storm last week compared to when they lost 70-10 on Anzac Day, shows the improvements the club’s making .
“I’m not saying losing is alright, but if you look at where we’re going, we’re going in the right direction,” he said.
“We’ve got a couple of tough games coming up and it’s going to really show our character and what we’re like as a team, so we’ve got to stay tight, keep working hard for each other and go out there and enjoy playing footy.”
Meanwhile, Wayde Egan is to start at five-eighth against the Rabbitohs on Saturday, with Chanel Harris-Tavita out injured.
Egan filled in for Harris-Tavita when he went off with a knee injury against the Storm last weekend.
Despite it being his first game in the halves at NRL level, Egan did superbly well.
After the game Egan hinted that he’d like to play in the halves again, but didn’t expect it to happen again so soon.
However, Warriors coach Stacey Jones has decided to give him the No 6 jersey for this weekend, with Freddy Lussick named at hooker.
As well as Harris-Tavita, Jazz Tevaga is also out for this round 21 game. He had an arm in a sling after the Storm loss and management were concerned whether he had a serious shoulder at the time. With Tavaga out, Aaron Pene starts at lock.
There are other significant changes to the Warriors team, with Adam Pompey dropped to the reserves and Euan Aitken moved from the second row to center.
Josh Curran has been named on the interchange bench, so there is a new-look second row, with Bayley Sironen wearing the No 11 jersey and Jack Murchie at 12.
AT A GLANCE
Warriors: Reece Walsh, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Marcelo Montoya, Euan Aitken, Edward Kosi, Wayde Egan, Shaun Johnson; Addin Fonua-Blake, Freddy Lussick, Tohu Harris, Bayley Sironen, Jack Murchie, Aaron Pene. Exchange: Taniela Otukolo, Bunty Afoa, Eliesa Katoa, Josh Curran. Reservations: Jackson Frei, Dunamis Lui, Daejarn Asi, Adam Pompey, Viliame Vailea.