Talent is a wonderful thing to have in rugby league – but as the Queensland Under 16 Murri side have been learning this week – it means nothing if there is someone else willing to work harder, put in more effort and have the patience to achieve their goal.
Reece Walsh is a talented player. Anyone with any knowledge of the game will tell you that. As a halfback; he has the skills, the communication, the drive and the confidence to shine on the field.
Murri Under 16 coach Sam Reuben is another to praise his abilities telling NRL.com that he provides the team with “plenty of direction”.
We have really seen him grow; he’s matured a lot over the past few seasons.
His long-time junior coach at the Nerang Roosters on the Gold Coast has seen his innate talent up close – but said that in more recent seasons, he has been more impressed by the qualities he has developed off the field.
“He was always a level above the rest – especially in the young age groups,” Damein Heu said.
“He’s a very dominant player and a standout player and he has great footy smarts.
“The whole family are footy orientated; his dad was a good player … even his sister plays … (so) those footy smarts came from being in the backyard playing.”
Heu, a close friend of the family whose son Taanei is a team-mate of Walsh, said he was proud of the way Walsh had matured in recent years and how he had embraced the importance of working hard to achieve his goals. This was something he found harder to do in his earlier playing days.
“When he was younger; because he was where he was (in terms of playing ability); he didn’t understand why everyone around him was not at his level.
“He was very head-strong ... some coaches would have found him challenging, because he was that step ahead.
“But we have really seen him grow; he’s matured a lot over the past few seasons since he has started making rep teams (and has been learning more).
“He’s come back from those teams and helped our younger players and he tries to share that knowledge; he’s helped my son in that way too.
“Reece is a good kid … I reckon he has the potential to go all the way.”
Speaking to Walsh confirms that he is a young man who is eager to better himself and to help others be better as well.
Having been selected in various representative programs and teams – including the Under 15 QAS squad last year and this year’s Under 16 QAS Emerging Origin squad – he spoke excitedly about the things he had been learning at the elite development camps.
“I have been learning heaps (from the camps); just all the little things (to improve) tackling and all those sorts of things; all those little things you wouldn’t think about and to stick to them real hard,” Walsh said.
“That’s what I try to do when I go back to my club – (and) just try and help the younger boys and stuff, and even help the boys my age and tell them what I’ve learnt and share it with everyone.”
This week has seen him earn another representative honour as a key member of the Queensland Under 16 Murri side.
With a Queensland emblem on his chest, he said it was special to be able to take part in the experience.
“It means a lot, representing my culture and my state,” he said.
“It’s good to see how passionate all the Indigenous boys are – it’s good to get in here and to have these opportunities.”
This week’s camp also afforded him and his team-mates the opportunity to get up-close and personal with a number of NRL players, with Tyrone Peachey (one of his favourite players) joining the side for lunch as they toured the Panthers academy and Dane Gagai chatting to the team at the Rabbitohs captain’s run.
Reaching the NRL is a goal for Walsh, who named his dad as one of his role models – but he knows there is a lot of hard work, effort and patience needed if he is going to make it.
“It is hard sometimes, but you just have to push through and work hard off the field and get those little things right.”
***The Murri Under 16 v Koori Under 16 game will be played at Glen Willow Oval, Mudgee today at 5.30pm (NSW time). QRL – Queensland Rugby League Facebook page will provide score updates.
More from Murri Under 16 camp
Video: Captain's run with coach Leo Dynevor, Gabriel Mooka, Larson Dale-Doyle and Watjerra Briggs
Gallery: Murri Under 16 Captain’s Run
Feature story: Thallis Halliday, Gabriel Mooka, Reece Walsh, Zac Laybutt and Jack Beetson
Gallery: Murri Under 16 Jersey Presentation
Video: Murri Under 16 v Under 16 Emerging Origin opposed session
Gallery: Murri Under 16 training
Murri team enters camp