NRL 2024: Maroons not worried about Reece Walsh losing his Origin cool

Queensland captain Daly Cherry-Evans has no qualms about Reece Walsh losing his cool at Accor Stadium on Wednesday night as the superstar full-back renews his rivalry with NSW chief energy officer Jarome Luai.

The series opener will be Walsh’s first Origin appearance since being sent off two games ago for an exchange of headers with Luai, who was also assaulted and had to deal with the Maroons faithful as he left Suncorp Stadium.

The pair have addressed the incident in the build-up to Wednesday’s clash, with Walsh expected to hear from 80,000 frenzied fans who are bleeding and will be happy for any chance to give it to Queensland’s biggest attacking weapon.

“I reckon I’ll let him be Reece. I’m definitely not going to talk to him about it,” Cherry-Evans said.

“We talk about a lot of other things in camp and as long as we talk and bond about how we play our best, I think Reece has always put the team first.

“I think he’ll be fine. He has a great mentor in Billy. He won’t be short of people to give him advice, but the best advice we can give Reece is to go out there and be yourself.”

Walsh, 21, is on his way to greatness and will be the main man for the visitors on Wednesday night, but his captain has fired a warning shot at the Blues, declaring the best young star is still ahead of him as he continues to work with coach Billy Slater.

“All the best full-backs take their time in the game. It takes time to perfect and learn the game, so of course I think his best game is ahead of him. He set a pretty high bar for himself,” he said.

“That’s why I love playing with him. He’s a special player.

“I have a lot of faith and trust in Reece.

“Reuniting with him at camp was a lot of fun and he just gives me so much energy watching him run around.

“He’s great to watch and tough to play against, so it’s nice to have him in my team this time.

“We’re just going to try and bring out the best in Reece Walsh on Wednesday night. We’ll just get the ball into space for him. It’s that simple.”

Conditions won’t be ideal for a free-flowing pitch with heavy rain forecast, but that could play into the hands of Selwyn Cobbo, who promises to be a wildcard from the bench.

It’s still unclear how the Maroons plan to use the Broncos center barring any injuries, but that unpredictability could be an advantage if they let him wreak havoc through the middle.

“There are two things that are really important in terms of the sub role,” said Cherry-Evans, who made four appearances off the bench for his country.

“You have to put the team first and you have to bring your strengths to it. If Selwyn does it, I think it will be fine.

“I’d like to think we’re really comfortable for him in the role he’s going to play this week.”

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