Broncos teammate’s Reece Walsh admission should frighten NRL rivals

Pat Carrigan says the Brisbane Broncos are staying the course on their mission to “go one better” in 2024 despite being ravaged by injuries early in the season.

The Broncos currently sit sixth on the ladder and take on Manly on Friday night in a Magic Round blockbuster at Suncorp Stadium.

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They have managed to stay afloat in the top eight despite injuries to Adam Reynolds, Payne Haas, Billy Walters, Tristan Sailor, Ben Te Kura, and Jesse Arthars.

Reynolds will miss most of the season with a torn bicep and Josh Rogers has played two games so far in his absence and is filling in for Reynolds along with Jock Madden.

Carrigan told Broncos coach Kevin Walters had used the injury crisis as a chance to rejuvenate the team with young players.

“Obviously we’ve faced a bit of adversity but Kevvie’s been really good in that regard and has always been really good about if you get an opportunity to wear a Broncos jersey, then you take it with both hands,” Carrigan said.

“His approach to things makes players want to play for him and proud to play for the club. “We can’t catch a break at the moment, but such is life in rugby league sometimes. You just keep on keeping on.

“It’s exciting, it’s refreshing to see what it means for these guys and their families to play first grade. That’s what Kev’s passionate about. It’s just a new challenge. You never know what’s going to happen throughout the year.

“You can lose any player at any time. We have a strong foundation in our group. If you get your chance to play footy, we’re confident we can get a job done any time, any place, against any team.”

Broncos fullback Reece Walsh has quickly become the most popular player in the NRL with fans of all ages following his breakout season last year.

In a scary proposition for rival clubs, Carrigan believes the 21-year-old is just scratching the surface of his potential.

“He’s just playing to a standard where people are excited to come and watch him play,” the Broncos lock said.

“By what he’s capable of, we probably even seen the surface this year. He’s going to keep working on his craft and I know he’s going to get better and better.

“He’s just a humble kid, who other kids naturally gravitate to and want to play like. It’s exciting he’s in our team and I’m just happy he’s enjoying his footy.”

Walsh has had a couple of feisty brain explosions in his career, notably incidents involving a referee in a game and a fan in the lead up to last year’s grand final.

His error rate prompted Walters to quip: “Walshy needs to take a chill pill and just relax himself and get himself into the game.”

But Carrigan said his teammates haven’t felt the need to rein in Walsh and want him to play with flair.

“Not really to be honest,” he said.

“He’s obviously had a couple things but he’s just passionate. We all know at our club we bring different things to our team and he definitely brings a lot of excitement.

“He can do things no one else can potentially do. Sometimes that comes with some errors and that sort of thing that gets spoken about, but if you ask the boys they’d want him in our team every day of the week.

“He’s got plenty of growth this year, which is exciting for Broncos fans.”

The Broncos want to win the premiership after the heartbreaking loss to Penrith in last year’s decider, but they’re taking the old ‘one game at a time’ approach.

“There’s no real end goal in terms of where we want to finish on the ladder,” Carrigan.

“Obviously we want to be in the grand final and hopefully go one better than last year.

“For us, it’s just about improving week in and week out. If we can do that the results take care of themselves.

“We’re definitely not at our capabilities yet, which is exciting. It’s a long, long year so we’re trying not to look too far ahead.”

The Broncos play Manly on Friday night at 8.10pm AEST. Watch every game of Magic Round on Kayo Sports.

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