Warriors coach Nathan Brown says superstar teenager Reece Walsh is adjusting to life as an NRL player and has urged some rugby league commentators to offer their opinions carefully on the young gun.
The 18-year-old was generally impressive again on Saturday against Newcastle, although he did cop a barrage of high bombs and struggled to diffuse them in wet and wild conditions in the Hunter.
He is now on Queensland’s radar and could be called on to make his State of Origin debut when the Maroons announce their game two team on Monday.
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He would be one of the youngest to ever play Origin, and after only a handful of NRL games.
Brown told media post-game Walsh has done well with handling the sudden fame and the commentary that’s come with it.
“It’s got to be a little difficult,” Brown said.
“I know there’s a lot of people giving opinions on Reece that haven’t been where he’s been. Reece, six weeks ago no one knew him.
“I’m not on those social media things, but I believe he had 2000 followers when he first came to us and now he’s got about 140,000, he’s gone from playing nothing to a star.
“A lot of people giving opinions and commenting on Reece, when they played their careers slowly went ahead, and they weren’t playing at 18.
“These guys who are the best players of the past, their careers started at 19, and 20, and 21, and slowly over time they got some fame, whereas Reece has gone from zero to 150 in a six-week block.
“It’s got to be difficult for any young kid at 18. He’s had a child along the way as well, so he’s had some life-changing experiences.
“He’s a good young kid and he certainly doesn’t get carried away with himself. I’m sure he will look at some things from this week and think ‘could I have done that differently?’.
“That’s a part of life, being a young kid.”
Brown said he spoke to the teenager when rumours of a potential Origin call-up began swirling during the week.
Walsh could be named on the bench for Queensland for Origin II after the Maroons were thumped 50-6 in the series opener.
The coach is trying his best to keep a lid on things surrounding his young star.
“I had a brief chat to Reece. He’s a really first-class kid,” Brown said.
“He’s only a young fella and he’s getting a lot of attention… he has got quite a lot of talent, so it’s expected.
“He will learn every week. He does adapt and learn quick which is great.”