Reece Walsh cements status as public enemy No 1 in NSW after Queensland star HEADBUTTED Jarome Luai during resounding win in Origin II – and he even celebrated being sent off!
- Reece Walsh cemented his status as public enemy No 1 in NSW
- The young fullback wound the Blues up during Game II
- He celebrated being sent off after headbutting Jarome Luai
Reece Walsh seemingly has no problem with his status as public enemy No 1 in New South Wales after pouring fuel on the fire in his stoush with the Blues.
The Maroons young gun was sent off on Wednesday night during a chaotic ending to his side’s mauling of their arch rivals, after video replays showed him headbutting Jarome Luai in an on-field melee.
He was seen gesturing ‘keep talking’ with his hands and waved goodbye to Josh Addo-Carr after the winger was dismissed for winging a punch at him prior to the headbutt.
But Walsh didn’t last much longer on the pitch either and was seen geeing up the crowd and celebrating when he was sent off.
Walsh, making his series debut this year, has been keen to stoke up the rivalry with NSW and angered Blues fans with his antics after Queensland’s Game I win in Adelaide.
Reece Walsh enhanced his status as public enemy No 1 in NSW on Wednesday night
He gestured for Blues players to ‘shush’ and later savaged them for ‘thinking they own rugby league’.
‘They were always going to come [for me],’ he said after Game I. ‘They think they are better than everyone down there in blue. They think they own the game.’
The night ended with a resounding 32-6 scoreline in Queensland’s favour as the Maroons retained State of Origin bragging rights in Brisbane.
The Blues lost centre Tom Trbojevic to injury in the third minute but had ample opportunity to build an early lead in front of 52,433 at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday.
But the Maroons’ defence held strong until their clinical offence hit top gear, coach Billy Slater’s men now eyeing the first Origin clean sweep since 2010 in Sydney’s dead-rubber.
The Blues enjoyed 64 per cent of territory but paid the price for a lack of polish as the Maroons ran in six tries to one.
Captain Daly Cherry-Evans produced the match-turning moment, chasing down a flying Stephen Crichton then making a break of his own that led to the Maroons’ second try.
Valentine Holmes scored twice to bring his Origin tally to 13 – good enough for third on the all-time Origin list – fullback Reece Walsh was an ever-present danger and prop Lindsay Collins produced another barnstormer to claim man of the match.
There was drama late though with Walsh and Jarome Luai sent off for head-butting each other and Josh Addo-Carr sin-binned for a swinging arm on the Maroons fullback.
The Blues’ script was flicked after just three minutes when centre Trbojevic left the game with a pectoral injury.
Versatile backrower Cameron Murray was left on the bench and hooker Damien Cook instead deployed in the unfamiliar position.
The South Sydney rake, used on the left with Stephen Crichton shifted on the right, was heavily involved but often for all the wrong reasons.
Twice play broke down on his edge despite the Blues having numbers, while Jeremiah Nanai stepped Cook for an early line break.
Both of Holmes’ tries came in his corner, the first a grounded high ball he got his fingertips on and the second a diving effort after calming collecting a half-volley.
Winger Murray Taulagi then repeated his game-one defensive heroics, this time holding up Crichton over the line.
He then chipped inside after Harry Grant ran it on the last tackle, Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow running onto the fortunate bounce for his fourth try in three Origin starts.
Finally the Blues found a reply, Cook busting the Queensland defence in broken play.
But it was a fleeting moment of respite, as Walsh again tormented Cook’s right edge to put Xavier Coates over for another try before Nanai drove the final nail into the coffin.
Payne Haas was immense in a beaten side while Mitch Moses looked dangerous early as he attempted to fill the injured Nathan Cleary’s shoes as Blues halfback, but had little influence beyond that.