Walsh officially becomes a Bronco, Brooks fumes over Tigers leaks, Blues call up Townsend

It’s official. Reece Walsh is heading back to the Broncos.

The 19-year-old signed a three-year contract on Thursday after informing the Warriors that he wished to move on.

“Reece’s return is great news for everyone at the Broncos and for all our supporters and members – we’ll get him back home next year,” Broncos coach Kevin Walters said.

“He’s a terrific young footballer and someone who has always belonged in Brisbane so it’s fantastic that he is coming back to where he belongs.

“Reece came through the Broncos system from a young age and the club has always considered him to be one of our most promising talents.

“He returns to us with some great NRL experience under his belt and rejoins the club at a time when we are forging something special.”

It’s a bitter pill for the Warriors who were on a high after returning home. It’s also disappointing news for the Dolphins who were in line chasing Walsh’s signature.

Andrew Johns believes the Broncos can now push for a premiership with their latest signing.

“This is huge for the Broncos over the Dolphins – because you’d imagine that if someone said two weeks’ ago ‘I hear a rumour that Reece Walsh is getting out of the Warriors’ you’d just go ‘oh, he’s going to the Dolphins’, but he’s decided to go to Brisbane,” Andrew Johns said on Wide World of Sports.

Brooks fuming over leaks

Wests Tigers five-eighth Luke Brooks is fuming over the constant leaks at the club which led to speculation he was going to be dropped recently.

Brooks has held his position heading into Saturday night’s clash with Parramatta despite scuttlebutt suggesting he was going to be dumped leading into last week’s trip to Auckland.

Adam Doueihi has been picked at centre in his first run-on game since returning via the bench from a torn ACL.

“I did see it. It was pretty disappointing that it came out in the media and in the end obviously it wasn’t true,” Brooks said.

“I think it came from a place where it probably shouldn’t have and that is what is frustrating sometimes about this club, a fair few stories get leaked out and I think it comes from people a lot higher than us.

“In the end, it obviously didn’t happen because I played. It’s just another thing (that happens at the club)… what can you do?”

Brooks, halfback Jackson Hastings and Doueihi all come off contract at the end of next year and are able to negotiate with rival clubs for 2024 from November 1.

“Personally I think his best position is five-eighth,” Brooks said of Doueihi.

“But when he has played at centre, he’s done really well there. He’s a runner of the ball. If we can get the ball in his hands as much as possible, that’s his biggest threat.”

Brooks is on the richest deal of the three, earning a reported $950,000 this year, and while he was linked with a move to Newcastle earlier in the season, he said he would make no decisions about his future until the Tigers appointed a new head coach.

“All that contract stuff is put on hold until the club gets a coach,” he said.

After sacking Maguire earlier this year, the Tigers appointed Brett Kimmorley head coach for the remainder of the season but Kristian Woolf, Andrew Webster and Shane Flanagan have all been earmarked as possible successors for 2023 and beyond. 

Luke Brooks of the Tigers in action

(Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

Townsend called into Blues camp

North Queensland Cowboys playmaker Chad Townsend has been called into the NSW extended squad after Nicho Hynes tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday. 

The Cronulla halfback met with the squad in Sydney earlier in the week and was expected to join them in camp in Kingscliff after the Sharks’ game with Melbourne on Thursday.

Hynes however returned a positive result on a RAT prior to Wednesday morning’s training session with the Sharks sending him for a PCR test.

He has since returned a positive PCR finding along with Sharks teammate Toby Rudolf.

“Nicho stayed in Sydney, we met at the hotel (earlier in the week) and hasn’t travelled with the team at all,” NSW coach Brad Fittler told 2GB.

“The COVID-19 protocols allow them to go back to their clubs and have captain’s run.

“We are thinking (we’ll call in) Chad Townsend. He’s keen to come in given the Cowboys aren’t playing. It’s great news (for Chad) and he’s been in great form.”

Hynes was not expected to play in next week’s decider after being named in jersey No.19 with Townsend expected to assume that role. 

Hynes was ruled out of Cronulla’s game with Braydon Trindall picked to take his place alongside Matt Moylan in the halves.

Chad Townsend passes

(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Dogs debutant bounces back

Canterbury rookie Declan Casey has been cleared of serious injury after leaving the field concussed in a medi-cab on Saturday and could line up for the Bulldogs in their next game.

On debut in Canterbury’s 18-6 loss to Cronulla, the 22-year-old centre knocked himself out attempting to tackle veteran Andrew Fifita in wet conditions.

Play stopped for close to five minutes while Casey lay on the ground and after leaving the field in a medi-cab, he was admitted to Westmead Hospital where he underwent CT scans.

Casey was released from hospital that night and could return to the Bulldogs line-up as soon as round 18, when the side plays its next game against South Sydney.

“Declan Casey was cleared for any spinal injury after a precautionary check up at the hospital post match,” the Bulldogs said.

“He will undertake mandatory concussion protocols to return to play.”

Casey struggled to adapt to the wet conditions on debut but could yet have another chance to prove himself as Corey Allan, the man he replaced in the starting side, will be sidelined for around a month with a groin injury.

Barnstorming forward Tevita Pangai will miss the Rabbitohs game after rupturing a muscle near his Achilles tendon in the loss to Cronulla.

He is on track to return the following week against Gold Coast.

“Scans showed a rupture to the plantaris tendon which lies adjacent to the achilles,” the Bulldogs said.

“Pangai Junior will resume running when pain settles.”

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