Rhys Walsh has cemented status as public enemy No 1 in NSW after headbutting Queensland star Jerome Luai during a resounding win in Origin II – and he even had a farewell celebration!
Reece Walsh has cemented his status as public enemy No 1 in NSW as the young fullback injured the Blues during Game II as he celebrated being sent off after headbutting Jerome Lui.
Reece Walsh seemingly has no problem with his status as public enemy No 1 after adding fuel to the fire in his stoush with the Blues in New South Wales.
The Maroons young gun was sent off in chaos during his side’s crushing end to their arch-rivals on Wednesday night, with video replays showing him headbutting Jerome Luay in the melee on the pitch.
He was seen making a ‘keep talking’ gesture with his hand and waving goodbye to Josh Addo-Kar after the winger was sent off for punching him before the headbutt.
But Walsh didn’t last long on the pitch either and was seen crowding and celebrating his departure.
Walsh, making his series debut this year, is keen to spark a rivalry with NSW and angered his Blues fans after Queensland’s Game I win in Adelaide.
Reece Walsh upped his status as public enemy No 1 in NSW on Wednesday night
He hinted at ‘sucking’ the Blues players and later savaged them ‘thinking they own rugby league’.
‘They used to come all the time [for me],’ he said after Game I. ‘They think they’re better than everyone in blue. They think they own the game.’
The night ended with a resounding 32-6 scoreline in Queensland’s favor as the Maroons retained State of Origin bragging rights in Brisbane.
The Blues had plenty of chances to build an early lead in front of 52,433 at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday when they lost center Tom Trbojevic to injury in the third minute.
But the Maroons’ defense held strong until their clinical offense hit top gear, with coach Billy Slater’s men now eyeing a first Origin clean sweep since 2010 at a dead-rubber in Sydney.
The Blues enjoyed 64 per cent territory but paid the price for a lack of polish as the Maroons ran in six tries to one.
Captain Daley Cherry-Evans produced the turning moment of the match, chasing down a flying Stephen Crichton then making a break of his own which led to the Maroons’ second try.
Valentine Holmes scored twice to take his Origin tally to 13 – enough for third on the all-time Origin list – fullback Reece Walsh was an ever-present danger and Lindsay Collins produced another barnstormer to claim man of the match.
There was drama late on though when Walsh and Jerome Lui were sent off for head-butting each other and Josh Addo-Kar was sin-binned for a swinging hand on the Maroons fullback.
The Blues’ script flipped after just three minutes when center Trbojevic left the game with a pectoral injury.
Versatile backrower Cameron Murray was left on the bench and hooker Damien Cook was deployed in an unfamiliar position instead.
The South Sydney rake, used on the left with Stephen Crichton shifting to the right, was heavily involved but often for all the wrong reasons.
Despite the Blues’ numbers twice the game broke in its end, when Jeremiah Nanai stepped up to Cook for the first line break.
Both of Holmes’s efforts came in his corner, the first a grounded high ball he tiptoed and the second a collected half-volley after calming down a diving effort.
Winger Murray Toulagi then repeated his game-one defensive heroics, this time holding Crichton off the line.
After Harry Grant made a run at the last tackle he broke inside, Hamiso Tabuai-Fido running onto a fortunate bounce for his fourth try in three Origin starts.
Eventually the Blues found an answer, blowing Queensland’s defense into broken play.
But it was a fleeting moment of respite, as Walsh hit Cook on the right-hand side for another try past Xavier Coates before Nanai put the final nail in the coffin.
Payne Haas was immense from a beating side while Mitch Moses looked dangerous as he tried to fill the shoes of the injured Nathan Cleary as Blues halfback, but had little impact beyond that.
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