The New Zealand Warriors have told the Dolphins and any other club that may be interested in Reece Walsh, the gun fullback is going nowhere in 2023.
Walsh is under contract until the end of 2023. However that is not stopping suggestions he could be lured away. It is no surprise that the Dolphins are keen as Wayne Bennett has lots of slots to fill on his roster.
Such a move would allow Walsh to return to Queensland and is sure to be tempting. However the Warriors have been angered by the suggestion Walsh and his agent are angling for a move.
Dolphins chasing Walsh
Speaking on NRL360, Daily Telegraph journalist Phil Rothfield talked up a move to Redcliffe. It seems to be the norm these days that players are linked with early exits despite being under contract.
The same is happening with Melbourne Storm star Cameron Munster, who is also a Dolphins target. Warriors CEO Cameron George is fuming and says everyone should back off 19-year-old Walsh.
“Making comments like that (breaking contracts) whether it is the media, Dolphins or whoever, it is clearly breaching the rules to state an intent to break a contract,” George told stuff.co.nz.
“Reece is an integral part of our team and our footy club. We really love having him at this club and he loves it here. I think everyone should back off him. He is under contract and that is in a nutshell. Give the kid a break and stop trying to use him as a negotiation tool.”
The Dolphins are desperate for marquee players as they prepare to enter the NRL in 2023. They have this week missed out on star fullback Kalyn Ponga who has committed to Newcastle.
Warriors stand firm
That has kicked off suggestions the Dolphins will ramp up their pursuit of Walsh. It has also been suggested that the Dolphins could try to exploit a ‘welfare’ clause in his contract.
It opens up the possibility of a route out of the Warriors. But again George has moved quickly to shut that down.
“His manager is such a professional operator and numerous times he has said that they are not there to abuse that clause,” he added. “We all understand the parameters of that discussion. But it was one that was very important for them and us for a young person like Reece at the time he signed for the club.
“If others want to try and exploit that, that is disrespectful to Reece and his family.”