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Reece lightening his intensity: How Walsh is learning from foul-mouthed referee rant ban

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15th August, 2023

Brisbane fullback Reece Walsh has credited a sports psychologist who has previously assisted NRL and AFL stars for helping him find balance, composure and form.

After his side’s 54-10 win over Parramatta last Friday night, the 21-year-old Broncos whiz kid gave his first interview since his three-match suspension for contrary conduct in June.

Jacqui Louder is a sports and exercise psychologist with NRL side Melbourne and the Collingwood AFL club.

Storm’s self-confessed larrikin and star No.6 Cameron Munster has credited Louder for helping him get his life in order off the field, while prop and captain Christian Welch has also detailed the psychologist’s expertise while assisting him with his recovery from multiple injuries.

Walsh was suspended after a foul-mouthed rant in the 18-12 loss to Gold Coast in round 17, in which he gave teammate Pat Carrigan a spray and also had a running battle with referee Chris Butler. 

The NRL judiciary came down hard on him and since then Walsh has focused on his football and, with Louder’s help, has channelled his emotions in a more positive way.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 25: Reece Walsh of the Broncos passes the ball during the round 17 NRL match between Brisbane Broncos and Gold Coast Titans at Suncorp Stadium on June 25, 2023 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Reece Walsh. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

“I am seeing a lady outside the club named Jacqui and she has been massive for me,” Walsh said.


“She has put strategies around (handling) things that make me frustrated on the field. I am a pretty energised person. I get happy easy. I love playing footy and winning.

“Any chance I get to bring some energy in good parts of the game I am going to do. There are also parts that frustrate me.

“I can feel myself wanting to express myself but I am also pulling myself back. It is something I am really working on and will continue to work on.”

Walsh said captain Adam Reynolds and senior leaders at the club had helped him but added Louder had a way of helping him find an equilibrium.

“When I talk to her I feel calm. She says the right things,” he said.

Walsh said he had learned valuable lessons from his suspension. “I was disappointed in myself. It was a good reflection time about the way I talk to teammates and when to pull it back in and be calmer,” he said.


“When you get in trouble, you are letting your teammates down. There were three weeks where I sat on the sidelines. I let the club down.

“I don’t want that stuff to happen. I want to learn from it. I am still young but in an important role in the team … and I have to have a steady head. It is something I am working on.”

There are positive signs for the second-placed Broncos that Walsh is a quick learner. 

Against the Eels he was his usual outgoing and explosive self, but found a way to harness his emotions.

“There were moments out there where the boys were saying, ‘Calm, slow your brain because the team needs you here’. It is at the forefront of my mind,” he said.

“I have to give credit to the leaders in the team … they slow me down and get me back to being a smart footballer and trying to take the emotion out of it.”