NRL Grand Final 2023: Kevin Walters defends Reece Walsh after altercation with ‘jealous’ fan, Peter V’landys weighs in

At the NRL’s Fan Fest in Sydney on Friday ahead of the NRL Grand Final, a young fan in a Panthers jumper supposedly made a comment to Walsh that the 21-year-old didn’t take kindly to.

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The video on social media does not show what was initially said, but it has been alleged by witnesses a fan called out to Walsh: “Moses Leota will take your head off this weekend.”

Leota, an imposing prop, will be in the Penrith team aiming for a rare NRL three-peat in Sunday’s Grand Final against Walsh’s Brisbane Broncos.

Rather than ignore the comment, Walsh couldn’t resist responding.

“I’ll take your mum’s,” Walsh is clearly heard saying in a video that has been widely circulated on social media.

He then quickly walks away surrounded by teammates and what looks like security.

Walters laughed off the incident and defended Walsh, saying it’s not easy behind the next poster boy for the NRL.

“It’s difficult for Walshy,” Walters said on Triple M on Friday.

“The amount of people who love him or hate him … we’re in a bit of foreign territory here in NSW, so there are people jealous of Reece because of the way he plays, his looks and all those things.

“That’s something he’s going to have to get on top of for the rest of his career.

“You can’t take the Nerang out of the Nerang boy!”

But ARLC chairman Peter V’landys said Walsh has “got to do better” in those types of situations.

“Look, he’s still a very young man and he needs a bit of maturity. There’s no doubt about that,” V’landys said on 2GB.

“He’s under a lot of pressure, too. He’s got high expectation from everybody.

“Just on the fan day — I was actually there and he got the loudest cheer. He’s a rock star in the game.

“But he’s got to do better than that and I’m sure he will.

“In saying that, we don’t know the facts, so I don’t want to comment any further, other than (saying) I hope he’s learned from it.”

It’s understood a complaint has been lodged with the NRL over the video.

“The NRL Integrity Unit is aware of the matter,” an NRL spokesman told The Daily Telegraph.

More footage of the incident is reportedly being sought in the type of incident the NRL really doesn’t need just two days out from its showpiece event.

While the youngster that appears to be the subject of Walsh’s crass comment reacts with a shocked smile and a laugh on the video, a witness said he was upset in the aftermath.

“(The) young kid was visibly upset and shaken,” a witness told the Telegraph.

“I have sent the video to the NRL who have forwarded to the integrity unit for further investigation.”

Walsh has quickly emerged as one of the biggest names in the game during a terrific run with the Broncos and Queensland, but he has had his issues with discipline.

This incident comes exactly three months since Walsh was suspended for three games for contrary conduct and forced out of State of Origin III for Queensland.

An on-field microphone picked up the Broncos fullback launching an expletive-laden spray over a penalty during Brisbane’s 18-12 loss to the Titans on 25 June.

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