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Walters sailing into Storm, no rush on Walsh

Brisbane coach Kevin Walters say he won't push for an early Reece Walsh return as the fullback's replacement prepares for a reunion of sorts in Melbourne.

Walsh sustained a facial fracture in the Broncos' 34-12 round-three NRL loss to Penrith.

The club subsequently said the representative fullback would miss between four and six weeks. 

But Walsh did not require surgery and is a noted quick healer and he has been training at Red Hill in custom headgear.

Ahead of Thursday's clash with the Storm in Melbourne, Walters wouldn't commit to a round-six return against cross-town rivals the Dolphins, at least a week earlier than predicted. 

"When Reece is ready he'll play again; that's not up to me, that's up to our medical staff," he said.

In his place Tristan Sailor has made a case for retention, the fullback bringing a different package to the table in the No.1.

"He's a very good, very smart footballer," Walters said.

"Different to Reece, he brings a different mentality and was great defensively for us (against the Cowboys last week). 

"The good teams need those players in their side."

Sailor will renew an old rivalry with counterpart Ryan Papenhuyzen after the duo faced off against each other as juniors in Sydney.

"I am the same age as Paps. We have come through together and versing each other in touch and footy all the way through," Sailor said.

"Back in school touch from under 15s he played for CIS (Combined Independent Schools) and I played for CCC (Combined Catholic Colleges). Even then you could see how good he was.

"It is really good to see him bounce back from all the adversity he has had. I am really excited to verse him again. He is a livewire."

Brisbane snapped a 14-game losing streak in a 26-0 semi-final romp last year but haven't beaten the Storm in Melbourne for eight years.

Melbourne have won 40 of their 55 clashes, with one draw, since their 1998 inception.

"You have to say we are traditional rivals because when the club was formed in 1998 it was started by John Ribot, Glenn Lazarus and Chris Johns, so it had that Broncos element from day one," Storm general manager of football Frank Ponissi told AAP.

"Of course our coach Craig Bellamy came from the Broncos and for years and years we had a lot of players from Queensland with the big three of Cameron (Smith), Cooper Cronk and Billy (Slater). 

"Some of them grew up supporting the Broncos. Cameron Munster is another one now."

Ben Te Kura, at 205cm, will become the tallest NRL player when he debuts for Brisbane while Melbourne are poised to welcome back key trio Christian Welch (concussion), Jahrome Hughes (suspension) and Munster (groin).

Joel Gould and Murray Wenzel - AAP


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