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Ezra Mam looking to find his voice at Brisbane amidst the noise around Reece Walsh

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Brisbane’s ability to dictate field position through their kicking game is high on Kevin Walters’ agenda this pre-season, as the Broncos look to utilise Reece Walsh’s boot from fullback to compliment Adam Reynolds in the halves.

“It’s definitely good having Reece there being a left-footed kicker on the left side on the field,” five-eighth hopeful Ezra Mam said.

“He has more time to get that strike, so we have a little chat about who is kicking and in what areas, depending on what sort of defensive systems we’re up against.”

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Walsh will be a new addition to Brisbane’s backline, with the youngster returning to Red Hill after a two-year spell with the New Zealand Warriors.  

Mainly under Nathan Brown’s tutelage, Walsh announced himself as an exciting talent with seemingly unlimited potential in attack having provided 12 try assists last year and 11 in 2021.  

He kicked in all but one of his 22 appearances for the Warriors last season, while showcasing his range by forcing nine dropouts with his short kicking game close to the line.

Walters will be looking to take advantage of this skill set by reducing the kicking responsibilities of Mam, with the fullback’s left boot opening up the whole of the field for the Broncos to exploit. 

In Mam’s case, it appears as though the five-eighth slot is set to be based around a run-first mentality, which will be similar to how Reynolds used to operate with Cody Walker at Souths.

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However, Brisbane’s Rookie of the Year endured a tough closing spell in the side with the Broncos winning just one of their final seven matches.

Mam was dropped after struggling in defence but believes some extra muscle accrued during a productive off-season will have him primed to beat out new recruit Jock Madden for the No.6 jersey.

“Staying consistent with my reads and being able to take the collision [is important],” he explained.

“I’ve done a lot in the off-season to get my weight up and that’s probably something that’s going to help me by carrying more muscle mass.”

Mam will be playing five kilograms heavier than he did last season, as he closes in on the 90kg mark.

“I’m sitting around 87kg’s now and I was playing the season at 82kg,” he said.  

“I’m going to try and do what I did last year and improve on that. I’ve got another pre-season under my belt and I’m doing much better this pre-season than I was last year.

“The stats showed we came back a bit fitter with our fitness results, so it’s good to see the boys doing a bit of hard work off the field.”

Mam and Madden are taking it in turns to work in the halves in training so far to help foster combinations with Reynolds. Yet Mam – who provided seven assists and scored six tries of his own in 13 appearances last season – is, of course, keen on lining up alongside the little general for round one.

MORE: Adam Reynolds confident of Brisbane fightback following disastrous end to 2022

“The competition is definitely healthy for the side,” he said.

“It’d be good to get the jersey and hopefully try and continue from last year.”

In order to do so, the teenager must come out of his shell and start relaying messages to his teammates about what he wants from them while entrusted in a key position.

Making his voice heard isn’t something that comes naturally to him, but Mam admits he’s been getting some guidance from Reynolds on the matter as he bids to cement himself in the starting side.

“I get the calls right but I’m just not loud enough, so that’s something I’ve got to learn this pre-season,” he said.

A man who has no such issues in that department is Walsh, with the Queenslander’s voice a constant presence out on the pitch.

“Reece has got a bit mouth on him, so it’s good to have him on the field with all of that energy,” Mam smiled.

“That’s good for us and will help us in the long run with his communication…He’s always talking and is a little pain on and off the field, so he’ll be good for the side.”


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