Broncos pick triggers QLD Origin shock
As the Brisbane Broncos offer Kevin Walters the club's head coaching role, attention will turn to the Queensland Origin head coaching job with three reported to be in the running.
NRL.com reported on Monday night that Walters had been told he was the club's choice for head coach ahead of former North Queensland Cowboys coach Paul Green, with the Courier Mail reporting it was a two-year deal for $500,000 a season.
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But while the six-time premiership winner and Broncos legend will have his work cut out for him turning the club from 2020 wooden spooners into premiership threats, Queensland Rugby League chairman Bruce Hatcher believes Walters will vacate the Origin role.
Although current Maroons captain Daly Cherry-Evans told AAP he would want Walters to take on both roles, it appears unlikely.
While Green was expected to either get the Broncos role or Maroons job, the pool has increased with Wayne Bennett and now Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga reportedly in the running for the role.
Speaking to the Courier Mail, Hatcher said Meninga had been discussed, with his record of 20 victories in 30 games and eight straight series wins for Queensland in the Origin arena.
However, there could be an issue for the Kangaroos coach, with the general rule that the Australian coach can't coach a state for fear of conflict of interest.
"Mal would certainly know the job well, he has done it all for the Maroons," Hatcher said.
"We're going through a process of what we are going to do if we lose Kevin. We would consult Kevin, but we can't pull the trigger until we hear something formally from the Broncos on whether they are going with Kevin or Paul Green."
If Walters is leaving the Maroons job, the issue then becomes when it happens.
On Channel 9's 100% Footy Paul Gallen said "he's got to start tomorrow", while Phil Gould said "they'll be on holidays" with a tip pre-season training won't start until January.
But Gould added he hoped Walters would be the right man for the Broncos but warned him to "be careful what you wish for" and said "I would die if this ends in tears for him".
"He's always had this ambition to coach because it's in his blood rugby league," Gould said. "He's been around to a few clubs and a few systems offering up his services as assistant coach but he's always had this desire to be a head coach that hasn't come until now. If he could get the perfect job it would be at the Broncos because that's where his heart is.
"So you've got a coach who has always wanted to be a head coach, he's got great ambition for it, he's got great history and DNA with the club, he's going to get a groundswell of support from all the ex players who have been disenchanted and disenfranchised with the club because of decisions they've made so you can understand the decision. If it's not Kevin Walters who is it and who else can provide that for them? No one."
Already Walters has former players behind him.
"Kevin will be a godsend for the Broncos," Broncos Old Boys chairman Chris Johns told NRL.com.
"I think it should have happened two years ago but finally commonsense has prevailed and he will prove all the doubters wrong.
"Those of us who know what he can do, will be vindicated.
"The Broncos can be proud, because Kevin is exactly what the club and the players need. History will report on what a good decision this is."
This comes after speculation that Walters only won the job after Craig Bellamy had agreed to join the club as a coaching director from the 2022 season, a claim the Melbourne Storm coach has denied.
"I responded the other day that I'm not making any decision and I ain't going to be talking about it until after the finals but I can tell you right here right now I haven't agreed to nothing anywhere," Bellamy said after the Storm's loss to the Dragons on Sunday.
On Fox League's NRL 360 Daily Telegraph columnist Phil Rothfield said the Broncos "had an indication that they are very close to securing a deal with Craig".
"They were even hoping that it might be announced on Wednesday in a package with Kevvie Walters. That was a silly thing to hope because Craig has given his word to Matt Tripp, the chairman of the Storm that he will not commit to anything until they come face to face and that hasn't been able to happen because Matt Tripp has been stuck in Victoria."
NRL 360 host Paul Kent responded saying: "What sort of deluded world to the Broncos board live in that they think Craig Bellamy on the Wednesday of the first week of finals would announce he's going to Brisbane?"
It comes as Tripp himself rubbished the speculation on Melbourne's SEN on Monday and said "it's the same playbook we cop every year on the doorstep of finals".
"(I'm) 100 per cent confident it's not the case. Three years ago to the day they (The Daily Telegraph) wrote an almost identical story - Craig Bellamy has signed with the Broncos was the story and history tells us it has proven to be incorrect.
"There have been no decisions made, but I'd be really confident that discussions will lead to Craig being a part of the Melbourne Storm in 2022 and beyond."
Originally published as Broncos pick triggers QLD Origin shock