Blues tip Walters to get Queensland gig
Blues captain Paul Gallen and coach Laurie Daley says while they aren't losing sleep over who Queensland eventually appoint to replace Mal Meninga as head coach, Maroons legend and Broncos assistant Kevin Walters will probably get the gig.
Neither would be drawn into the to-ing and fro-ing that followed Cowboys coach and Queensland Rugby League preferred candidate Paul Green ruling himself out, and the pair said no matter what happened the Maroons would end up with a figurehead the players would want to play for.
Despite the QRL having previously overlooked Walters as not yet having enough coaching experience, Gallen expected the former Raiders and Broncos premiership-winner to jump at the chance if it was presented.
"It probably does feel a little bit [strange to go back to Walters] but that's just the way it is, that's life these days," Gallen said.
"All the players probably want Kevvie and I suppose the immediate staff involved but you've got a hierarchy above that, you've got Queensland Rugby League who have to ultimately make the decision and at the end of the day they're – along with the coach – held responsible for that decision and hopefully we win next year and they can start arguing again over it.
"I can understand why they're looking at all options. If it's a personal goal of Kevvie's to do it and he gets offered the job I don't see why he shouldn't take it."
Gallen said while he wasn't at all concerned who ended up with the job it did have a big influence over a squad – but he added Queensland's culture was so strong they were in a good position no matter what.
"They've got such a good culture up there, as we do, you want to play for the jumper so bad and want to do your best for the jumper and you need a head figure there who you want to play for," he said.
"We've certainly got that here with Laurie [Daley] and they've had that with Mal and I'm sure Walters or whoever they pick they're going to want to play for. But everyone they talk about, they're legends of the game and legends of the Origin arena so the players are going to want to play for the coach there's no doubt about that."
Gallen added Green had made the best decision for the Cowboys by turning down the role at this stage.
"He's probably got some personal goals he wants to achieve and that's probably one of them but he's pulled out of the race now which has probably been the best decision for his club. I'm sure Walters will get it to be honest."
Daley, who won a premiership alongside Walters at Canberra in 1989, said it would be a huge drain for a club coach to take on the Origin duties as well and that there was no reason Walters shouldn't take the job if it was eventually offered to him.
"Kevvie is a mate of mine and I would have loved to have seen him get the job first up, and I was a little bit disappointed for him," Daley said.
"Hopefully there's an opportunity for him now. He understands Origin and knows how to get the best out of his players and he's very well respected so I think if they go with Kevvie it would be a good choice by them.
"I spoke to him when it first happened and then I haven't spoken to him since. He was disappointed but again I'm sure if he was asked to do it he'd grab it and do a fantastic job at it.
"I know how much he wanted to do it. If he gets the opportunity to do it again I'm sure he'll grab it with both hands.
"They're pretty lucky they've got a bloke like that waiting in the wings if they want him because he's been a part of the set up and he knows how to operate at Origin level as a player and as an assistant. If they go with a bloke like Kevvie they'll be no major disruptions which I think would be great for them."