Brisbane Broncos legend Steve Renouf insists Kevin Walters’ return as an assistant coach will benefit both that club and the Queensland Maroons.
Walters was back at Broncos training last week to start his third stint as an assistant to Wayne Bennett - a move that has the support of the Queensland Rugby League.
They have a history of success together that started when Bennett brought Walters to the Broncos from Canberra as a player in 1990.
They won five premierships together as coach and player at Brisbane while Bennett also won five of his seven series as coach of the Maroons. Walters was in the victorious 1998 Queensland outfit.
It was Bennett who first appointed Walters as an assistant coach at Brisbane, and subsequently sacked him in 2005. Walters returned in 2015 as an assistant to help the Broncos reach the grand final before concentrating solely on the Maroons last year.
Renouf told NRL.com that having Bennett by the Maroons coach’s side around Origin time would give Queensland a huge boost as they target a third consecutive series win under Walters.
“He has got his mentor there and he will be talking to Wayne during that Origin period,” Renouf said.
“Kevvie has done well in his own right already, but he will have a mastermind there to bounce ideas off and that is only going to make Queensland stronger. Kevvie is his own man but he will take on board what he wants.
“He is not too proud to take advice, as Wayne did himself back in the day with his own mentors.
“He listened to guys like Jack Gibson and Ron Massey and when we played at the Broncos they would come, at Wayne’s invitation, to talk to us at breakfast or dinner at our hotel when we would go to Sydney.”
Renouf said a “double whammy” would flow from Walters working with Broncos five-eighth Anthony Milford.
The flashy No.6 has already made his Origin debut for Queensland and appears to have a stellar career for both the Broncos and Maroons ahead of him.
“For guys like Anthony Milford, playing in Kevvie’s old position, it is going to be a massive boost for him,” Renouf said.
“They have to get Anthony directing the play a bit more for the Broncos, because he is more of a runner. That is where Kevvie’s knowledge is going to be very beneficial.
“He will help him direct the team, but he won’t stifle his running game and the way he plays what is in front of him, which is just so valuable.
“There are going to be a handful of Broncos in that Queensland squad next year again and Kevvie is not just going to be observing them but he will be coaching them week-in and week-out. As an assistant coach it keeps his mind on the game from day-to-day, and in a hands-on way.
“Kevvie approached Wayne to return and is great that Wayne has welcomed him back. It is smart of the QRL to sanction it as well … a good move all round. It is killing two birds with one stone.”
When announcing Walters extension as Maroons coach until the end of 2020, QRL chairman Bruce Hatcher echoed the sentiments expressed by Renouf.
"Kevin's great passion is coaching, and as such, we support his desire to return to the NRL as an assistant coach with the Broncos,” Hatcher said at the time.
“We're always looking to work with the NRL clubs and ensure the best outcome for rugby league in Queensland, and in this particular instance, we believe we have done just that. Kevin will be a great asset for both the Maroons and the Broncos in 2018."