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Renouf: Why it's time for Kevin Walters to coach Broncos

It is Kevin Walters's time to coach Brisbane. With the club about to make a vital decision which will affect its future for years, the board must make the call they should have made two years ago.

Walters can coach and he has done his apprenticeship at all levels except as an NRL head coach. Kevin has been an assistant to Wayne Bennett and Craig Bellamy, the two best coaches of the modern era.

When Walters was under Bennett most recently the two halves at the time – Anthony Milford and Ben Hunt – were playing their career-best football.

Both of them have spoken about Kevin’s positive influence. I remember Hunt did an interview where he explained how Walters had taken his passing game and decision making to the next level.

Bennett was a master at getting his players to show their skill and express themselves on the field and that is the kind of NRL coach Walters will be.

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As a man manager he will get the best out of this young Broncos team and give the players self-belief.

He also has that technical knowledge and understands successful systems, knowledge he got first hand when he was at the Storm.

Kevin knew as a player what to do and at the right time. That can be taught and he was one of the best with his decision making.

Walters wants what is best for the Broncos and he loves the club.

He will bring the players together and they will be happy. As a club legend and Broncos five-time premiership winner he will get their respect straight up.

Anthony Seibold played reserve grade for Brisbane but the Broncos have never had a legendary player of the club coach them. We’ve seen that work so well at Manly under Des Hasler and Bob Fulton and now at Canberra with Ricky Stuart.

It is not surprising really. Walters gets what Broncos culture is because he lived it and thrived in it.

Kevin has coached Catalans in Super League and took the Ipswich Jets to a grand final in 2008 on a shoestring budget so he understands what being a head coach is like.

He hasn’t received the credit he deserves for his work as head coach of the Maroons for four years.

He won two series and made sure Queensland was competitive in two narrow series losses during the biggest transition of key players in Origin history.

Kevin is a strong character too. He has missed out on head coaching roles before but it hasn’t changed his drive or his passion to make it. He has stayed true to himself.

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Some candidates have obviously been good at talking in interviews and convincing boards that they can do the job, but have failed when given the chance.

I hope the selection panel at the Broncos don’t go with the candidate with the best PowerPoint presentation.

The Broncos board got it wrong two years ago when they appointed Seibold and they should own that decision. Now it is all about getting it right this time around.

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I feel for Seibold and the team because the Broncos have had all sorts of dramas over the past two seasons and the pressure has been relentless.

I can’t wait for the review at the end of the season and it needs to be fully independent, undertaken on the whole club by an outside organisation.

If it is an internal review then that will be a disgrace.

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Seibold should not be the scapegoat for the failings of others in the football department and at board level.

Seibold had a bad year and there was a lot of dissatisfaction from within the team about his methods. What he wanted the team to do was just too complex. The proof is in the pudding, which ultimately is in the results on the field.

When Seibold left the club this week he was up front about that and he owned the team’s poor performances.

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The Broncos Old Boys have been accused of running agendas. I can speak for my former teammates and say our only agenda is to the see the club succeed.

Sure, I pushed for Walters to be the coach when Wayne Bennett left the club and I wrote a column for NRL.com at the time about it. I have always been up front and transparent about that and I stand by my opinion.

I am entitled to it and I believe the Broncos Old Boys, and particularly the ones that played in the club’s most successful era, are as well placed as anyone to know what a winning culture looks like at the club.

To appoint Paul Green as the next coach would be a mistake. He coaches in a rigid and intense way, apparently, and that is too similar to what the players have already experienced.

Green played for Brisbane but he was only at the club for a season and doesn’t understand what makes the Broncos tick like Walters.

Walters will relax the joint and allow the boys to enjoy playing their football.

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The whole city of Brisbane will get behind him and the players will too.

Walters wants what is best for the Broncos and he loves the club.

He is motivated to do the job for all the right seasons and he deserves his chance.

 

The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARL Commission, NRL clubs or state associations.