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Renouf: How Walters will fix Broncos' many problems

When Kevin Walters walks into Broncos headquarters for the first time as head coach it will be as a winner.

He will look at the six premierships in the foyer - he played a key role as a player in five of them - and he will know the culture, passion and pride in being a Bronco that goes into winning grand finals. He’s lived it.

That is why there is plenty for him to fix at the club, and it all starts with the culture that made it great.

Kevin has made it clear the Broncos and winning go hand in glove. He'll restore that culture but the players need to come along for the ride with him.

I sent an apology to Broncos supporters on my social media after the club took out its first wooden spoon because of what I saw unfold at the end of what was a terrible year.

Matt Middleton is a club stalwart who has worked at the Broncos since I was there and he does anything and everything around the team. I saw him on some TV vision picking up all the wooden spoons that had been thrown on the training field and that hurt me a lot.

The club should have made the players pick them up.

The night the Broncos lost to the Cowboys in the final round they celebrated a  "gender reveal" for the third child of Darius Boyd that’s on the way.

What annoyed me the most though was the way they were jumping around, laughing and yahooing after such a humiliating end to the season. That is when you get in the sheds immediately and face each other together as a unit.

Moments after the Broncos finished with the wooden spoon, teammates swamp Darius Boyd after his on-field gender reveal for his third child on the way.
Moments after the Broncos finished with the wooden spoon, teammates swamp Darius Boyd after his on-field gender reveal for his third child on the way. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

You win together and celebrate, but when you lose and get the wooden spoon you don’t carry on like you’ve just won the grand final. You should be hurting, and hurting together.

Those two examples of bad culture are what Kevin will fix. He will drill that into them.

He has already spoken about the unity and winning culture he will bring back to the club and a big part of that is accountability, pride in the jersey and realising when you are a Bronco it stands for something greater than yourself.

It is all about wanting to play for each other, enjoying your footy and winning.

When Kevin talks on this subject, the players will listen.

I guarantee the Broncos will win more games than they lose next year. They can return to finals football at the very least.

It will be interesting to see who Kevin brings in as his coaching team and I hope he gets a good say in it.

It wouldn’t hurt to recruit some experienced representative players in key positions but the squad is there to do the job.

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Anthony Milford has played his best football when Kevin has been in his ear as Wayne Bennett’s assistant. There is real respect there.

I expect Milford to lift for the coach next year and return to the form he showed in 2015. Kevin really is the "Milford whisperer" in that regard.

I was a bit the same. The two coaches I listened to in my career were Bennett obviously, and Bobby Fulton when I played for Australia.

Kevin will also be really good for young Tom Dearden. Like I have been saying for a while, he will get Tom to back himself more and not be so careful. He can be Brisbane’s long-term half.

Corey Oates will return to his best after he gets over the injuries he’s had and I expect Joe Ofahengaue also to lift.

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Both of them have been coached by Kevin at Origin level and they know he has a high regard for what they can bring to the table.

I expect Herbie Farnworth to continue his rapid rise and I am also confident Kevin can sort out Tevita Pangai jnr. I think Tevita needs to have  a chat to a couple of the club’s great old forwards.

Someone like Shane Webcke would be good for him. He played hard but fair. There was no rubbish in his game. Tevita needs to drop that nonsense and he can be world beater.

The Broncos Old Boys will be there for Kevin but it is not about us. I am not expecting to be a part of anything. We all just want the club to succeed. If Kevin asks, we will be there.

Kevin always gave 100% as a player and he was tough. He is mentally strong. He’s had to overcome a lot of hardships at various stages of his life and that has forged a stronger character than some people realise.

They see his affable persona, the passion and the emotion but there is a real drive in Kevin.

He is also really good one-on-one. He wants what is best for the club and the players. He has that in his heart and he will be speaking individually to each player about what he expects.

That Broncos emblem is powerful just because of what it means. It stands for success. A lot of these boys haven’t experienced it but Kevin has and he will help them understand how to achieve it.

 

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