‘I’m the answer’: Kevvie delivers irresistible Broncos pitch
Brisbane legend Kevin Walters has spoken of his heartache at the collapse of the Broncos and is adamant his intimate knowledge of the club can reprise the glory days at Red Hill.
Brisbane's board will begin the search for their next coach from Monday and Walters opened up to New Corp Australia about his personal devastation at the freefall of a Broncos club with whom he won five premierships.
Broncos hierarchy will be inundated with job applications in the coming weeks, but Walters and premiership-winning Cowboys coach Paul Green are two high-profile candidates eyeing off the most prestigious position in the NRL.
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Broncos chairman Karl Morris confirmed Walters and Green will be seriously considered to succeed Anthony Seibold in 2021.
Walters, a 241-game Brisbane icon who played 12 seasons at the club, says the incessant ridiculing of the Broncos' brand has only steeled his desire to want to make a difference at Queensland's sporting flagship.
"I'm over everyone bagging the Broncos," Queensland Origin coach Walters said.
"It's breaking my heart.
"I go to Sydney for media work with Fox Sports and I listen to people in the streets making a mockery of the club.
"They are having a field day with the club I love.
"I don't like seeing the Broncos become a laughing stock. It upsets me. This is not the club we are."
For that reason, Walters will formally apply for the Broncos job when Brisbane seek submissions of interest in the coming weeks.
Walters accepts he is unproven as an NRL head coach.
There are concerns whether the former Broncos five-eighth can drive an NRL system, with critics pointing to his two seasons in 2009-10 with French club Catalans, where he won 21 of 57 matches for a 37 per cent success rate.
But Walters did have some success in Super League, steering Catalans to the grand-final qualifier in 2009 before a semi-final appearance the following year in the Challenge Cup around the time of his dad's death in August 2010.
Walters also became the first coach to take the Ipswich Jets to their maiden minor premiership in 2008. Almost a decade later, in 2016-17, he delivered back-to-back Origin titles with Queensland after a daunting succession to Maroons super coach Mal Meninga.
"I would love to coach at the Broncos, absolutely," he said.
"I have some contractual obligations with the Queensland Rugby League and I will be coaching State of Origin this November which I am totally committed to. I love the Origin job. I am contracted to the QRL next year but Bruce Hatcher (QRL chairman) has said he wouldn't stand in my way.
"People have criticised my record (at Catalans). In the first year in France, we made a preliminary final and the second year we made a Challenge Cup semi.
"I then went to the Melbourne Storm as an assistant to Craig Bellamy and came back to the Broncos with Wayne (Bennett) in 2015. That year we made the grand final and were one tackle away from winning the premiership.
"I won premierships as a player and my time in coaching has been successful. I won the minor premiership at the Ipswich Jets, the first time the club has done it.
"I've also won two titles with the Queensland State of Origin team, so for anyone to question my ability as a coach is disappointing."
Walters believes he has the rapport with several Broncos players to harmonise the club if he was given his big break in the NRL next season.
"I can get the players back to their best form," he said.
"Anthony Milford played his best football under Wayne and myself because we understood how to connect with him.
"I think I'm the answer to turn things around because I understand the Broncos, I understand the culture of the club and I am a winner. I have a history of winning premierships.
"I'm like any Broncos fan or club legend, we are all hurting. We need to get the club back on its feet."
Former Broncos skipper Justin Hodges believes Walters can succeed at Red Hill.
"'Kevvie' has worked under the greatest coaches in Wayne and Craig Bellamy so I think it's his time," Hodge said.
"He has kept working at it and it would be unbelievable to see him at the club where he deserves to be.
"Kevvie will bring the happiness back to Red Hill.
"The best part of football is the enjoyment and having fun with your mates and having that pride in your jersey.
"Having a guy like Kevvie is all about that. It's time to give him a shot and hopefully he can bring it back to where the club needs to be.
"Every Broncos fan and supporter wants to see the club doing well again."
Originally published as 'I'm the answer': Kevvie delivers irresistible Broncos pitch