Shattered Walters confronts Maroons future

 

A SHATTERED Kevin Walters declared he will not quit the Maroons in the wake of Queensland's second consecutive series defeat to NSW.

Walters went into the Origin decider at Sydney's ANZ Stadium buffeted by speculation he could walk away from the Maroons next year to take up a possible job at the Titans if Garth Brennan is sacked in the coming weeks.

But Walters says the Maroons' latest failure will not herald his demise, insisting he is determined to honour his contract with the Queensland Rugby League in 2020.

"I'll be back next year," Walters said.

"I'm really proud of these guys and I will be back next year, we made some really progress and I want to be a part of it moving forward.

"I've got no regrets, we'll keep moving forward.

"The sun will come up and it will shine on Queensland."

A shattered Kevin Walters says he’ll be back for the Maroons next year. Picture: Adam Head
A shattered Kevin Walters says he’ll be back for the Maroons next year. Picture: Adam Head

 

Walters has blooded a staggering 21 players during his four campaigns in charge headed by Cameron Munster, Corey Norman and Ethan Lowe, who were all outstanding last night in their crushing 26-20 loss.

The Maroons looked set to pull off another miracle comeback when they clawed their way back from 20-8 to set-up the prospect of extra-time before James Tedesco broke Walters' heart.

"It does hurt," he said.

"To fight back in the game the way we did, it was brave.

"I knew that fight was in them and to be beaten in the last 30 seconds is disappointing.

"For the whole game, we were great. The last 10 minute period we picked up tries through sheer desire, but it makes it sour when you don't win."

 

Corey Norman impressed on debut for Queensland. Picture: Adam Head
Corey Norman impressed on debut for Queensland. Picture: Adam Head

 

Of the performance of Lowe, who landed a pressure conversion to level scores at 20-all in his Origin debut, Walters said: "He was really good. We didn't have a bad player, all the guys put their hand up.

"Munster was really good, too. He likes that fullback position and at this level of football, he is great there. A lot of people questioned his fitness, but that can be put to bed and his defence was outstanding as well.

"All the guys on debut did their job and hats off to the other side - they won the series."

 

Ethan Lowe was superb on debut for the Maroons. Picture: Getty Images
Ethan Lowe was superb on debut for the Maroons. Picture: Getty Images

 

NSW coach Brad Fittler lauded the brilliance of Tedesco and the spirit of the Queensland side headlined by Lowe.

"It was just awesome," Fittler said.

"When you win and there's 30 seconds to go, you don't have to worry about them coming back.

"We had a theme all week about finishing fast, we spoke about finishing fast and Mitchell Pearce gave it to our fastest blokes and we finished with a try.

"I applaud Mitch for throwing that pass (to Blake Ferguson for Tedesco's matchwinner).

"It was a fantastic moment, Queensland have done that a lot of times to us and it was nice to get one back.

"Ethan Lowe … I have to congratulate him, he was outstanding. I was ready for us to go to extra-time.

"James Tedesco plays the big games so well. He took some tough runs and the work he does off the ball, the fullback job is so difficult, you have to be so fit and he has that bit extra."