Kev breaks Bron­cos si­lence


The Courier-Mail - - FRONT PAGE - PAUL MAL­ONE

KEVIN Wal­ters won’t pur­sue an NRL coach­ing job in the im­me­di­ate fu­ture af­ter the dis­ap­point­ment of miss- ing out on the Bron­cos job. Speak­ing for the first time since the coach­ing saga, the Ma­roons coach says he has moved on and wants to fo­cus on win­ning the State of Ori­gin.

KEVIN Wal­ters has shelved his am­bi­tions to coach at NRL level af­ter his bid for the Bron­cos job ended in dis­ap­point­ment. Wal­ters will in­stead con­cen­trate on his role as Ma­roons coach, de­scrib­ing it as “the best job in the world”.

KEVIN Wal­ters says he will not hes­i­tate to blood more young for­wards to pro­vide the blunt force needed to wrest back State of Ori­gin supremacy next year.

Of Aus­tralia’s nine for­wards who played in last month’s Test loss in Auck­land, only two are Queens­lan­ders – Josh McGuire and Felise Kau­fusi.

Play­ers like Joe Ofa­hen­gaue and even young Bron­cos team­mates David Fi­fita and Jaydn Su’A would come into con­sid­er­a­tion if they can put con­vinc­ing form on the board early next sea­son.

Ofa­hen­gaue, 23, is clos­est of the three Bron­cos to an Ori­gin call-up, with 21-yearold Su’A mak­ing good strides be­fore break­ing an an­kle in July and Fi­fita, 18, im­press­ing with an 11-game NRL stint.

Wal­ters will en­sure Ofa­hen­gaue has cho­sen to be avail­able for Queens­land first rather than the Ton­gan team he could play for in the June rep­re­sen­ta­tive week­end.

“It’s a dis­cus­sion we will have with him but he was very close to se­lec­tion this year,’’ said Wal­ters, who leaves on Mon­day on a factfind­ing visit to two Bri­tish rugby union teams.

“We’d have no hes­i­ta­tion if the case is there for young play­ers. We brought Ka­lyn Ponga through this year and he was 20.

“If you are good enough you are old enough. Some of those guys have shown some strong glimpses of what they can do. The other two (Su’A and Fi­fita) will be in our Emerg­ing Ori­gin squad.

“We are putting a lot of work into them to help make them fu­ture Ori­gin play­ers.’’

Ti­tan Jai Ar­row was a suc­cess­ful ad­di­tion to the Ma­roons’ for­wards ro­ta­tion as a 22-year-old debu­tant in a los­ing se­ries this year.

Queens­land will hope to be able to draw on Matt Gil­lett, 30, again in 2019, pro­vided he is cleared this month by one last scan on his neck, which he frac­tured in April.

Queens­land had a good blend of ages in their Game Three win, with five of the nine for­wards aged 28 or older, in­clud­ing Gavin Cooper, 32, and Tim Glasby, 29.

Wal­ters did not want to dis­close which Bri­tish teams he would visit. “Th­ese are rep teams,” he said. “It’s more of a sce­nario we face as a rep­re­sen­ta­tive team.

“I’m just go­ing to look at how other suc­cess­ful teams do things and make sure we are on the right track, which I’m sure we are.

“It’s more of a lit­tle per­sonal devel­op­ment ... al­ways good to mix with other sports and lead­ers. The aim is to make me a bet­ter coach and hope it tran­si­tions through the team and the staff.’’

Pic­ture: Sarah Reed

WIN­NING AND LOS­ING IT: Mar­cus Stoi­nis is swamped by his team­mates af­ter dis­miss­ing David Miller to help Aus­tralia to vic­tory.

GOOD STRIDES: Jaydn Su’A is in con­tention for a spot.

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