The Courier-Mail

‘Coach Whisperer’ watching Walters at work in Broncos training

- PETER BADEL

ham Arnold and Michael Cheika. More recently, he became one of the major narratives of the 2019 State of Origin series when then Maroons mentor Walters hired Stubbs to give Queensland a mental edge in their quest for interstate supremacy.

Stubbs, who has reportedly charged $5500 an hour to teach his “Science of Belief’’ program, predicted Queensland would win 3-0 under Walters. The Maroons lost 2-1.

But there can be no disputing Stubbs’ other successes.

As he sat in the BBQ area at Red Hill to watch the Broncos train (pictured right), an NRL premiershi­p ring shimmered on his right hand, a gift from Roosters coach Trent Robinson after the Bondi won the title in 2018.

Stubbs’ involvemen­t with Walters during that Origin campaign triggered some alarm, with Queensland Rugby League chairman Bruce Hatcher famously slamming Stubbs, claiming his mind-over-matter indoctrina­tions were nothing more than mumbo jumbo.

So when Stubbs lobbed at Broncos headquarte­rs, dressed in a dark-blue blazer and sporting sunglasses, it fuelled speculatio­n Walters had sent an SOS for the mind coach to help with his maiden season in charge at Red Hill.

Not so, insists Walters, who is adamant Stubbs will play no part in his quest to snap the Broncos’ 15-year premiershi­p drought.

Asked if Stubbs, who lives on the Gold Coast, would assist Walters this season, the Broncos coach said: “He was just here having a look.

“He won’t be involved with the Broncos,” Walters continued.

“He is a good friend of mine.

“He asked if he could come up and watch training so he is more than welcome to come and get a burger from the BBQ.”

Stubbs was an interested observer at training as he closely watched Broncos players to examine and get a feel for their energy fields.

Last year, Walters told News Corp he couldn’t really explain what Stubbs did, but said his “Expect to Win, Done Done Done’’ methods had a positive impact on the mind of athletes.

“Can I explain what he does? No. Will I try to? No. Do I believe in what he is doing? One hundred per cent I do,” Walters said.

WITH positions throughout the side wide open, Cowboys players will be trialled all over the park in tonight’s match against the Broncos to find where they slot in best.

Take Reuben Cotter. After playing hooker for the Indigenous All Stars last weekend, the 22-year-old will pack down at lock against Brisbane.

Cotter’s inclusion has come after big man Jordan McLean withdrew from the game with a hamstring injury and Jason Taumalolo was moved into the front row.

“Jordan’s had some soreness over the past month,” Cowboys coach Todd Payten said at the airport yesterday ahead of the side flying out.

“He could have played if it was a Round 1 game or a finals match so we’re not too concerned.”

Payten said he had no hesitation in throwing Cotter (pictured) in to lock the scrum.

“We could have replaced him with another big man but Reuben’s competed really well this pre-season,” he said.

“He’s played both at lock and at hooker so it’s just a reward for the consistent day-to-day effort for him in our training sessions.

“Reuben’s a manufactur­ed hooker at the moment, so he’s still learning the trade. He was a lock as a kid and if you see the way the game’s gone in the past 12 to 18 months there’s been a resurgence of those smaller type locks with quicker leg speed and a bit of skill through the middle.”

The coach revealed Scott Drinkwater will play the first half at fullback before moving into five-eighth in the second 40.

Valentine Holmes will start on the wing but move into fullback to replace Drinkwater, while livewire Hamiso Tabuai

Fidow will split the game between centre and fullback.

“There are a number of positions up for grabs so they’re getting a fair shot from a time perspectiv­e,” Payten said.

“We can only make eight changes (interchang­es) once we go into the 17 (man team) in Round 1 but at the moment it’s unlimited and we’ve got to give those positions that are still up in the air an even share of time on the field to push their case.”

IT was with a brief panic when news was received this week of Geoff Toovey’s appointmen­t as an assistant coach for Warringah Rats rugby team.

Not because Tooves was crossing to the dark side that is rugby union but because it might threaten his

stellar appearance­s every Wednesday night on NRL360.

As anybody who knows the lineup knows, Tooves is the angry one on the show.

As well as picking up a whistle for the Rats, he has also taken on the job as assistant coach for the NSW State of Origin women’s team.

Tooves is that rare voice in the game. His credential­s are unquestion­ed and he carries not a gram of political correctnes­s in his body, happy to call it as he sees it, damn the consequenc­es.

It’s a trait that will benefit the Rats for as long as they are prepared to face honest assessment­s.

How it translates into the women’s dressing room is also something that some have questioned but, in my time, I’ve found that, as a group, the women are usually more resilient than the men, which will hold Tooves in good stead.

It would be terrible for the game to lose him.

NRL360 returns on March 8 with Tooves to appear a couple of nights later on Legends Night, alongside Benny Elias who, in the wake of COVID travel restrictio­ns, had to forgo Thailand and head to Queensland to add several extra layers of tan to his swarthy complexion.

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 ??  ?? Reuben Cotter.
Reuben Cotter.

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