Kevin Walters endorses Laurie Daley as Titans coach

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    State of Origin rivalries have been shelved after Queensland coach Kevin Walters endorsed former NSW mentor Laurie Daley for the vacant Gold Coast Titans job.

    Walters confirmed he had ruled himself out of the running to replace axed Titans mentor Neil Henry, saying he wanted to oversee the ageing Maroons’ transition.

    Walters’ stocks are at a career high – largely at Daley’s expense.

    Walters is in demand after becoming just the third Queensland coach to win his first two series – both against Daley’s Blues.

    Daley’s five-year NSW reign – which included the sole 2014 series success – ended after he was dumped following the latest series loss, the Blues’ 11th in 12 years.

    However, Maroons mentor Walters believed his former Origin counterpart would be a good fit at the Titans.

    “I think he’s a good candidate for the job,” he said.

    “He has good football knowledge, he has done well with the Origin stuff regardless of what other people are saying.

    “There has never been much between us in Origin, they were two minutes away from winning this year’s series.”

    Walters believed Daley’s past success with controversial NRL star Jarryd Hayne was another plus for the Titans gig.

    Henry was sacked by the Titans last month after a reported feud with Hayne.

    Daley worked wonders with Hayne in 2014, inspiring NSW’s drought-breaking series victory.

    “He’s worked with Jarryd in Origin so he would be able to get the best out of him,” Walters said.

    Daley and recently sacked South Sydney premiership coach Michael Maguire are believed to top a long list of applicants for the Titans job.

    Gold Coast CEO Graham Annesley expects to name a new coach in a month.

    The Queensland Rugby League are now expected to re-sign Walters after he officially knocked back the Titans gig.

    Walters is not off contract until next year but is keen to stay on long term.

    He believed it was important to manage life after the likes of Maroons greats Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk retire.

    Thurston played his last Origin this year while Cronk’s future is still up in the air after announcing he will relocated to Sydney in 2018 to be with his fiancee.

    “This job means a lot to me, I’m really happy with the way it’s going,” Walters said.

    “I feel there is more work to do here and I want to be part of that. There is some more transition to happen.”

    © AAP 2017

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