I’m not one to cry ‘fake news’ when a narrative doesn’t suit my purpose, but I get more than a little steamed up when demonstrably false statements are used to put down a struggling organisation.
Kevin Walters has been tasked with uniting Brisbane after their worst-ever NRL season and he believes Craig Bellamy could play a key role in the job if he wants it.
Melbourne coach Bellamy has been linked to the Broncos from 2022 as a coaching director but has strongly denied agreeing to terms, as the Storm prepare for a qualifying final.
Walters was ushered in on Wednesday to save his former club and said Bellamy is a man of great character – which is exactly what the Broncos need.
“He’s got great experience, Craig, and we’ve worked together well in the past,” Walters said.
“We’ve won premierships together as both players and staff members so he’d be a welcome addition to any club.”
The 52-year-old Walters has a big job ahead to take the Broncos from last place this year to the finals in 2021 – a job that forced him to immediately step down from his job as Queensland coach.
A former captain and five-time premiership winner with the Broncos, Walters’ appointment on a two-year deal comes almost two years after he missed out on the coach’s role to Anthony Seibold.
“This is something that I’ve dreamt about after I finished player, to come back here and be the head coach, he said.
“I’m really excited and grateful for the opportunity.”
Walters faces a mammoth task to transform Brisbane after the worst season in their 32-year history.
In a far cry from his playing days, the Broncos finished last for the first time in the NRL with just three wins in 2020.
However, he said he doesn’t see the need for wholesale changes with the playing roster and wants to get the most of the talent on the books.
“That’s something that we’ve got to have a look at,” Walters said.
“I’ll sit down with Paul White, the CEO and some other members of the Broncos and have a look at where it’s at.
“That’ll be one of the first things we look at. The staff have all got to be looked at as well.
“I don’t see a reason to be big changes, there’s enormous talent in this squad, both young and old.
“My job and the rest of the coaching staff’s job is to get that talent to perform at its best every week.”
Just who will lead the Maroons in November’s Origin campaign remains unknown with former Origin coaches Mal Meninga and Wayne Bennett among the early frontrunners.
Former North Queensland coach Paul Green, who Walters pipped to the Broncos job, is another candidate for the Maroons position.
Queensland Rugby League managing director Robert Moore said the process to find Walters’ replacement was already under way.
“We hope to be in a position by the end of the week to announce the new coach for the 2020 series,” Moore said.
Walters’ Brisbane appointment has delighted former teammate and club great Chris Johns.
Reports linking the club to Bellamy are also reasons for optimism in Johns’ eyes after a miserable year at Red Hill.
“Any club in the competition would want the services of Craig Bellamy coming in and overseeing their football department, if that eventuates,” Johns told AAP.
“I think there’s a lot of work to be done there. There’s no way that’s a done deal.”