Good things come to those who wait insists Broncos coach Kevin Walters:
“Everything takes time - I need time. Even with Wayne, it took him five years to build the side he wanted and that was with some of the best talent the game has seen. He had guys like Wally Lewis and Allan Langer."
“It is certainly different to Origin. With Origin, you are working with the elite players of the game and there is only a squad of 18 to 20. With the NRL, you have 30 odd players you need to maintain good strong relationships with and some guys are only young and need more development than other guys. We want to be successful and you have to get the right people there to be successful. There are some good talented kids coming through and we are always looking to strengthen our roster.”
“We won’t delve into that question (Bennett returning) just now. Right now he is enemy number one. We need to have a strong performance tomorrow night. I’ve worked with Wayne as a coach and player. I’ve been in a coaches box with him in a grand final (2015). We are certainly aware of Wayne’s qualities as a coach and what he brings to a football club. It’s a privilege to be coaching against him. He is well over the 700-game mark and I’m up to my fifth game."
Peaches and cream
“He’s had a big influence, as a player from when I was in Canberra. We were introduced to each other when I was 16 and he’s been involved in my life ever since in some capacity. To be honest, Wayne letting me go was a blessing in disguise. I took so many good things from Wayne. There’s no ill-feeling from me about what he did. Because of that moment, I’ve been around the world with my coaching career. I’ve been to the (Ipswich) Jets in the Queensland to Catalans in the Super League and down to Melbourne (as an assistant to Craig Bellamy)."
“There is a big wide world out there and I had to explore that. Wayne showed me that. I‘m really pleased now that I did leave the Broncos. It’s got me into the position I am today. That was a heartbreaking time for both of us."
“There are a lot of things I like about the way Wayne coaches. His relationship with his players is the best one for me. He cares about them. Knowing his players and knowing their personalities is his best strength. He doesn’t bombard Latrell Mitchell with complex game plans. He simply says, ‘Hey Latrell, how’s your family?’"
"Wayne has been such a great coach, a very successful coach, but I don‘t look up and see who I am coaching against. It’s more about the players and making sure they are well prepared for what’s in front of them."
“I’ve had a great relationship over time with Wayne but that will mean nothing on Thursday night. He will want his team to win and I will want our team to win.”
“Telling Kevvie to leave at the end of that 2005 season was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. He had tears in his eyes and I was close to breaking down myself. It was painful. Very painful. But it was the right thing to do. I felt Kevin wasn’t going to get any better with me. I felt he needed to go and be with other coaches, see other systems, work at other places ... instead of being in my shadow all the time. I always felt Kevvie wouldn’t get the head-coaching job at the Broncos if he didn’t leave and get some experience first.”
Sooner or later you miss your mates.
“Our friendship has never been broken. Yes, we’ve had our moments, there’s no doubt about that. What happened in 2005 wasn’t pleasant. We’ve had some run-ins, but when the s**t hits the fan, Kevvie has been there for me and I’ve been there for him."
“Kevin just has to be Kevin (as Broncos head coach). The job at the Broncos can change you. It can put you under strange pressures you don‘t think will happen. But if Kevvie is true to himself, he will be OK. That’s how he got the job."
“Sometimes to come back to where you want to be, you need to go elsewhere first. Now Kevin is back at the Broncos where he belongs.”