SportState of Origin: ‘I’ll be back next year’, vows Queensland coach Kevin Walters
State of Origin: QRL board member Ben Ikin would let Kevin Walters leave to pursue NRL job
Walters on Wednesday night declared he will see out the remaining year of his QRL contract in 2020.
Moments after watching his Queensland Maroons slump to their second State of Origin series loss on the trot, coach Kevin Walters declared he’ll be back for more in 2020.
Walters, who has been chasing an NRL head coaching gig for several years, was most recently overlooked by the Brisbane Broncos last December.
The 51-year-old has been heavily linked with the Gold Coast Titans, with Garth Brennan considered a certainty to be sacked in the coming weeks.
But Walters, who replaced Mal Meninga as Queensland coach four years ago, was adamant he would see out the final year of his Maroons contract in the aftermath of Wednesday’s 26-20 loss to the NSW Blues.
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“I’m a really proud Queenslander tonight, really proud of these guys and I’ll be back next year,” Walters said when quizzed on his future.
“We’ve made some good progress this year, if you look back from the last couple of years with the changing of the guard, I thought we made some small steps last year but we made some even bigger ones this year with the group that we’ve brought through.
“And I want to be part of that next year with the Maroons moving forward.’Video provided by Wide World of Sports
But when asked directly if he will turn down all offers from NRL clubs to remain with the Maroons in 2020, Walters replied: “Nah, I’m not going to talk about that now, I want to talk about this great Queensland team and how proud I am of them.”
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Real or mind games?
It is highly unlikely the Queensland Rugby League would allow Walters to remain in charge of the Maroons if he accepts the Titans job or any other NRL head coaching role.
The QRL started the trend of hiring a non-NRL coach in 2006 when Meninga was appointed.
Ironically, Meninga will decide Walters’ fate in the coming weeks when he delivers his internal report to the Titans board which is expected to result in Brennan’s sacking.
Meanwhile, Walters insists he has ‘no regrets’ over this year’s series loss and insisted the Maroons’ future is bright.
“No regrets, no. Moving forward, we’ll see what happens tomorrow. The sun’s going to come up and the sun will be shining in Queensland,” he said.
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