TOUGH CHOICE: Kevin Walters.
TOUGH CHOICE: Kevin Walters. Adam Head

A Titanic decision: Will Kevvie rock, or will he roll?

PUTTING ourselves in the shoes of Kevin Walters right now would be an interesting exercise for those of us who have a genuine love of rugby league.

To those who do not fully appreciate the appetite Kevvie holds for the game after witnessing his outpouring of passion during the recent State of Origin series, what I am about to say will probably mean nothing. But bear with me anyway.

The Queensland coach is currently between a rock and a hard place. The rock is his Maroons coaching gig, a job assured until the end of the 2021 series. The hard place is the opportunity to finally coach an NRL team, albeit the Titans.

Kevvie has long held an ambition to coach at the highest level. And while we might believe the Origin stage is just about the pinnacle, any coach worth their salt wants to ply their trade in the week-to-week jungle that is the NRL.

And the likeable Walters has previously made no secret of the fact that has been his goal. Along the road to his Origin posting he has called the Toowoomba Clydesdales and Catalans Dragons home, as well as service in assistant roles at the Broncos - twice - and the Storm.

Most - particularly Kevvie - thought the apprenticeship had been served when Wayne Bennett last year failed in his bid to secure an extension from the Broncos board. But instead of appointing their five-time premiership winner - one as captain - 2018 Dally M Coach of the Year, Anthony Seibold, scored the plum job at Red Hill.

It's no secret that Walters was filthy - and not just because he missed out. He firmly believed there was an understanding he was next in line when Bennett's tenure finally expired, so he felt dudded. Now, with the Titans job up for grabs and Walters seemingly the prime candidate and favourite, he is hedging his bets.

Firstly, he is adamant he will not apply - or at least make it public if he does - for fear of being seen as a loser once again. Secondly, does he need to risk his career, and his name, at a franchise which is in serious danger of going under?

As things stand, Kevvie has it made. He is very well paid and resourced as the Maroons coach, and thoroughly revels in his role as a FoxSports commentator.

 

The Titans have been struggling this season under coach Garth Brennan.
The Titans have been struggling this season under coach Garth Brennan. DAVE HUNT

While the Titans position may not be the poisoned chalice many suggest it, lifting them from the current mire will be no cinch. But that is the challenge great coaches enjoy.

And if he takes the job he will need to move his family - including two school-age kids - to the Gold Coast. Being fully committed means no short cuts, and being totally immersed in the community is a must. He would also want total control, which might mean the current role of Mal Meninga becomes redundant. Just another obstacle.

Conversely, with at least two more years ensconced in his QRL position and a courageous showing this year from his bunch of rookies, the Origin future looks promising. And his pressure-free role as a well-paid TV commentator doesn't appear on the wane either.

But if offered the Titans job, and he knocks it back, at 51 will there be many more NRL opportunities, particularly at the right club? Yep, Kevvie sure is between a rock and hard place.

News Corp Australia


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