BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA — JULY 10: Coach Kevin Walters speaks to media before the Queensland Maroons State of Origin Captain's Run at Suncorp Stadium on July 10, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA — JULY 10: Coach Kevin Walters speaks to media before the Queensland Maroons State of Origin Captain's Run at Suncorp Stadium on July 10, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Maroons would let Walters go for Broncos job

QRL chairman Bruce Hatcher says Maroons coach Kevin Walters should shape as an automatic transition choice for the Broncos in 2020 if they do not offer Wayne Bennett another contract.

To do so, Walters would have to secure a release from his current QRL contract, which runs until the end of the 2020 Origin series.

Hatcher's opinions carry extra weight in that scenario because he would have to green-light such a release and is also a friend of Bennett's for more than 30 years and a business adviser.

"My view would be that if Wayne is coaching beyond 2019 it won't be with the Broncos.

"That's based on the evidence that they (Broncos insiders) put out there,'' Hatcher said.

"I honestly don't understand why they continue to put these hypotheticals up - another this or another that.

"He (Walters) extended his contract last year for two years with the provision that if he is offered an NRL contract we would consider his position favourably.

Could Walters replace Wayne Bennett? AAP Image/Glenn Hunt.
Could Walters replace Wayne Bennett? AAP Image/Glenn Hunt.

"We know the (Broncos) job will come up at the end of 2019. We'd have to currently look at what options we would have to look at if that does go ahead (Walters leaving the Queensland job).

"I've had sufficient knowledge of Kevin Walters, how difficult his job (as Origin coach) was, what he had to do to be successful.

"There are eight coaches coming off contract, but none of those coaches have had such massive success over a bloke like Kevin Walters, who has also been assistant coach to Wayne and (Craig) Bellamy.''

Hatcher is an admirer of Bennett and in 1987 was a key figure in the negotiations which brought him to Red Hill as the foundation Broncos coach.

"I'm a believer that one of a board's roles is to plan succession for the coach (and) the CEO,'' he said.

Hatcher said Walters, who won the first two of his three Origin series as coach, proved his mettle by making team changes during his first series.

"If I went back four or five years, I'd say I was always worried that he could be aloof enough from the players,'' he said.

"There's that fine line where you have to make the tough decisions that make you unpopular. I've seen him do that with Origin.

"In his first series, he made some pretty crucial decisions to change the team and make transitional decisions.''

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