Former Ipswich Jets coach and new Broncos mentor Kevin Walters. Picture: Josh Woning
Former Ipswich Jets coach and new Broncos mentor Kevin Walters. Picture: Josh Woning

We’re with you Kevvie, as Jets relive 2015 grand final glory


Michael Nunn

I WAS so nervous but there really was no need to be. It was 2016 and my first interview with Kevvie Walters.

The same Kevvie I had been watching since I was eight years old that left the Jets in 1986 to play in Canberra.

The Walters that played 50 games for the Raiders and won a premiership in 1989, then left for Brisbane, played 241 games, and won another five premierships.

Walters would turn his hand to coaching and coached Toowoomba to a premiership in 2001 and the Jets in the Intrust Super Cup. His record at the Jets in 2007-2008 was outstanding with 44 games, 31 wins, one draw, and 12 losses.

The Jets football that year was exceptional scoring 708 points in 22 games at 32 points per game.

Then Kevvie would be off to the Storm back to the Broncos and the State of Origin gig.

The interview had been organised for a Tuesday night and it was the night before the third Origin game in Sydney. I had second thoughts about ringing and thought Kevvie must have forgotten what the next night was.

I was worried I would encounter a cranky coach, who would ring the night before an Origin game use some common sense I expected would be shouted back at me.

There was no shouting or crying, just Kevvie like you would imagine he would be.

Kevvie answered with a calmness, then reassured me he was sitting in a hotel room doing nothing. If it is not done now you cannot do much he laughed.

I had my questions written down and started going through them with a wooden unnatural style that would make Denton or Parkinson wince in agony.

Kevvie stopped me, reassured me I was all right and to not worry. I will never forget.

"Footballers are easy mate,'' Kevvie said.

"If you're not a d...head they talk to you. Prove yourself to be a d...head and you'll find it hard.

"I have asked around and you're not a d...head so let's go."

That became my mantra, my 'Kevvie Walters' rule that I write by every week, every time I talk to a player.

Since then Kevvie and I have had many conversations and he has helped me whenever I need a quote. He has become a great mate.

A mate that I want to do well, I want success for Kevvie and honestly, anyone that said they did not I would be suspicious of their character.

Which brings us to 2020 and at the end of a horrible season the Broncos have turned to Kevvie Walters to help them out of the sludge that is this season.

Walters will finally have the job he has coveted since he was coaching at Toowoomba in 2001.

Kevin Walters is eager to get on with helping rebuild the Broncos. Picture: Josh Woning
Kevin Walters is eager to get on with helping rebuild the Broncos. Picture: Josh Woning

He will be the Broncos head coach and I do not think the rugby league world has ever wanted success for anyone more.

"I am so excited. I want the Broncos to go back to being Queensland's team." Kevvie said.

"I want you to be proud to put your polo on and walk to the shops.

"Tell Bec you definitely still want your season ticket for Christmas in 2020."

Has it taken too long for K.Walters coach to appear on the door at Red Hill.

"No it's the right time,'' he said. "I think Origin has helped we are here now and let's have some change and be proud again of this team."

On that change, Walters is not too sure what has to happen first but things will happen soon.

"I officially start November 1 but I can go in there earlier and see what happens, I think first things will be staffing and of course looking at the list of players."

On staff will we see a Walters flavour to the Broncos

"Yeah Kerrod assistant coach and Steve on the board,'' he said.

"There are good people in there, good people in admin and good people through the club.

"Just need to all come together."

That is the take home message that is what Kevvie does. You could not look him in the eye if you did not try your best. Kevvie lives it. He has lived his best for 30 years. How could you be in his team and not do the same?

So if you were a current teacher thinking about change where would he send his CV.

"Red headed school teachers are always needed. I could put you with Drew in charge of sunscreen and bucket hats.

"Send it in brother."

Special BRL memories - mateship and that magic try

FIVE years ago the Jets Brisbane Rugby League side got the best three weeks in Jets history started with a premiership.

They played such great football and their bond was obvious every week - a happy team, playing great football representing Ipswich.

The 2015 BRL Grand Final was played between the Jets and Wynnum. The two clubs had slugged it out all year and finished one and two on the ladder.

The two teams played each other three times in 2015 and the Jets led 2-1.
That included a 32-24 win in the qualifying final. It was the day Pat McCallum scored three tries.

The fourth game would be the one that would count for everything and the Jets came away with their first premiership since the 1990 Colts win against Valleys.

It was at twilight at Langlands Park on a beautiful night that Jets captain Tu'u Maori lifted the Tallon Trophy.

"I remember how calm I felt as the players rolled in and got ready,'' coach Mark Bishop said.

"My job had been done during the week and now it was their turn.

"They were their usual selves, music blaring and cracking jokes. My confidence rose.


Ipswich Jets 2015 BRL coach Mark Bishop.
Ipswich Jets 2015 BRL coach Mark Bishop.

"Wynnum asked to be moved from their dressing room across the hall so we were on the front foot straight away.

"I felt nervous for the players because I just wanted them to play well so as if we did not get the result it was because they were better.

"My wife was at her first game of the year and she text me about 25 minutes in and said can I send Max around just as we scored a try. She was sitting at the end of the field behind the Wynnum coaching staff. She relayed the Wynnum message to Max, who ran down to our trainer James who was with the goal kicker, who then relayed what they were saying to our playing group.

"At halftime, we were in control and confident we would go on with the job. A bit back and forth second half with all players doing their job and hooter goes. Let the celebrations begin.

"We spoke about becoming a Jets history-making group and how our focus turned to making sure the Intrust Super Cup boys got our full support and whatever they needed.

"The grand final trophy was the original BRL Cup. We could have photos with it, it was taken away, and we were given a smaller replica. We all shared many a drink from it that night."

Chris Ash relived the memorable victory.

"I have two standouts,'' Ash said.

"If we played on a Saturday night at Ipswich, every player would come back to someone's house for a beer. Every week every player, that is special. We just loved each other's company.

"My second is my try - to score in a grand final; wrap the game up is special. It was a highlight of the year."

Sam Capewell shared his thoughts.

"It was my last ever game so pretty memorable,'' Capewell said.

"Just a great bunch of guys that's what I remember. I got injured in the grand final but no way you don't keep playing.''

Mitchell Tuite recalled the wonderful season.

"It was the tightest team I have ever been involved with,'' Tuite said.

"Every week we'd have a few beers and everyone would come. Normally you get a few that can't but we had guys that even didn't play come over. I better mention Chris Ash's try too - honestly, the most talked about try in history."

Pat McCallum had the final say.

"The club was so welcoming to me,'' McCallum said.

"I came from the bush and the Jets made me feel welcome and we had such a good year. The togetherness of that side was something I have never experienced.

"Bisho was a great man manager and we were so well led through the year.''

Happy birthday Ipswich

IT is 111 years on October 9 since the first game of league was played in Ipswich.

The inaugural match was played under the Queensland Amateur Rugby League between a metropolitan representative side and a team picked from Ipswich.

Ipswich wore red, white and blue and Brisbane wore blue and white.

Things did not go to plan and Brisbane won 43-10.

The Ipswich team on day one was: Peel, Field, Patrick, McCormack, Musgrave, Patrick, Munro, Tubman (captain), Woodford, Porter, Ivett, Thomas, and Goodwin.

Cooper's stat

HOW even was the 2015 Brisbane Rugby League season.

Ipswich and Wynnum both won 14 of 18 games that season and finished on 28 points to finish one and two on the table.

Jet Hayden Lipp finished the regular season on 12 tries, 58 goals and one field goal for 165 points to be the BRL's third highest points scorer.