|Full name||Kevin David Walters|
20 October 1967 |
Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia
|Height||170 cm (5 ft 7 in)|
|Weight||83 kg (13 st 1 lb)|
Kevin David Walters (born 20 October 1967) is an Australian professional rugby league football coach and former player. He is currently working as the head coach of the Queensland State of Origin team, as well as a commentator for Fox League. Walters played for the Australian Kangaroos, Queensland Maroons and at professional club level primarily for the Brisbane Broncos.
Along with twin Kerrod and older brother Steve, Kevin Walters started his playing career in the Brisbane Rugby League premiership before joining the NSWRL. He spent some time playing for the Canberra Raiders before moving to the Brisbane Broncos, where he played for the majority of his career and took over the club's captaincy. He has played in premiership-winning teams on six occasions and holds the record for most finals appearances.
Walters later coached in the Queensland Cup competition with the Ipswich Jets club before being recruited by Catalans. Following his former coach Wayne Bennett from the Newcastle Knights he joined the Broncos coaching staff ahead of the 2015 season. During his short stint with the Knights, Walters was appointed as Halves coach by Bennett in 2014. Before this, Walters joined the Melbourne Storm where he worked as assistant coach to Craig Bellamy. Walters had also been at French club Catalans Dragons of Europe's Super League where he was head coach. Before that he was head coach of the Ipswich Jets in the Queensland Cup.
Walters was born in Rockhampton, Queensland on 20 October 1967. He grew up playing football alongside future Brisbane Broncos (and Queensland) team mate Allan Langer and brothers Steve and Kerrod Walters. This combination of players was known famously as "The Ipswich Connection".
Walters and his brothers played for the Booval Swifts club before Kevin played in the Brisbane Rugby League Premiership with the Norths club, then followed his brother Steve to the Canberra Raiders of the New South Wales Rugby League Premiership in 1987.
In Canberra Walters was a reserve as a 19-year-old in the club's first grand final in 1987 which was lost to Manly-Warringah. That year he was named the Raiders' Rookie of the Year. Walters made his debut for the Queensland Maroons in the 1989 State of Origin series, as a reserve in Game III. Later that year he got his first taste of premiership success, playing from the bench in the 1989 Grand Final win for Canberra.
Walters returned to Queensland in 1990, signing with the Brisbane Broncos to play alongside his twin brother Kerrod once again. Up until 1990, Wally Lewis was the Broncos' first choice for the five-eighth position, but coach Wayne Bennett moved Lewis to lock and Walters to five-eighth. This was because of Walters' darting runs and deft passing. That year he won the Broncos' Player of the Year award. Walters played from the reserve bench in all three games of the 1990 State of Origin series. He also made selection for the 1990 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain and France with twin brother Kerrod, playing in several tour matches against local sides but no test matches. The following year Walters was again selected to play in all three State of Origin matches for Queensland from the bench. He made his test match debut on the 1991 Kangaroo tour of Papua New Guinea, where he and his brother Kerrod became the first twin brothers to play rugby league for Australia.
During the 1992 Great Britain Lions tour of Australia and New Zealand, Walters helped Australia retain The Ashes. Later that year he helped the Broncos to victory in the 1992 Grand Final which Brisbane won 28–8 against the St George Dragons. The Walters brothers had already become the first trio to play for Queensland and Australia in 1992 and they achieved another milestone when all three were selected to tour with the World Cup squad. In England Kevin Walters threw the winning pass for Steve Renouf's try that won the game 10–6 in Australia's 1992 World Cup Final victory. Indeed, 1992 was a great year for Walters, with further victory in the World Club Challenge against Wigan. The following year Walters again proved a great utility for the Broncos' 1993 grand final victory.
During the 1994 NSWRL season, Walters played at five-eighth for defending premiers Brisbane when they hosted British champions Wigan for the 1994 World Club Challenge. At the end of the season, he went on the 1994 Kangaroo tour.
In 1996 Walters' wife, Kim, was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Walters also played in the 1997 Super League Grand Final victory for Brisbane. Although not a consistent player for the Maroons, Walters was part of the winning 1998 State of Origin team, dummying his way over for a try in the decider. That year he played at five-eighth in the 1998 NRL grand final and won yet another premiership with the Broncos.
Following his wife's death in 1998, Kevin established the Kim Walters Choices program, a free community service that offers support to people diagnosed with cancer at the Wesley Hospital in Brisbane.
In 1999, with the retirement of Allan Langer, Walters was handed the Broncos' captaincy. He also captained Queensland in the second match of the 1999 State of Origin series. Walters' book, Brave Hearts was published in 1999.
Walters was awarded the Australian Sports Medal for his contribution to Australia's international standing in the sport of rugby league in 2000. He captained the Broncos at halfback in their 2000 NRL grand final win against the Sydney Roosters, claiming one more premiership ring with the club before moving to England at the request of Allan Langer. He played for Warrington briefly and decided it was not for him and his family, so moved back to Australia, playing his final season with the Broncos in 2001.
In 2003 Walters was one of the first four former players inducted into the Broncos official Hall of Fame. During the 2007 season at the Broncos' 20-year anniversary celebration, the club announced a list of the 20 best players to play for them to date which included Walters.
Walters went on to coach the Toowoomba Clydesdales in the Queensland Cup competition and was also assistant coach under Wayne Bennett for the Brisbane Broncos. At the end of the 2005 season, after five successive years without a grand final appearance, Bennett decided to have a cleanout of the coaching staff, removing such long-time allies as Walters, Gary Belcher and Glenn Lazarus. Walters then became head coach of the Ipswich Jets playing in the Queensland Cup before attracting the attention of Europe's Super League.
Walters was appointed as the new coach of Catalans Dragons from the 2009 season. He had been linked with the role of Head Coach at the French Super League team for some time. His first season at Catalans did not start well, with only one win from the club's first 6 matches. However, by the end of his second season with the club, he'd taken them to within one match of the 2009 Super League Grand Final, losing to eventual Champions, Leeds Rhinos.
In 2014, Walters was reunited with the Bronco's coach Wayne Bennett as a halves coach.
After Bennett's announcement to return to the Brisbane Broncos as Head Coach for 2015, Walters followed. He was appointed as Assistant Coach, sharing the role with current New Zealand Kiwi's Head Coach, Stephen Kearney.
On 28 December 2015, Walters was appointed as head coach of the Queensland State of Origin team, succeeding Mal Meninga whose elevation to the role as Australian Test coach meant he had to resign as Maroons coach.
- Morton, Jim (28 December 2015). "Walters gets Qld Origin job". NRL.com. AAP. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- Mitchell Dale. "Legend Q&A". Rugby League Week. Sydney, NSW: PBLMedia (16 April 2008): pgs 28–29.
- Harms, John (2005). The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story. Australia: University of Queensland Press. p. 195. ISBN 9780702235368.
- "Kim Walters Choices Program". uhc.com.au. Wesley Hospital. 2002. Retrieved 5 December 2009.
- Whitiker, Alan – History of Rugby League Clubs Published 2004
- Book – Whiticker, Alan – The Encyclopedia of Rugby League Players (Broncos)
- "Broncos Hall of Fame". broncos.com.au. Brisbane Broncos. Archived from the original on 26 January 2014. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
- Dekroo, Karl (9 May 2007). "Still the king". The Courier-Mail. Australia: Queensland Newspapers. Archived from the original on 12 May 2007. Retrieved 8 December 2009.
- Dick, Barry (1 October 2006). "Special day for Benny". The Courier-Mail. Queensland Newspapers. Retrieved 17 December 2009.
- "Catalans move to appoint Walters". BBC. 21 May 2008. Retrieved 21 May 2008.
- "Walters may join Dragons". Sportinglife. 14 May 2008. Retrieved 15 May 2008.