KEVIN Walters has spoken of his desire to coach the Broncos as he closes in on making a perfect start to his Maroons coaching career.
Walters would rack up his second State of Origin series victory as Queensland coach if the Maroons win Wednesday night’s decider.
It would be a dream start to his stint in the Origin hot-seat, having stepped into the role last year following Mal Meninga’s incredibly successful 10-year tenure.
Walters could have been on a hiding to nothing replacing Meninga but wrapped up last year’s series in two games and has taken this year’s to a decider following a heavy Game One loss at Suncorp Stadium.
Walters was happy being in control of the Maroons but said he had aspirations to return to the club he played 237 games for.
“One day I hope to go back and work at the Broncos,” he said.
“I’d like to end up in the NRL one day but I’m enjoying this so much.
“Three or four years ago I would have killed for a post in the NRL but now that I’ve got this position here, it really does satisfy me.
“I get the coaching emotions and energy out of me that I like doing. I’m getting everything I need as a coach.”
Walters insisted he had no immediate plans to leave the Queensland fold. He was contracted until the end of next year’s series and Maroons powerbrokers were keen to extend his tenure.
Bennett, 67, was contracted to coach the Broncos until the end of the 2019 season but his future beyond then is unclear.
With the Maroons undergoing a changing of the guard — and missing Johnathan Thurston, Darius Boyd, Matt Scott and Greg Inglis for the decider — Walters was facing his biggest coaching challenge.
But this was the responsibility he was craving after leaving his assistant role with Bennett to take up the Maroons post.
“Sooner or later you have to take the big jump,” he said.
“It’s been a great challenge, this year more than last.
‘‘With that comes responsibility and decision-making.
“Down the track (I’d like to coach an NRL club) but I’ve still got a lot of work to do here as the Queensland coach.
“We’ve seen the transition of eight (new) players (this series). We knew that was going to be a big challenge for us.
“Regardless of the result, it’s been a terrific year for Queensland. We’ve come through it pretty well I reckon.”
Walters served a lengthy coaching apprenticeship that he believed prepared him for the Origin role, and Broncos halfback Ben Hunt was certain he could make a successful transition into the NRL.
“I’ve got no doubts about that at all,” he said.
“If there is a club job that comes up any time soon, I think he’s got to be at the top of the list.
“Out of all the coaches I’ve had, I’ve found Kevvie to be the one that gets the best out of me. He knows what makes me tick and how I can play my best football.
“Any time I’ve had any involvement with Kevvie I’ve seemed to play pretty good football.
“The more I’m involved with him and talk to him, the better it is for me.”