Emotional Walters backs next Maroons coach

Kevin Walters has stood down as Queensland Origin coach after taking the reins of NRL club Brisbane
Kevin Walters has stood down as Queensland Origin coach after taking the reins of NRL club Brisbane

Kevin Walters has spoken of the emotional moment he told Queensland players he was stepping aside just five weeks out from the State of Origin opener.

Walters, who was appointed head coach of Brisbane on Wednesday, has been forced to step down from his role as Maroons boss to meet the demands of the Broncos job.

Over the next few weeks Walters will help temporary Maroons coach - believed to be either Mal Meninga or Wayne Bennett - make the transition for the upcoming series.

The QRL is expected to meet on Thursday to decide which former Maroons coach to appoint for the 2020 season, with Paul Green tipped to be given the job from 2021 onwards.

"There'll be a transition of that over the next few weeks, but that's the sad bit," Walters said on Wednesday.

"On Tuesday night, having to tell the players that I'm moving on was quite sad and I'm an emotional person at the best of times, and that was a tough one for us.

"I know the players are in great shape for this series and I was really looking forward to beating the Blues in this year's series, and that can still happen."

Queensland are yet to announce their extended squad from players who finished their NRL seasons last weekend.

However, Walters explained he had hoped to give players a two-week break from the bubble before they commenced Origin-style training in the lead-up to the series opener in Adelaide on November 4.

That call will now be left to Meninga or Bennett - both of whom Walters supports for the job.

"They're both the standouts and have coached with great success at this level," he said.

"Either way we're going to have a great leader in there to take the Maroons forward.

"Depending on what role the next head coach wants me to do, I'm there for them in any shape or form, whether it's still communicating with the players, coaching our players although they do have to have two weeks' rest, the ones that dropped out last week.

"My plan originally was to give them the two weeks rest but then get them back into some training with some fitness work, strength work as well as ball skills.

"We'll still be doing that as long as I've got the blessing from the head coach."

Australian Associated Press