Broncos coach Kevin Walters has denied “mixed messaging” after Brisbane front-rower Matt Lodge abruptly departed the club this week.
On Thursday, Lodge was granted released to join the New Zealand Warriors three days after Walters told reporters the 26-year-old would not be leaving Red Hill.
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Walters inevitably came under fire for the drastic backflip, with several rugby league pundits accusing the Broncos mentor of “blatantly lying” to his fanbase.
“I don’t think we can believe anything that’s coming out of that place at the moment,” Queensland great Brent Tate told Fox League’s NRL Tonight.
“There’s different messages coming every couple of days … it’s nothing but shambolic.”
The problem the likes of Kevin Walters don't understand with either blatantly lying to the media or being so wrong about situations like Lodge and Coates this year is why should they be trusted in the future? Should we believe Walters when he denies claims of a player revolt?
But speaking to reporters on Saturday, Walters attributed the bizarre miscommunication to “unfortunate” timing.
“There’s been no mixed messaging from me personally,” he said.
“Matt Lodge has been one of those players that has been looking at other clubs for some time, it’s just a matter of when Matt found the opportunity to exit the club. The timing was unfortunate.
“But my job here is to coach the side, I’m fortunate now to be able to coach the side in a way that I feel I can give my 100 per cent capacity to the team.
“We’ve got great staff here now that are assisting with the roster, the management of the roster which has been taken off me, which is great. That enables me to now go and coach the team … which I’m looking forward to.
“There may be some other changes around the roster but that won’t have anything to do with me personally. My job is to coach this team and that’s what I’ll be doing.”
Last week, Broncos legend Ben Ikin replaced Peter Nolan as the club’s new head of football, and will play a major role in rebuilding the Brisbane roster.
Kevin Walters at Brisbane Broncos training.Source:News Corp Australia
“Hopefully I can just focus on what I do, I’m paid to be the rugby league coach here at the Broncos,” Walters said.
“All the other stuff around the team such as the roster, who’s staying and who’s going, that can be handled by other staff that aren’t directly involved in the hands-on coaching of the side.
“Ben Ikin has come in, he’s only been in the job for four or five days, and also Dave Donaghy the CEO has here over a month now, he’s been a tower of strength for me, taking the pressure off me and allowing me to coach.
“Simon Scanlan is stepping into the role of recruitment, so these three guys are taking a lot of the load that was previously sitting on my shoulders, they’ve taken that which allows me to focus heavily on coaching the side.”
The Broncos are currently 15th on the NRL ladder with three wins in the 2021 season to date.
Brisbane will face the Cronulla Sharks at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday afternoon, with kick-off scheduled for 2pm local time.
“We’ve powered through the week – I’m really happy with the preparation we’ve got into the guys since last Sunday,” Walters said.
“There’s been a gradual progression throughout the week of getting our game right. We’ve put a lot of work in.
“Our defence has got to be much better, that’s something we continue to work on.
“We’ve come up against some really classy opposition in the last month and the NRL is difficult.
“There is a challenge for us against this Cronulla side that can score some points. It’s a great opportunity for guys coming back into the side.
“I’m looking forward to seeing us put in a strong defensive performance.”
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