QLD Chairman Responds To Comments That Kevin Walters' Job Is On The Line

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QLD Chairman Responds To Comments That Kevin Walters' Job Is On The Line

Players have rallied around Kevin Walters after the QRL was forced to ensure the Maroons coach's future if they lose the State of Origin series in Sydney.

Walters looked like a man under pressure ahead of Origin II after reports he faces the axe if the Maroons lost the 2017 series.

In just his second series at the helm, Walters is contracted with the Maroons until the end of next year.

However, reports claimed Wayne Bennett was ready to step in next year if Queensland failed to bounce back from their record 28-4 game one loss in Brisbane.

QRL chairman Bruce Hatcher said Walters' future was never in question.

"Its never been discussed," he told News Corp.

"Kevin's got a three-year contract and won the series last year."

Walters has been handed the difficult task of overseeing the ageing Queensland team's transition period. Johnathan Thurston will retire from represenative football at season's end and the Origin futures of skipper Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk, Sam Thaiday, Nate Myles and Greg Inglis up in the air.

Queensland lock Josh McGuire said players supported the under-fire Walters.

"I love being coached by him to be honest," he said.

"He's won six premierships (as a player) and there's not many people with six rings around, so he knows how to get big games done and won.

"I have the utmost respect for him and what he's done in his football career and when he speaks, everyone listens."

Walters took over from Mal Meninga, who masterminded nine series wins in a decade of dominance including eight straight series victories.

The QRL reportedly sought out Bennett after Meninga left to take up the Kangaroos job before being blocked by his NRL club Brisbane.

They then offered North Queensland's Paul Green the gig before Walters was eventually appointed.

But McGuire said Walters' passion for the Maroon cause showed he was the right man for the job.

"I appreciate a person that cares and loves the jersey and it rubs off on a lot of us," he said.

"He genuinely loves this team and loves the state of Queensland and wants to perform and wants us to perform."

Asked if they felt they had let Walters down in game one, McGuire said: "The good thing is it's a three-game series and we've just got to put that behind us.

"If we keep thinking about game one, it's not going to help.

"As far as we're concerned, there's another 80 minutes on Wednesday night and ... we think we'll win the game."

- AAP

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