Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Walters Hails Mal Influence

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Walters Hails Mal Influence

Article excerpt

Byline: Joel Gould

WALTERS CAREER

16 Tests

13 Origins

272 NRL games

3 Premierships (1989, 1990, 1994 Co all with Canberra)

MAROONS team manager Steve Walters has hailed coach Mal Meninga's influence on Origin football as being C[pounds sterling]just like Wayne BennettC[yen] as Queensland goes into camp ahead of their quest for a sixth straight State of Origin series win.

Meninga is the most successful coach in Origin history after winning five series in a row (2006-2010). Bennett won five series of the seven (1986-1988, 1998 and 2001-2003) that he coached with Queensland retaining the 2002 shield after a drawn 1-all result.

Walters, one of Ipswich's favourite rugby league sons, has been a Maroons official since 2001 and has seen both coaches in action. Walters said Bennett is C[pounds sterling]the greatest NRL coach everC[yen] and noted the differences in the two men's personalities. But both have similar methods that have produced results.

C[pounds sterling]Mal has got a lot of strong points. He is very good at communicating with players and building relationships with them -just like Wayne was,C[yen] Walters said.

C[pounds sterling]I started in camp in 2001 when Wayne was the coach and they have got a lot of things in common to be honest.

C[pounds sterling]Mal is more casual than Wayne, but both of them are intense when the team is training.

C[pounds sterling]I don't think Mal tries to over complicate things- and that is like Wayne too.

C[pounds sterling]Mal has got a real presence when you consider his football record and his sheer size. So when he talks to the players collectively or individually, they listen.

C[pounds sterling]He is always trying to improve himself and listen. It is not my way or the highway with him.C[yen]

Walters, who played 13 Origin games for the Maroons - and was a teammate of Meninga's for Canberra, Queensland and Australia - has seen plenty of changes in Origin camp since his own career finished.

C[pounds sterling]We had a few more nights out in those days,C[yen] Walters grinned.

C[pounds sterling]You wouldn't get away with that now. …

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