BIRSBANE premiership winner Glenn Lazarus is blaming internal politics for the expected decision to deny Kevin Walters the chance to coach his beloved NRL club.
A former teammate and long-time friend of Walters, Lazarus didn’t hold back when asked for his thoughts on the current coaching merry-go-round on Friday.
South Sydney announced Wayne Bennett’s arrival from 2020 on Thursday, while current Rabbitohs coach Anthony Seibold is expected to be unveiled as just the fourth Broncos mentor by mid-next week at the latest.
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Describing it as a shambles, Lazarus said Walters was the “perfect fit” to replace Bennett in 2020 but looked likely to miss out as club administrators angled for a straight swap between Bennett and Seibold.
“The thing that bewilders me the most about the Broncos is… Kevin Walters, I thought, was the right choice, a perfect fit,” he told Macquarie Sports Radio.
“But when you’ve got politics involved and coaches having bad relationships with a CEO… the only way they could appease everybody was if South Sydney got a quality coach in Bennett and the Broncos get Anthony Seibold, who they rate very highly.”
Queensland coach Walters had been in and out as an assistant under Bennett in recent seasons while he was also in the running for the Gold Coast vacancy before bowing out to keep his options open at Red Hill.
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A veteran of 242 games for Brisbane, Walters won a staggering five premierships with the club.
“I feel very sorry for Kevin; he’s had three years at Queensland and has done a great job, been mentored by the best, won everything there was to win in rugby league as a player,” Lazarus said.
“And I know he’s desperately and passionately wanting to coach the Broncos.
“He bleeds maroon and gold but it’s not going to happen because of the politics and relationships that the hierarchy have at the Broncos in particular.”
Bennett claims he will see out the final year of his current contract at Red Hill but Lazarus can’t see that working.
“I can’t imagine Wayne Bennett and Anthony Seibold coaching their respective clubs for a whole season next year knowing they’ve signed a deal the year before to go to another club,” he said.
“I think this will all start as of next year… they can’t have this whole next season in limbo.
“It’s just a shambles and I think you’ll find in 2019 Wayne will be at Souths, Seibold will be at the Broncos, (Ivan) Cleary will be at Penrith and (Michael) Maguire will be at the Tigers and we’ll move on.”
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Originally published as ’It bewilders me’: Lazarus claims Walters has been dudded and knows why
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