‘Bloody exciting’: Ominous Walsh prediction as Kevvie declares high hopes despite player turnover

There’s still 11 weeks left until the start of the NRL season, but Broncos coach Kevin Walters can’t wait, admitting he’s “bloody excited” about the club’s young guns and the chance to atone for the heartbreaking 2023 grand final loss to the Panthers.

The Broncos have had to say goodbye a handful of talented players who have left through free agency, including Origin prop Tom Flegler (Dolphins), 2023 Dally M Centre of the Year Herbie Farnworth (Dolphins), promising back rower Keenan Palasia (Titans) and experienced leader Kurt Capewell (Warriors).

While Walters admits they are all huge voids to fill, the coach says he’s very happy with the make-up of the Broncos roster which still boasts superstars Reece Walsh, Payne Haas, Ezra Mam and Adam Reynolds.

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“It’s been a great start to our pre-season. It’s nice and warm in Brissy so the boys are getting plenty of kilometres into their legs,” Walters told the Big Sports Breakfast.

“From a football perspective, we’re a long way in front of where we were this time last year, particularly with our defensive structures and our attack as we have the same spine for the first time in back-to-back seasons.

“We’re very confident (we can fill the voids). Obviously we would have liked to keep all those players but the salary cap doesn’t allow that.

“We’ve always had a good system here at the Broncos of producing good, young talent and we’ll be relying on that talent next year. Guys like Jesse Arthars, Deine Mariner and then someone like Xavier Willison, who will be needed in the middle.

“We’re also very confident in forwards like older players Corey Jensen and Martin Taupau, who we didn’t rely on much last season.”

Walters was asked about Walsh, and with an answer that should strike fear into opposing coaches, says the fullback’s best is yet to come.

Walsh came of age for the Broncos last season, in what was his first year back with the club after a stint with the Warriors.

His play earned him a debut Queensland jersey, where he thrived in the high-pressure arena during Game I and Game II, only missing Game III through suspension.

“There are certainly plenty of areas for Walshy to improve in. Defensively there is a lot of work to be done as a fullback and certainly with his attack as well,” Walters said.

“I’ve spoken about this with him personally, but just getting rid of some of those unforced errors that he can sometimes come up with.

“He’s a very game player, and likes to take the risky play sometimes, which I’m ok with but also making sure it’s a decision that’s going to have a higher percentage for our team than the opposition.

“It’s pretty bloody exciting when you think about some of our players and their ages. Walshy is 21, and Ezra 20 but all of our group moving forward, it’s very exciting for me as a coach to see where we can get to.”

Source website: www.foxsports.com.au

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