Kevvie duty: Walters free to chase Cowboys job
The Cowboys have fielded a resume from Kevin Walters as Maroons powerbrokers opened the door for the Queensland Origin coach to replace Paul Green.
The Courier-Mail understands North Queensland have been alerted to Walters' availability, with the Maroons mentor still keen to launch his NRL coaching career after losing out to Anthony Seibold for the Broncos post in 2018.
Walters has been consistently linked to Brisbane as a possible replacement for under-fire Seibold but the Broncos today guaranteed their coach would survive until at least the end of the 2020 season.
Walters is keeping all options open and Green's dismissal on Monday has presented an opportunity at the Cowboys.
The Cowboys have huge wraps on Roosters assistant coach Craig Fitzgibbon and would short-list him in a heartbeat, but suspect he is settled under Trent Robinson and would not want to relocate his family from their NSW south-coast home.
Green's former assistant Todd Payten, the Warriors' interim head coach, is also considered to be a leading contender for the role.
Walters last month inked a one-year extension to continue coaching the Maroons in 2021, but Queensland Rugby League chairman Bruce Hatcher said they would consider releasing him to take up an NRL head coach post.
"I really don't like hypotheticals, but by the same token I'd love to see him get a head coach's job," Hatcher said.
"We could certainly consider it as a board.
"We really want him as our Origin coach and are happy with what he's done to date. We're hoping our Queensland sides improve.
"We always thought he was going to get the Broncos job (in 2018). When one door closes another appears to open for good people.
"We will address it when it comes along. One would normally say these jobs don't come up too often.
"The Broncos have signed Anthony Seibold for five years and keep saying they'll stick with their appointee so nothing has really changed there.
"We are happy we've got him tied up, but in exceptional circumstances I'm sure the board would consider the position as presented."
Walters has a historical link with the Cowboys. He reached the final-four applicants for the North Queensland job following Neil Henry's sacking in 2013 and made the second stage of interviews with Trent Barrett, Brad Arthur and Green.
But Walters ultimately lost out to Green, prompting Wayne Bennett to hire him as an assistant at the Broncos in 2014 before his eventual ascension to the Queensland Origin post in 2016.
Walters was interviewed to replace Bennett at the Broncos but Seibold was awarded a five-year contract by Brisbane powerbrokers.
At 52, Walters is still determined to coach in the NRL and former Broncos teammate Steve Renouf said the Brisbane legend would thrive in Townsville.
"He could do a good job wherever he goes," he said.
"There are a lot of new young kids coming through up there.
"He's got such a good footy head and is a caring person.
"He wouldn't be that hard on the kids. He's got a good balance all around."
Hannay keen to keep top Cowboys job
- Chris Honnery
INTERIM Cowboys head coach Josh Hannay has thrown his hat in the ring to remain at the helm as speculation continues around the club's new mentor.
It comes as the club on Tuesday afternoon announced the appointment of former Cowboys grand finalist Aaron Payne as the new assistant coach.
Hannay was this week promoted to the top role following the departure of premiership-winning mentor Paul Green.
Green's exit has opened the door for another NRL head coaching role with former club legend Jonathan Thurston admitting he would consider taking on the mentoring role of his beloved club.
Speaking for the first time since taking over the reins at the Cowboys, Hannay has also vowed to fight for the top job.
"The past 12 months it's been something that's become clear in my own mind that I was feeling more and more ready for," Hannay said.
"I've been privileged to do such a good apprenticeship under someone like Paul Green.
"He's one of the best coaches in the game.
"I do feel like I'm ready for the opportunity.
"I'll be approaching it to well and truly take my chance and show the club and playing group what I'm about.
"It's certainly a golden opportunity if I do want to become a head coach, which I do."
It comes after Thurston told Channel 9's 100% Footy that he was considering the job.
"I've started thinking about (coaching the Cowboys) a lot more lately, given the position the club has been in," Thurston said.
"Seeing the state the club is in now, it's probably time in the next year or so to have a look at that."
Another candidate thrown in the mix to take over as Cowboys coach has been Melbourne assistant Jason Ryles.
"He takes most of our sessions, we've got a great coaching staff here at the Storm," Storm flyer Josh Addo-Carr said.
"If Ryleysy does decide to go to the Cowboys or wherever to coach, he'll do a great job, wherever he goes.
"He's a top bloke and understands the players.
"He's learnt from the best, off Craig, off Adam O'Brien, off all of these guys so I have no doubt Ryleysy would do a great job wherever he goes."
Hannay admitted he had been told informally over the weekend that Green would be leaving the club and he would be his replacement for the time being.
He said he was glad the club had given Green "one last dance" to coach his side against the Panthers last Sunday afternoon.
"For me personally, to be honest, I'm still carrying a heavy heart for Greeny," he said.
"He was a wonderful mentor to me and a good mate.
"I really do feel for Paul and his family.
"We handled it really professionally that Paul got the opportunity to have one last dance and for the boys to go out and get a victory for him."
Premiership-winning Cowboys Justin O'Neill and Gavin Cooper on Tuesday thanked their former coach for his
"It is sad to see Greeny go," O'Neill said.
"He's done a lot for this club.
"He took the club to places they've never been before."
Coaches in the running for the Cowboys job
- Kevin Walters (current Maroons coach)
- Josh Hannay (interim Cowboys coach)
- Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys legend)
- Jason Ryles (Storm assistant coach)
- Todd Payten (interim Warriors coach)
- Craig Fitzgibbon (Roosters assistant coach)