Brisbane's 'precious soft knobs' could split club down the middle

·3-min read
Brisbane Broncos coach Kevin Walters is pictured giving his team a spray on the left, with former Broncos great Steve Renouf pictured right.
Brisbane Broncos coach Kevin Walters gave his side an almighty spray after their finals hopes took a serious hit, and got backup from club great Steve Renouf in doing so. Pictures: Fox League/Getty Images


Precious. Soft. Privileged. Knobs.

These are the four words Brisbane great Steve Renouf used to describe Broncos players allegedly upset over Kevin Walters' post-match spray following the team's meek surrender to Parramatta.

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Former teammate Gorden Tallis urged Walters to 'write a line through' those players who can’t handle the heat coming from the kitchen, saying he wouldn’t want to play alongside the whingers.

The Brisbane coach spent several minutes berating his side for a listless and lame performance which has left them on the finals exit ramp.

They are scenes rarely seen in today's sporting arena, where players routinely laugh and joke with the opposition after a defeat.

Most modern-day coaches forgo the fire and brimstone for calmness and reassurance.

For every Craig Bellamy, there is now a Craig Fitzgibbon, Todd Payten, Ivan Cleary or, from next year, Cameron Ciraldo.

They prefer a quiet word away from the cameras, usually a day or two after the dust has settled on a game.

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Full-time sprays might feel good at the time, but they don't work on this generation.

Even Des Hasler, who famously ripped a door from its hinges before launching a halftime tirade a number of years ago, has dialled things back for fear of upsetting an already fractured playing group.

One coach with a pedigree across top level rugby league and union told Yahoo Sport Australia: "You'd be surprised how many players don’t even know who they're playing from week to week.

"The game doesn’t consume them. They don’t watch it in their downtime. Losses don’t hurt that much.

"They don’t have to go to work and face the world the day after a loss. They are cocooned from criticism so when they are given some straight medicine, they don’t always like it.

"Coaches walk on eggshells because you know if you over-step the mark and go off, then you risk alienating players.

"Next thing you know you've got a manager on the phone demanding a release."

Walters' outburst will get a response from the players this week.

It just might not be the one he planned on.

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