Kevin Walters' brutal move as Broncos' mistakes in NRL grand final laid bare

The Brisbane Broncos were made to re-watch their loss to the Penrith Panthers in last year's decider.

Kevin Walters and Reece Walsh in the NRL grand final.
Kevin Walters made the Broncos watch a replay of the NRL grand final, after a number of blunders in the final 20 minutes including Reece Walsh failing to slide across. Image: Getty/Channel 9

Kevin Walters has revealed he made the Broncos squad watch a replay of their loss to the Panthers in the NRL grand final after they coughed up a huge lead to lose the game. The Broncos returned to pre-season training on Monday, and were made to re-live the horror final 25 minutes in which they gave away a 24-8 lead that looked like getting them home.

But Nathan Cleary turned the game on its head with an incredible solo performance, providing two try assists and the match-winning four-pointer as Penrith snatched a 26-24 triumph. Speaking to reporters at Red Hill on Monday, Walters revealed the group sat down and watched a replay of the grand final in an attempt to learn from their awful fade-out.

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“We watched some important pieces from the final," he said. "What we gathered is that we’re heading in the right direction as a team.

“We just came up with too many unforced errors in the game and we stopped playing at the back end of the game. Nonetheless, we’re ready for another great season at the Broncos. Things are never as bad as they seem or as good as they seem. I’m confident we’ll have a good season.”

One glaring example of how the Broncos 'stopped playing' came on the match-defining play when fullback Reece Walsh failed to slide across to cover the gap that Cleary strolled through to score. Walsh stopped moving when Cleary got the ball on the blind-side, but the Panthers halfback stepped back on the inside and ran straight past some tired Broncos defenders.

Dissecting the match-winning try on Channel 9 after the game, Johnathan Thurston pointed out that Walsh didn't "fill the space" created when his teammates slid to their right. Plenty of other fans and commentators also called out Walsh over the brutal mistake.

Kevin Walters confirms Selwyn Cobbo's switch to centre

Meanwhile, Walters has also revealed that Selwyn Cobbo will get first crack at centre after Herbie Farnworth's exit to the Dolphins. The 21-year-old Cobbo has played most of his 49 NRL games on the wing, but trained on Monday in the centre position that Farnworth made his own.

Cobbo's switch will leave Jesse Arthars, Deine Mariner and Corey Oates vying for the two wing positions. "It is the plan to move him into that role," Walters said of Cobbo going to centre. "He is probably a bit more natural there in the centres than on the wing and so far he has been really good there.

"We will find out more when we start playing and he starts doing all the things the great centres do. Selwyn is young and still maturing with his fitness levels and strength and they will get better as the year goes on, but his footy IQ is very good which you need in that centre role. Particularly defensively, that is where I feel he is going to be a good asset."

Reece Walsh and Darius Boyd during a Brisbane Broncos pre-season training session.
Reece Walsh (R) with Darius Boyd during a Brisbane Broncos pre-season training session. (AAP Image/Jono Searle) NO ARCHIVING

Walters said replacing Thomas Flegler would create a healthy competitive environment after the Queensland and Kangaroos prop also defected to the Dolphins. Keenan Palasia, who also played in the grand final, will also eed to be replaced after joining the Gold Coast.

The 21-year-old Xavier Willison is in the mix after shining in his rookie season, while experienced pair Martin Taupau and Corey Jensen will also be in contention. "Those three guys sat out last year's grand final and they will put themselves in the frame in the next six weeks and into round one," Walters said. "We encourage our younger players to come through and work hard and learn from guys like Patty Carrigan and Payne Haas who are pretty well entrenched in the side."

with AAP

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