Walsh just another brick in Broncos wall: Walters
Kevin Walters is trying to build the 'brick wall Broncos' this year and his mantra ahead of the home Queensland derby clash with North Queensland on Friday night is all about defensive resilience.
He wants Broncos debutant Reece Walsh to be another brick in that wall.
It was defensive clout that secured Brisbane a 13-12 win over Penrith last week with a noted improvement in goal line defence from last year.
In 2022 the Broncos conceded 550 points at an average of 23 per match. Coach Walters wants to bring that average way back to 12 or 13, the sort of numbers premiership winners boast.
When Walters played in the early 1990s Brisbane's forwards were known as the 'pop gun pack'. Not big, apart from the brutish and brilliant Glenn Lazarus, but tough as nails and defensively resilient with the likes of Trevor Gillmeister, Alan Cann and Mark Hohn stiffening up opponents once Walters and company had torn them apart in attack.
When Walters speaks about his team at length to media he keeps coming back to defence. Mention what fullback Walsh might offer in attack against the Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium as an 'X-factor' on his Broncos debut for instance and he's straight onto it.
"That's not what we are looking for tomorrow night," Walters said on Thursday.
"We want him to be strong ... with his organisation in defence. That's the big one for us.
"Selwyn (Cobbo) did a great job last week organising our defence. Walshy loves a chat as well so it will be good to see him back there pushing the guys into the right positions defensively."
Sure, Walters wants Walsh to run and do all the creative things that come naturally. The Broncos have plenty of players that can do that, but there is one thing Walters wants his team to be known for this year.
Brisbane's pack, led by Payne Haas and Pat Carrigan, were superb last week and will need to be again.
"Tomorrow night is about us showing everyone where we are defensively more than anything else," Walters said.
"We are making sure it is in the best possible shape it can be at this time of year. There are going to be some errors. I get that, but generally we want to show everyone how proud we are of our defensive line."
It was put to Walters that centre Kotoni Staggs offered plenty in attack at his explosive best.
"I thought he was really good defensively last week Kotoni and once he gets that part of his game in order everything else is going to follow," he said.
The message couldn't be clearer from the coach. Walters is overseeing his own 'Department of Defence' at the Broncos. He is hanging his hard hat on it.