Walters to join Wayne Bennett at Newcastle
FORMER Ipswich Jets coach Kevin Walters is set to reunite with Wayne Bennett as he takes up a role as Newcastle Knights halves coach in 2014.
Walters, who won five premierships under Bennett as a player at the Broncos, has worked under Bennett as an assistant coach at Brisbane.
Bennett did sack him at the end of the 2005 season, along with Gary Belcher and Glenn Lazarus.
But Walters bounced back from that disappointment to co-coach the Ipswich Jets to the Intrust Super Cup grand final in 2008 in a coaching stint where he transformed the club.
He then became head coach with Catalan in the Super League before linking with Craig Bellamy at the Melbourne Storm as assistant coach where he enjoyed premiership success in 2012.
Walters' former Broncos team-mate and current Ipswich co-coach Shane Walker said Walters' experience in the halves as a player, his coaching experience and ability to help players relax made him ideal for the role.
"Kevvie has got quite a bit of experience in coaching now and has worked under arguably one of the best modern-day coaches in Craig Bellamy, and maybe Wayne wants to tap into that experience," Walker said.
"He's had vast experience with his own side in France, which would have presented its own set of challenges.
"Wayne obviously sacked him at the Broncos, so he must have seen some improvement in him under Bellamy.
"But I think Kevvie holds a special place in Wayne's heart.
"Kevvie is in that old-school mould where he doesn't take football too seriously, and from what I'm led to believe a lot of the fun has gone out of the game in the professional ranks these days.
"At the Broncos Kevvie and Alfie (Langer) were able to make light of most situations, and sometimes that is what you need.
"He could be a good foil for them down there.
"He knows the simplistic nature of Wayne's approach to the game, so if the Newcastle halves are complicating things in their minds too much then Kevvie would be able to set them on the right track."