Maroons coach Kevin Walters pictured addressing the media ahead of the Queensland State of Origin team announcement at Queensland Rugby League, Brisbane 27th of May 2019.  (AAP Image/Josh Woning)
Maroons coach Kevin Walters pictured addressing the media ahead of the Queensland State of Origin team announcement at Queensland Rugby League, Brisbane 27th of May 2019. (AAP Image/Josh Woning) AAP - Josh Woning

Walters needs to be careful as Origin tactics could backfire

OPINION: I must admit the tactics of Queensland coach Kevin Walters on Tuesday left me a bit baffled ahead of next Wednesday's State of Origin.

The Maroons were in Charleville on Tuesday with media gaining access to the players for the first time since the squad was announced on Monday. Then came the memo from Walters - no mention of the opposition, nothing about them, no questions.

The media was left stunned and the players themselves were forced awkwardly to answer as best they could by not talking about the opposition.

To me it raises the question of why?

The Courier-Mail yesterday published it was a way of getting the team to focus about themselves, rather the opposition.

And it comes from a person who has helped other big teams to achieve success.

But again why?

It doesn't help the players, it doesn't provide the media with what they want to know and it distracts from the match itself.

Last time I checked next Wednesday is important and Queensland does need to beat a team called New South Wales to win.

Not focusing on the opposition can work, I get it, but it can also fire the Blues up.

Self focus can also be bad, especially if you don't give the opposition respect.

This tactic hasn't been a definitive proof that it leads to a win. In fact I'd argue it has led to the opposite happening more times out of 10.

It also doesn't help to promote the game.

The rivalry between the Blues and Maroons is what makes the game.

Both teams and states hate each other.

Why deprive the public of that by failing to comment on the opposition.

It strikes to me as a desperate play by Walters to save his Maroon coaching career.

He is under pressure this campaign.

Walters and the side did well to come back in 2017 but could have easily lost the series.

They were completely outplayed last year and won a match that meant little to New South Wales.

A series loss this year could put the pressure on him to keep his job.

New South Wales will be out aiming to start their own dynasty and I'd argue game three last year is not a form guide as to what happens next week.

Walters can't use that as his guide to beating Blues this year, like he did on Monday in his press conference.

Instead, he should be focusing on how to stop the Blues and their forwards, the impact Damien Cook has on the game and how he can use Kalyn Ponga to win the series.

That is Queensland's best chance of winning, not by playing games by not allowing players to not speak of the Blues.