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Broncos young gun Selwyn Cobbo is facing punishment for his explosive podcast comments regarding Kevin Walters’ coaching ability.
It comes amid reports Walters, 55, has kicked off contract negotiations.
Brisbane powerbrokers late last year reportedly began negotiating an extension for Walters beyond the end of the 2023 season, according to The Courier Mail.
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Walters was handed a one-year extension before the 2022 season kicked off as the Broncos surged into the top four before being sensationally bundled out of the finals race. The Broncos lost five of their final six games and were unable to break their three-year finals drought.
But according to chief executive Dave Donaghy, senior players were impressed by Walters.
“The feedback I’ve got from the senior players across the course of the pre-season is that training, preparation and the whole program has really stepped up. They are working incredibly hard and Kev is leading that,” Donaghy said.
“He is doing a great job and we are absolutely committed to continuing to support him, as we are with the entire football program, to help us get back to where we want to be.
“We all saw the progress last year. We got a bit sloppy at the back end of last season but we have reviewed it, learnt from it and implemented steps to improve it.
“The feedback I’m getting is that’s happening and I’m seeing strong progress across the course of the pre-season.”
Donaghy also emphasised the club’s focus on “stability and continuity” following a number of off-field incidents, including Cobbo and Tyson Gamble’s comments on Walters’ coaching.
“We’ve been through a lot of change over the last decade and haven’t had a lot of success. That’s not a coincidence,” Donaghy said.
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“Coaching the Broncos is a different beast. It’s a club that has a lot of eyeballs on it. We have the largest membership base, TV audience, social following and are in the heartland of rugby league.
“It’s not for everyone, but Kev’s done a great job bringing people together. He’s been terrific at connecting everyone involved in the footy club.”
Meanwhile, Cobbo’s comments on the ‘Back of the 135’ podcast in late October last year haven’t escaped the headlines.
In the podcast, the 20-year-old Broncos flyer was asked whether he thought Walters was a good coach or not, prompting an honest assessment of the former premiership winner.
“I reckon he’s a good person,” Cobbo said.
“He’s a good person, like a good bloke but I don’t think he’s a good coach. He’s not the best coach but he’s alright.
“I feel like he’s just a good person but I don’t reckon he’s a coach. Even though he experienced footy, been through all the grand finals and all that, but I feel like he’s not a coach.”
Cobbo himself had an inconsistent season, flying out of the blocks and earning an Origin call-up before spending time sidelined with concussion and fatigue late in the year.
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Donaghy said it was a big year for Cobbo in 2022, but explained he would be facing sanctions despite apologising to his coach.
“There was a lot for Selwyn to take in last year. At the end of the day he is a 20-year-old kid that’s had a pretty meteoric rise in the game,” Donaghy said.
“A big part of that rise has been through the support, understanding and nurturing of Kev. I don’t think he would have played Origin without that. A big part of his regret and remorse has been because he agrees with that.
“Selwyn has made a really significant error in judgment in agreeing to do a podcast without the club’s approval.
“I don’t want to punish him for eternity for it, but he needs to know what happened and what was said was totally unacceptable.
“He will be sanctioned for it because it’s a clear breach of club policy. We will deal with that internally and move on from this.”
The Brisbane Broncos have had a tumultuous season, with their head coach Kevin Walters recently signing a contract extension. However, the team has come under scrutiny following comments made by Selwyn Cobbo on a podcast, which resulted in sanctions and penalties from the NRL.
The Broncos have had a poor record in the finals in recent years, and the news of Walters’ contract extension was met with mixed reactions. Some fans were pleased to see the club stick with their long-time coach, while others were disappointed with the lack of progress the team has made in recent years.
Cobbo, a former Broncos player, made some controversial comments on a podcast, which resulted in the NRL issuing sanctions and penalties against the club. Cobbo had suggested that the team was not doing enough to support their Indigenous players, and that the coaching staff was not doing enough to develop their young talent.
The NRL has since issued a statement saying that they take such comments very seriously and will not tolerate any form of discrimination or vilification. They have also said that the Broncos had cooperated fully with the investigation and had taken appropriate steps to address the issues raised.
The Broncos’ finals record has been poor in recent years, and the team is currently languishing near the bottom of the ladder. However, Walters’ contract extension has given the team some hope that they can turn things around.
The team has been active in the transfer market, bringing in some new talent and making some big signings. They have also been working hard in pre-season training and are hoping to make a push for the finals this season.
The Broncos will be hoping that the sanctions and penalties imposed by the NRL will not have a negative impact on their season. They have a tough road ahead of them, but with Walters at the helm they will be hoping to make a push for the finals.