Walters shared memories of his time at school where he and twin brother Kerrod were members of the GPS Rugby Premiership winning side in 1984, breaking a 50 drought in the process. He proudly displayed his jersey that he wore in the match and spoke of how much valuable support was given to him throughout his time at the school. By his own admission he and his brother were more at school for sporting pursuit rather than academic success.
“Our older brother Steve (Class of 1982) was the more academic one of us. His final score when he left school was probably what Kerrod and I got combined” joked Walters.
His career at the Broncos was extremely successful where he was member of five premiership winning teams but Walters spoke more the experience behind the scenes of playing with well known greats such as Wally Lewis, Steve Renouf, fellow Ipswich local Alfie Langer and IGS Old Boy Willie Carne (Class of 1988). Walters famously took over the five-eighth position from Wally Lewis and he was happy to share the reason behind the decision.
“It was actually Wally’s idea” said Walters. “He told Wayne (Bennett) that I was playing well at five-eight and he should move to lock. Wally could play anywhere so it was an easy transition.”
Walters turned to coaching after retiring in 2001 and joined his former coach, Wayne Bennet at the Broncos but was moved on in a cleanout of coaching staff in 2005. Seeing this as turning point in his coaching career he became the head coach of the Ipswich Jets before heading to France to coach the Catalans Dragons. In 2010 Walters returned with his family to join Craig Bellamy at the Melbourne Storm. Once teammates at the Canberra Raiders the two worked together for four seasons before being asked by Bennett to help him when he moved to the Newcastle Knights.
“I loved my time with the Storm. A very professional team both on and off the field” said Walters. “Craig is a very passionate coach but I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end if you made a mistake.”
Now the proud head coach of the Queensland State of Origin Maroons team, Walters is looking to this year’s series in the hope of regaining the title after last year’s loss to the NSW Blues. The passionate Queenslander is just as proud of roots and has never forgotten where it all began.
“I love Ipswich and the good people that have helped me along the way. I got so much support from my school and the community which I’ll never forget.”