Kevin Walters is set to bring back the coach whisperer Bradley Charles Stubbs
Kevin Walters is set to bring back the coach whisperer Bradley Charles Stubbs

Maroons will recall ‘Coach Whisperer’ to beat the Blues

Kevin Walters will take the biggest gamble of his coaching career by recalling the controversial 'Coach Whisperer' to help Queensland snap New South Wales' quest for three State of Origin titles.

The Sunday Mail can reveal Walters will again hire Bradley Charles Stubbs, a self-styled motivational guru to Australia's top sporting coaches, in a bid to give the Maroons a psychological edge after back-to-back series defeats.

 

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Stubbs typically charges $5500 an hour for teaching his 'Science of Belief' program and Walters rolled the dice last year, engaging the services of a man who has worked with Roosters coach Trent Robinson and Socceroos legend Graham Arnold.

Stubbs was so confident he declared Queensland would win the 2019 series 3-0 _ they ultimately lost 2-1 _ and Walters came under fire from Queensland Rugby League chairman Bruce Hatcher for hiring him.

But despite the searing criticism and the methods of the Coach Whisperer being a key narrative of Queensland's series loss last year, Walters is sticking solid, insisting Stubbs can help the Maroons reclaim the Origin shield.

"I'll be reaching out to Bradley," Walters told The Sunday Mail.

"Bradley is a great fella, he has wonderful ideas and I love his professionalism and the way he goes about things.

"He's been a strong advocate and a good person to bounce things off and talk about things from a different perspective.

"Can I explain what he does? No. Will I try to? No. Do I believe in what he is doing? One hundred per cent I do.

 

A shattered Coach Kevin Walters after losing the State of Origin game 3 and decider between NSW and Queensland at ANZ Stadium in Sydney. Pics Adam Head
A shattered Coach Kevin Walters after losing the State of Origin game 3 and decider between NSW and Queensland at ANZ Stadium in Sydney. Pics Adam Head

"I've continued to use him post-Origin series. He's a great sounding board. He has a really strong mindset around belief and around doing everything right to make sure that team performs at its optimum capacity, and that's what I like about him."

Emboldened by Stubbs' private mentoring sessions, Walters' body language and behaviour appeared to change last season. The Maroons mentor banned Queensland players from using the words "Blues" and "NSW". When famously asked by the media before Game One last year if he was going mad, Walters: "No, I'm Kevvie Walters. I haven't lost the plot ... but my missus thinks I have sometimes."

Walters was so impressed by Stubbs' methods he invited him into camp to address the Queensland squad.

Stubbs has twice escaped from a mental ward after suffering a mental breakdown in the 1980s and claims his 'Expect to Win' methods can transform the mindset of an elite coach such as Walters.

Stubbs worked with former Souths coach Michael Maguire during the Rabbitohs' 2014 premiership win. But during last year's Origin series, Souths boss Shane Richardson slammed Stubbs, saying: "I promise you the players were not impressed by him. To be frank, he pissed them off. I want it known very clearly: the comp win belonged to the players, not Bradley Charles Stubbs. He is not welcome at our club."

The Coach Whisperer has previously worked with Trent Robinson, Michael Maguire and Graham Arnold.
The Coach Whisperer has previously worked with Trent Robinson, Michael Maguire and Graham Arnold.

Asked about Stubbs' prediction that Queensland would win 3-0 last year, Walters said: "He did tip 3-0, and not everyone gets everything right.

"We were only 30 seconds away from a series win to be fair, and nobody gave Queensland a chance.

"We won Origin I, nobody gave Queensland a chance. I know what happened in Origin II (thrashed 38-6 in Perth), and Origin III for me, for me that was the start of the building of this Queensland team and believing in the comeback.

"I like Bradley's mindset, his positive mindset more than anything else.

"I don't know how to explain it, but I find him a really good person to bounce things off, and I'll continue to do that.

"I've got a lot of self-belief in what I can do as a coach, and my record shows that, and we are building this year to something special.

"I've got the belief this team will win, it's very clear in my head how we'll go about it and it's going to happen."

Walters is off-contract after this year's series. Despite facing a third consecutive series defeat, the QRL has faith in Walters and is close to finalising an extension for the Broncos legend.

At the State of Origin launch in Adelaide, Kevin Walters said Queensland will win in 2020. Picture: AAP.
At the State of Origin launch in Adelaide, Kevin Walters said Queensland will win in 2020. Picture: AAP.

 

Former Queensland Origin lock Billy Moore backed Walters' decision to continue his association with Stubbs.

"Without a doubt, there will be a storyline around Brad Stubbs coming back to help Queensland again," Moore said.

"Ultimately, it's all about results and the outcome and what he delivers for Kevvie and the players around him. I'm not hung up on process, I'm hung up on results and if Kevvie thinks Stubbs brings something to him and the wider group, so be it.

"There's definitely pressure on Kevvie. If anything, the talk about The Coach Whisperer will take the heat off the players because people will be focusing on him more than the players.

"It's a Wayne Bennett tactic, look at the left hand while the right hand is doing something else.

"It's a big series for Kevvie. He needs to win this one. But I know personally, running my own business, you can derive great value from having a business or personal mentor.

"I'm a big believer that mentors can help you evolve as a person and make you bigger, better, stronger and smarter.

"Kevvie will be judged on his results and if Stubbs can help him win the series, good luck to him."