Revealed: 'Coach Whisperer' inspires gung-ho Queensland coach Walters

When Kevin Walters threw decades of Queensland Origin tradition out the window by forgoing underdog status in favour of a bullish, ''expect to win'' mentality, it was a startling change in tack from the Maroons coach.

Now his motivations have become clearer: Walters has been working with Bradley Charles Stubbs, the famed 'Coach Whisperer' who has been a secret weapon behind at least two NRL premierships, an A-League crown and an ally of numerous high-profile national team mentors, including Michael Cheika, Eddie Jones and Graham Arnold.

Walters and Stubbs were pictured on the former's Twitter account on May 8 soon after Walters had completed one of Stubbs' 'Expect To Win' sessions, which cost $5500 for an hour of mind-coaching. The QRL has confirmed Walters sought out Stubbs for guidance as part of his annual professional development.


'EXPECT TO WIN' blared the tweet and Walters echoed that time and again as he went on the front foot following the Maroons team announcement. He 'expects to win' game one and gave a glowing endorsement of the members of his 17-man squad that has been tasked with the job.

"We’re ready. This is war. This Queensland team is going to be so prepared for this match. We’re at home and are going to put on a performance everyone can be proud of. It’s on," Walters said.

"I’m here to talk about the Queensland team and how good a side … a great side … that we’ve picked for Origin I. The belief is there … I expect to win game one for the Maroons. With the team we’ve picked, I expect to win game one.

"The other team, they can do what they want. My focus is this Queensland side and getting the ultimate performance from them on Wednesday night and I expect that performance. If we get that performance, we will win. And I expect that to happen."

It was a press conference that had all the hallmarks of some of the Coach Whisperer's key messages. In an interview with the Herald in 2018, Stubbs said he put a huge emphasis on public statements from coaches. Like Yoda, he doesn't tolerate the word 'try'. Words like 'hope' and 'maybe' are fellow pariahs.

The 'other team' Walters was referring to was NSW. He steadfastly refused to comment on the Blues, or even say their name, which has been another Stubbs tactic in the past. He once instructed former Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold to drop the 'Victory' from rivals 'Melbourne' and had Cheika call the All Blacks simply 'New Zealand'.

Something must work. He was on board at stages with Trent Robinson and Michael Maguire when the Roosters and Souths won their most recent premierships and now wears a premiership ring Robinson gave him as a sign of gratitude.

He has clearly had an impact on Walters as well, who has wholeheartedly embraced some of his ideas as he tries to steal a march on the Blues in game one in Brisbane.


There was the occasional slip-up when Walters caught himself going off-message. "We want to …" he said, before adjusting the sentence. "We will win game one and that's why we picked those players."

QRL managing director Rob Moore said Walters had run the idea past his employer and they endorsed his chosen personal development path for the year. Previously, he had gone to the UK to work with some leading rugby coaches.

"We had a couple of chats and he said he wouldn’t mind doing a bit of work with him, which is what happened," Moore said.

"That’s one of the good things about Kevvie, he’s looking to develop himself all the time as well. Each year he does one and when he rang me about this one, I had a bit of a look and he’s worked with some pretty impressive people in the past. So why not?

"We sign off on it and I thought it was a good thing to do, something a little bit different. I felt it was of really good benefit."

Stubbs replied to messages from the Herald but didn't elaborate on his work with Walters. He does relatively little media but provided some insights last year into his methods, which he said he had developed over three decades of study.

“It’s all about us: the next training session, the next weights session,” Stubbs said. "You never talk about the opposition. Because I’ve studied the human mind for over 30 years, there are such things as 'power words' that the subconscious mind reacts to."

That is all well and good but now Walters must hope he has sufficiently empowered his side enough to deliver against the current holders of the Origin shield. If not, it will only give NSW more mud to sling his way should they take out the series again.

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