Sport Wests Tigers are genuine NRL premiership contenders, says Queensland Origin coach Kevin Walters

05:26  16 april  2018
05:26  16 april  2018 Source:   Sporting News

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The high-flying Wests Tigers are the real deal according to Queensland State of Origin coach Kevin Walters.

The surprise packet of the 2018 NRL season so far, the Tigers are fourth on the ladder with five wins from six games.

Ivan Cleary's side earned a 38-12 demolition of Manly on Sunday to consolidate their place in the top quarter of the ladder.

The side, which many pundits predicted would be wooden spoon contenders, are equal on points with the Panthers and Warriors.

Speaking on The Big Sports Breakfast on Monday morning, Walters said it was time to start taking the Tigers seriously as a premiership threat.

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QUEENSLAND legend Kevin Walters has confirmed his desire to take over as coach of the Maroons next year. “I don’t even know what that timeframe is for them to make their decision, but certainly I’m very keen on the post,” Walters told NRL .com.

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"Normally after six rounds, you get a good judge of what's happening in the competition," he said.

"I believe they are the real deal. I've watched them play pretty closely the last couple of weeks.

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Queensland Maroons coach Kevin Walters will look to take a new approach to the senior Queensland Emerging Origin squad next season. “Corey Norman is a player who has been on our horizon for some years and we feel the time is right to bring him in,” Walters said .

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"They're just keeping it really simple, and again yesterday, they scored some good tries - some really good tries.

"They've got some simple plans, they've got some good go-forward, some really good halves and a really good fullback - he's only a young player, but he's doing all the right things.

"Speed on the flanks is the key to a good, successful footy side as well, and they can score length of the field tries.

"It's a big thing in the game today and they've got enough speed out wide to do that.

"They're the real deal, I believe, and if they continue to perform the way they do, they've got every right to claim they're the real deal."

Walters, who played for the Broncos and was, until recently, Brisbane's assistant coach, even admitted the Tigers should have beaten his old side.

Wests were robbed of a win due to a controversial late penalty.

"They should be (undefeated), the loss against the Broncos, that was a bit of an indifferent call against them," Walters said.

"But they'll give it back to them down the track. They'll be sitting nicely where they are and it's a direct result of their commitment and their attitude towards their football."

Walters left the Broncos early in April to focus on Queensland's State of Origin campaign.

The Tigers will be looking to carry their round six form into next week's match with the Knights in Tamworth.

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