Kevin Walters has praised Adam Reynolds as the club’s first big fish under his tenure as the Broncos went from the wooden spoon to the Grand Final in three seasons under his guidance.
The Broncos’ 42-12 demolition of the Warriors in the preliminary final sets up their first appearance in the big dance since 2015 and they are bidding to win their first title since 2006.
“I’m actually feeling really good, it is a great achievement from everyone at the club,” Walters said in his post match press conference.
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“But also from where the club’s been to where we are now getting to the grand final it is a good feeling.
“I said that to the boys in there that feeling of knowing you are in the grand final is good.
“We need to enjoy that, but when we get back into work tomorrow or the next day just focus in on next week.”
Walters admitted he didn’t know what to expect when he took over the team that ran last in 2020, but he knew he had to get the right people to turn it around and Reynolds was first on his list.
“I wasn’t really sure, it was just a matter of getting the right people together,” Walters said.
“Adam (Reynolds) was a key signing. He was the first big fish that we got, so that sort of triggered a few other things.
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“When we signed him I remember going to meet him and his family in Mascot or somewhere near there and we just had an instant connection. I thought this is a bloke that we need to get.
“So we got him and then we gradually built it up over time. A lot of people have done a lot of really good work. Not just me or the players. The staff and a lot of people upstairs in the building have done a great job building this team to where we are now.”
If Reynolds was the first big fish, Walters was quizzed on what that makes Reece Walsh after he tore the Warriors to pieces to lead his side to the decider.
“He’s a bigger, faster fish,” Walters laughed.
“Not a bigger fish, but a younger one too. But again this is not one person’s work. This is a collaboration of a lot of people’s work and contribution to getting us to where we are.
“It is good to enjoy it, but tomorrow when we wake up we have got a big job ahead.
“Staff and players and everyone at the club in fact to make sure we get the week planned really well and get into Sunday and give ourselves every chance for another great performance.”
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Walters was also full of praise for his son and Broncos hooker Billy who scored a double in the preliminary final and called on his dad to make him a roast dinner on Sunday night.
“Yeah very proud, he can have it,” Walters said.
“That first try I could have scored that from dummyhalf. Billy had a great game tonight. He was instrumental in a lot of good things that we did out there.
“But Bill is a part of this team and everyone the thing I like about them is they are really selfless and they want to play with each other.
“We weren’t that great tonight to be fair, but we don’t have to be great tonight. We have got to be great next week.”
Reynolds too admitted he didn’t know what his Broncos career would be like after switching from the Rabbitohs, but he was confident he could be part of the solution.
“I didn’t know what to expect to be honest,” Reynolds said.
“I knew there was a lot of talent and a great coaching staff and I knew I could play a part in trying to get the club back to the great successful days.
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“But it is about the hard work and there has been a lot of hard work along the way. Tough pre-seasons and a few learning curves along the way.
“Obviously last year we had that bit of a hiccup, but we have learnt a helluva lot. We have grown through that period.
“I am a bit speechless at the moment. Obviously proud of the group and the club and another grand final how good.”
However, Reynolds reminded his side that they still have one victory to get to finish their goal.
“The job is not done yet,” Reynolds said.
“It is a great thing making grand finals, but it is even better winning them. We enjoy tonight and look forward to what’s to come.
“It is a tough challenge. Penrith have been one helluva team and they showed again on the weekend how good they can be and I know how good we can be as well.
“Looking forward to the challenge and just enjoying the week.”
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Reynolds thanked the Broncos for showing faith in him when Souths were willing to let him go and admitted he was hellbent on repaying them from day one at Red Hill.
“The Broncos showed faith in me and I wanted to repay that faith and play my best football as possible and I feel like I can do that with what we have got around us,” Reynolds said.
“We have got a great team right across the park and I’m just playing my role within the team. I am not doing anything special.
“I’m just going out there and doing my part like 16 other blokes on the field doing their part. It is enjoyable to be out there, I’m loving my time and I’m just excited for the week to come.”
Walters revealed the three keys to winning grand finals ahead of his bid to add a first as an NRL coach to his six as a player.
“Firstly to be well prepared,” Walters said.
“Second thing is to enjoy the week for what it is. It is a privilege to be involved in grand final week.
“The third thing is to just leave nothing in the tank on game day, which our boys have been good at.
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“But our best performance is still in front of us this year and we need to be at our best next week in the grand final.”
Walters reserved special praise for Walsh’s ability to put an early intercept behind him to finish with three try assists and six linebreak assists in a man-of-the-match display.
“No that is just something he is born with I think,” Walters said.
“I was fortunate enough to coach and work with Billy Slater at the Storm and he had the same mindset.
“It is definitely a great skill of his to do what he does, but then also to not so much forget, but to move on when he does make a mistake because he wants to try and make up for the error or mistake that he has done.
“We have all thrown intercepts and that’s just his character. He is very strong-minded to be able to do that because a lot of other players would fall by the wayside.”
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