‘Don’t want to embarrass him’: Why Reynolds is behind Broncos’ biggest improvement
Kevin Walters believes Adam Reynolds’ kicking game is a big reason for his side’s defensive turnaround after they produced arguably their best game of his tenure in a 38-0 win over Manly.
Walters watched his side put on six special tries against Manly, but he was more impressed with holding the opposition to nil.
“It was certainly up there,” Walters replied when asked if it was the best Broncos game he has coached.
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“The nil scoreline was really pleasing and the way we started the game. I thought that was the best start we have had to a game since I’ve been here. It was really good. Really pleasing.”
Walters explained that a good kicking game, like the one his captain is producing on a weekly basis can turn poor defensive teams into good ones over night.
“I don’t want to embarrass Adam too much but for the last few years we haven’t been able to finish our sets off the way we would like to for different reasons,” Walters said.
“And he is one of the best kickers in the game so that really helps your defence. Where you turn the ball over and how you turn the ball over.
“I think you saw in the first 20 minutes of the game tonight his influence over where we turned the ball over. It has got a big say on things.”
Walters believes the improved defence and fitness of the side is the reason they have won four games in a row for the first time since 2017.
“I think the inclusion of some senior players in Adam Reynolds, Kurt Capewell and Ryan James has been a part of that as well,” Walters said.
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“And just the attitude and the steel of the players to actually change what was happening.
“You can talk about things and try and do things, but the actual change has got to come from within.
“That’s been the big turnaround for us is out attitude in defence. It is great to see.
“It is not just one or two things it is a lot of things and we are fit.
“I remember talking to Adam just after Christmas and I asked him what he thought about our fitness and he said, the boys are fit. They are fit and they are ready to go.
“So that was something that wasn’t going to stop us from what we wanted to do because it takes a lot of energy in defence to do what they are doing and you have to be fit.
“It is a lot of things combining into what is shaping as some really good teamwork happening out there, particularly in defence.”
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However, Walters stopped short of saying his side was finals bound after they cemented their top eight spot on the eve of the Origin part of the season.
“The finals picture comes from what these guys are doing every week at training so we are not focusing on it,” Walters said.
“There is some outside noise about where you are going to finish and what you are going to do, but the inside noise is all about just getting better each week and getting that teamwork that you need to do in defence.
“For the first time in the club’s history we had two guys from the grand final join us, so they have got big bash experience.
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“They know how to do things and it is rubbing off on everyone.”
Broncos skipper Reynolds had no doubt the team he joined in November could turn around their poor defence from the last few seasons.
“I’m not surprised,” Reynolds said.
“I train with these guys every day and I know the talent that sits in the room. It is just about putting it all on the page and getting everyone together.
“My job is pretty easy. I go out there and steer the boys around. I ask them to do a simple job and they get it done.
“Like Kev said, it comes from all the hard work we are doing at training. It has been an enjoyable pre-season and start to the season so we are just building.”
Reynolds continued his sparkling run of form with two try assists and a freak chip and chase try, but wouldn’t be drawn on whether he was in career best form.
“I don’t know you judge that, I’m just happy doing what I’m doing,” Reynolds said.
“I’m enjoying my footy. I love turning up to training and working hard with the boys. It is a great place to be Brisbane.
“Growing up in Sydney my whole life I never knew anything else so to get up here and mix it with the boys that I’m now with. My family is loving it so it makes life easy as well.
“I’m just enjoying the challenge. I knew it was going to be a challenge getting here day one. I tried to get to training early and set the tone.
“My job is to lead the boys around and give them a bit of guidance and there is a talented group there. They just need a bit of steering.”
Brisbane’s wingers had a day out against Manly with Selwyn Cobbo putting himself in the Origin frame with a hat-trick and reborn veteran Corey Oates notching a double and Walters was happy to see the pair crossing the stripe so regularly.
“If I think of the great Broncos teams over the years there are some great wingers and it is great to see when your wingers are scoring tries there is a lot of great work being done on the inside,” Walters said.
“I’m really happy for Corey and Selwyn. I love seeing Selwyn get into the open space. He has had a good couple of weeks so that puts him in a good position to move his game forward as well.
“He is scoring some tries which is good for him, but also his defence and the way he reads the defensive structure with Kotoni that has been terrific for us as well.”
Walters and Reynolds had no doubt Cobbo could handle Origin if the 19-year-old gets the call-up from Billy Slater.
“I think the bigger the occasion Selwyn could step up to it,” Walters said.
“But Selwyn needs to keep his feet on the ground and continue to play well and all those other things look after themselves when you do that.”
“He is certainly a talent,” Reynolds said of Cobbo.
“I just love seeing him smile. He is a kid that is out there trying his hardest. He is enjoying the challenge. He is out there doing the tough stuff that not everyone sees.
“But it is good to see him in open space.
“I don’t want to compare him to Greg because he is not Greg Inglis. He is Selwyn Cobbo and he is only going to get better.
“We are working really hard with him at training and he is a young kid that is eager to learn. When you are hungry like that you are going to go places.”
It has been quite the turnaround for Oates who was on the outer at the club after making a failed switch to the back row last season, but Walters had no doubt he could get back to his best.
“The only conversations we have had with Corey is that we want you to be the winger we know you can be,” Walters said.
“His defence is the best it has been in his career and on the back of that good defensive work that he is doing, he is scoring some tries.
“In the early days of Corey Oates he was a known try scorer. He has scored over 100 tries at the Broncos.
“It is the work done through the middle and the halves the way they are delivering the ball to him and it is a great reward for Corey because he has worked hard.
“He is aiming up every week it is good to see.”