Brisbane coach Kevin Walters will hold clear-the-air discussions with his NRL squad amid reports of a player revolt at the Broncos.
The Broncos have begun a mid-season restructure after Thursday’s 46-0 hiding at the hands of South Sydney left the former powerhouse bottom of the ladder with just three wins from 15 matches in Walters’ first season at the helm.
Forwards Tevita Pangai Jnr and Matt Lodge have both been told they are free to speak to rival clubs while recruitment head Peter Nolan and high performance chief Andrew Croll were sacked in the wake of the loss to the Rabbitohs.
Reports on Sunday emerged claiming players were confused by what they described as “mixed messages” from Walters and a lack of certainty over selections.
The Broncos great, who won five premierships as a player at Red Hill, said the suggestion he’d lost the dressing room had caught him unawares.
“Disappointed, firstly, and shocked,” Walters told Triple M radio.
“I don’t believe it’s true. One of my key assets as a coach is my relationship with people and particularly the players.
“We may have some players here that are a little bit unhappy with the situation that they find themselves in. Matt Lodge and Tevita Pangai are both, unfortunately because of our salary cap and where our roster is at, we’ve said they can look at options with other clubs.
“I’m not saying it was those two but I just feel it’s a bit unfair to be honest.”
Broncos players are currently on a six-day break ahead of next weekend’s bye but Walters said he’ll be looking to address the issue as soon as they return to Red Hill next Sunday.
“I don’t want to make it personal with any of the players,” he said.
“When we get back together as a group I’ll address it then … I don’t see a problem there but I will obviously talk to the players about it certainly, bring it to a close.”
Walters also dismissed speculation over his own future, saying while there was no doubt the job of turning around the Broncos’ fortunes was “tough” he still felt he had the tools to handle the position.
He added the need to undergo a dramatic and immediate transformation of the club’s playing roster and off-field staff was just a necessary outcome of their form over the past two seasons.
“We’ve used 32 players. I’ve given everyone in the squad basically an opportunity to show us, and show the club and show our fans, sponsors what they can do in the first-grade arena,” he said.
“That’s been a disappointing thing as well … if you keep doing the same thing over and over, nothing’s going to change.
“I feel I’ve been extremely fair in that regard about giving players opportunities to come into the side and show us what they can do.”