One look at the World Club Series (WCS) has convinced Queensland coach Kevin Walters that his banned Emerging Maroons have quickly put their Origin camp drama behind them.
If only it had been that easy for Walters.
He admitted he had been very nervous since taking over the Maroons’ reins from Mal Meninga this year – an emotional state not helped by a disastrous Emerging Origin camp.
Just weeks into his tenure, Walters was forced to slap 12-month Origin bans on eight young guns after they broke curfew at the recent Brisbane camp.
Walters said judging by the way the banned players had strut their stuff in NRL clubs’ WCS whitewash of Super League teams in England last weekend indicated they had moved on from the controversy.
Half of the banned eight featured in WCS action – Ben Hunt, Anthony Milford, Jarrod Wallace (Brisbane) and Dylan Napa (Sydney Roosters).
“From what I have seen with some of the performances from the boys in the World Club Series, they are getting on with things and that’s what we expect them to,” Walters said.
Walters insisted he had put the camp drama behind him but admitted it had been tough.
“It was an awful time, to be honest,” he said.
“I just tried to handle it the best I could.
“There’s always rough waters.
“Sometimes, there are some dry gullies you have to go through, but we’ve done that and moved on.
“I am certainly content with the decision that we made – the players understand now also.”
Walters admitted the incident had hardly settled his anxiety since taking over from Meninga who won nine of the past 10 Origin series.
“I have been very nervous since I got the job, to be honest,” he said.
“Each day I wake up, it’s one of the first things on my mind.
“I am very proud to be given the opportunity.
“I want to make sure I do everything possible to make this as successful as it can be.”
His nerves would not have been eased by recent news that Queensland captain and veteran Melbourne hooker Cameron Smith wanted to coach the Maroons in the future.
Told of Smith’s claim, Walters said: “The Melbourne boys (Smith, Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater) have an eye on the future now.
“He (Smith) is a very smart footballer and great guy.
“I am just fortunate he is part of my side rather than the south.”
Walters did not see the point in making any bold predictions ahead of his debut Origin series.
“If you said 10 years ago Queensland are going to win nine of the next 10 series, everyone would have laughed at you,” he said.
“I am not looking past June 1 (Origin I in Sydney).”