Queensland veteran Sam Thaiday admits new coach Kevin Walters faces a tough initiation but has backed him to stamp his authority in the wake of the Emerging Origin camp controversy.
Cronulla’s Valentine Holmes and Melbourne’s Cameron Munster have been banned from Queensland selection for a year after defying Walters and breaking curfew at the weekend camp in Brisbane.
Holmes is also being investigated by the NRL Integrity Unit after copping on-the-spot fines totalling $1412 for obstructing police and public nuisance at a Fortitude Valley cab rank early on Sunday morning.
And the QRL have not ruled out announcing more suspensions after reports emerged up to four other players ignored Walters at his first official event as Maroons coach and broke curfew.
Fox Sports and the Nine Network identified the other four players as Anthony Milford and Brisbane teammate Jarrod Wallace, Newcastle’s Korbin Sims and Sydney Roosters prop Dylan Napa.
Thaiday, who did not attend the camp, said senior players could help Walters who faced the daunting task of picking up where the successful Mal Meninga left off.
But the veteran backrower believed Walters had what it took to succeed as an Origin coach despite the disastrous start at the weekend camp.
“It is definitely going to be tough but we still have that core group of players who are going to put their hand up, we can help Kevvie out in his role,” Thaiday said.
“But he has to come in and do his own thing, make sure he puts his stamp on it.
“If you watch any old footage of Kevvie playing he is a fantastic leader and that will only transition into the way he coaches.”
Thaiday did not seem surprised Walters had thrown the book at Holmes and Munster.
“Being a new coach you really have to stamp your authority,” he said.
“Those guys have learned a hard lesson and will have to work their butts off for 12 months now and hopefully put their hands up next year to be picked.”
It adds to a less than ideal start to Walters’ tenure as Queensland coach.
Long time Maroons assistant Walters was initially overlooked when Meninga took up the Kangaroos reins, with the QRL opting for Cowboys premiership winning mentor Paul Green.
When Green knocked back the job, the QRL had to backflip and ask Walters whether he wanted the job.
Thaiday would not comment on reports his teammate Milford and Wallace broke the Emerging Origin camp curfew.