The reason for the rift between Broncos coach Kevin Walters and football boss Ben Ikin has been revealed in a heated live televised battle.
Veteran journalists Phil Rothfield and James Hooper squared off on Monday night’s NRL 360, arguing over whether Gorden Tallis had crossed the line in assessing the rift between Walters and Ikin.
Tallis has jumped to Walters’ defense after reports he kept Ikin out of critical football department decisions this season.
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Hooper revealed the “genesis of the beef,” which began last year when Ikin was hired unbeknownst to Walters.
Broncos legend Tallis said Sunday his former teammate Ikin should be a “lackey” to Walters and have no more power than the coach.
Rothfield called Walter’s behavior “unsafe” and criticized Tallis’ comments, sparking his debate with Hooper.
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Rothfeld: I thought Gordie was totally out of control, we worked here with Ben Ikin for a long time, he has a great football IQ, he was hired there to do a job, I think Kevvie needs help, I think Kevvie was supposed to focus on coaching the football team and let Ben Ikin do the strategic things.
Hooper: I don’t think Gordie was totally out of his mind, buzz, what Gordie was doing was defending his mate.
Rothfeld: I love Gordie Tallis, he’s outspoken, he’s entitled to his opinion, he knows what he’s talking about. I just think he went too far here.
Hooper: I do not agree with you. He defended his mate and would defend Kevvie to the ends of the earth.
Rothfeld: Sometimes in this game you have to forget who your friends are.
Hooper: No, you stand up for your buddies Phil, but that’s fine if you want to throw people under the bus.
Rothfeld: Who do I throw under the bus?
Hooper: Why wouldn’t Gorden Tallis defend Kevin Walters, who he went into battle with, who won three premierships with, why not stand up for his pal?
Rothfeld: What you have to do James, when you work in the media, you have to look beyond your buddies. You have to look at what’s wrong with the Broncos and say what it’s like and whether Kevvie or Ben is wrong… You always care about your buddies, but you can’t let friendship cloud your opinion of things. That’s what I’m trying to say, and I thought his spray was too strong to call Ben Ikin a minion.
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The NRL 360 panel criticized Brisbane CEO Dave Donaghy for failing to establish between Ikin and Walters exactly who was responsible for which parts of the club.
“The general manager of football, that’s the role that Ikin has, is playing an increasing role in the game and will continue to play a bigger role in the game because the task is too big for just the head coach to run a football club.” said Paul Kent.
“That’s why they have physios and trainers and strength and conditioning guys, it’s too big a task.
“Ikin has taken on a specialized role there and needs to be allowed to do his job.
“Kevvie Walters is still a very inexperienced coach and learning how to do his job so he really needs help Kevvie and I think there has been an acknowledgment between the two over the last few weeks that they are going to need each other and they work closer together.”
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