Walters upbeat despite Ipswich exit - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Walters upbeat despite Ipswich exit

By Laine Clark 15/09/2008 03:35:14 PM Comments (0)

A sad farewell to his beloved Ipswich has hardly dampened former rugby league international Kevin Walters' spirits.

His dream of steering Ipswich to Queensland Cup glory may have been shattered by Souths-Logan's 24-18 grand final weekend win.

But Walters was as upbeat as ever as he eyed his next rugby league challenge - taking over the reins at French club the Catalans Dragons in the 2009 English Super League.

The stage was set for a fitting swansong after family and friends joined a packed North Ipswich Reserve for the Cup decider on Saturday.

And the former international was close to getting his wish, with scores locked up at 18-18 in the dying minutes.

However, it all ended in tears for the Ipswich faithful when Souths-Logan centre Kyle Lodge crashed over in the final minute and the video referee finally gave the green light after some anxious moments.

The heart-breaking loss ended a successful two-year stint for Walters in which he took the former wooden spooners to their first Cup minor premiership and final.

"It was emotional," Walters said of his Ipswich farewell.

"I had family and friends from Ipswich there, a lot of supporters, it was a huge day - we just didn't get the desired result.

"But when I look back at the season I am very proud of what the guys have achieved - we just didn't get the result on grand final day."

Then again, Walters is used to finding a silver lining.

The veteran of 241 games for the Broncos, Walters was surprisingly dumped as a Brisbane assistant by coach Wayne Bennett at the end of 2005.

But it opened the door to opportunities at Ipswich, a stint as Mal Meninga's Queensland Origin assistant and, of course, the prized gig at France.

No wonder Walters now believes his shock Broncos axing was "great for me".

Walters said it ensured he got out of the Broncos "bubble" and looked at coaching from a different perspective.

And there's plenty of positives to be found at the Catalans Dragons as well.

The Dragons are breathing fire in the Super League finals after thumping Warrington 46-8 in their weekend opener.

They take on Trent Barrett's Wigan in the second round of finals this weekend.

The Dragons are enjoying an historic season under departing coach Mick Potter, finishing third overall after the regular season to book their first finals campaign.

Next season the Dragons also welcome the likes of Jason Ryles and Steve Bell to a team already boasting Adam Mogg and Casey McGuire.

Walters leaves for France in November.

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