Sport

VIDEO: Wendell backs Walkers as NRL coaches in waiting

READY AND ABLE: Jets mentors Ben and Shane Walker deserve their chance as NRL coaches says Wendell Sailor.
READY AND ABLE: Jets mentors Ben and Shane Walker deserve their chance as NRL coaches says Wendell Sailor. Rob Williams

LEAGUE legend Wendell Sailor has endorsed Ben and Shane Walker as NRL coaches in waiting and backed the Ipswich NRL bid for good measure.

The Broncos premiership winner was in town on Sunday to play for the Bulls Masters against the Brisbane Heat in a Twenty20 cricket exhibition match where he spoke to the QT.

Sailor, who was a teammate of the Walker brothers at Brisbane, has admired the way the Jets have played expansive and entertaining rugby league while winning the Intrust Super Cup and NRL State Championship premiership.

Sailor said the Walkers had done their apprenticeship as head coaches at the Jets and deserved elevation to the big time.

"I've got no doubt they will make good NRL coaches. I've played with both of those guys throughout my career," Sailor said.

"They think outside the square so if you're an NRL club you'd be crazy not to get both these guys on board at the moment.

"The coaching merry-go-round can be very cruel but those two guys would add a lot to any team."

Sailor pointed out that "Newcastle had an opportunity" to sign the Walkers for 2016 but elected to go with Nathan Brown instead.

The Walker brothers have also been linked with possible future moves to the Titans and Tigers if those clubs don't fire under their current head coaches in 2016.

Sailor said the Walkers chance would come "if they keep doing what they're doing".

"I'm not saying everything they do will work but there's certainly a lot of stuff you could implement in an NRL team," he said.

"They're always so confident on the attacking side of football.

"Rugby league has become so defence orientated and sometimes we forget we've got some of the best attacking players in the competition, so I think they've brought that back."

Rugby league expansion has been on the table for years. Whether it happens is anyone's guess.

The Ipswich region has a Western Corridor NRL bid which also encompasses Logan and the corridor west through to Toowoomba and out to Roma.

Sailor pointed to the great history of rugby league in Ipswich while confirming that he was not in favour of a second Brisbane metropolitan side in opposition to the Broncos.

"I would rather see a second team come from outside of Brisbane. I wouldn't like two teams based in Brisbane so I'd be all for (the Western Corridor team).

"There are a couple of clubs looking to expand and I know Ipswich has talked about it.

"They've had some great players come from there in the past."

As for 2016, Sailor believes the Broncos will be in the mix to claim a seventh premiership, but added they would have some stiff opposition.

"I think the Broncos would be there again. They're better for the experience this year," he said.

"Unfortunately I think they were the better side in the grand final but the Cowboys, as they did all year, found a way to win.

"I think the Roosters will be thereabouts again and I think the Bulldogs are going to be a team to beat."

Topics:  ben walker ipswich ipswich jets nrl shane walker wendell sailor



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