Queenslander Walters a good fit for Cowboys
MELBOURNE Storm captain Cameron Smith said he believes Kevin Walters would be an ideal choice to replace Neil Henry as coach of the North Queensland Cowboys.
Just four months after having his contract extended until the end of the 2014 season, Henry has been told he is not required beyond 2013.
Speaking at Storm training yesterday, Smith said the fact Walters, a former Broncos star and assistant to Craig Bellamy, was a Queenslander, was a big plus.
"He's a Queenslander so that's a great fit there already," Smith told reporters. "He's got a relationship with a lot of players at the Cowboys. He knows the majority of the players up there quite well so I think it would be a good fit. But I'm not going to comment on whether he should get the job or not."
Cowboys chief executive Peter Jourdain said with the team sitting well back in 13th place on the ladder with just six wins after Friday night's 18-16 loss to the Broncos, the club needed to "head in a different direction".
"To be fair to both Neil and the club, we have decided to make this decision now to allow both of us to explore our options for next year. The search for a new head coach will begin this week," he said. "Neil will continue as head coach for the remainder of this season as everyone in the club focuses on finishing as high as we can on the competition ladder."
It was in March that Jourdain had trumpeted Henry's performance in putting together a squad the club believed was capable of challenging for the 2013 NRL premiership.
In announcing the contract extension, Jourdain had said, "Neil has taken this club forward considerably and we look forward to him continuing in his role beyond this season.
"He has done a fantastic job in getting the club into the finals over the last two seasons and we are looking forward to further success this year."
Unfortunately for Henry, that success has not eventuated.
The Cowboys will need to win all six remaining games to have any chance of making the finals, starting with Saturday night's daunting home clash against ladder leader South Sydney.
Jourdain denied the club had already sounded out possible replacements, despite potential candidates such as Walters being suggested.
Others include Sydney Roosters assistant coach Paul Green, NSW Origin assistant Trent Barrett, former Parramatta caretaker coach Brad Arthur and former Hull KR mentor Justin Morgan.