Kevvie Walters opens up about son Billy’s battle
He's the Queensland Origin coach who won his six premierships as a player with the Brisbane Broncos and Canberra Raiders.
But past loyalties won't stop a proud dad from barracking for Wests Tigers this year as Kevvie Walters' young bloke Billy now looks to forge out his own NRL career.
"Yes, I will be cheering for the Tigers," Walters told The Daily Telegraph with a laugh.
"I think they can go all the way."
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In a shootout with Josh Reynolds for the Tigers' dummy half duties, Billy has been named to start the final trial against the Warriors on Sunday ahead of Reynolds, while co-captain Moses Mbye is playing in the centres despite also training at hooker over the summer.
Also enhancing Walters' claims, it looks as though the mooted player swap with Paul Momirovski for young Melbourne hooker Harry Grant is well and truly over after the Storm's Brandon Smith suffered a facial fracture in the All Stars clash.
But while it appears as though young Walters may have benefited from his own Steven Bradbury moment, the reality is Billy only got lucky after years of painstaking perseverance.
Now 26, Billy is an especially late bloomer by NRL standards given he only got his debut for Melbourne last year during State of Origin.
That was the night an emotional Gorden Tallis broke down in tears on Fox Sports as he recalled the hard times the family went through after Kevie lost his first wife Kim to cancer when Billy was a boy.
Kevie also concedes the family surname didn't always make it easy given the expectation that goes with it.
"No, it doesn't. But I guess the one thing Bill has had is a lot of good support around him and his time in Melbourne was exactly what he needed," Kevie added.
"I don't interfere too much. I just try and keep him positive.
"He was in pretty good hands there at the Storm with Craig Bellamy and now with Michael Maguire, they are very good coaches.
"And I believe going to the Tigers with Benji Marshall there, I mean, how much is he going to learn off Benji?
"Because Benji will be different to Cooper Cronk who was different to Cameron Smith."
Asked if he believed Billy was more suited to five-eighth than hooker, Kevie quipped: "Whatever position is available in first grade. He can play either.
"It is tough going just to get a contract in the NRL.
"You see some of the names that haven't got full-time contracts and you think, 'well, how does that happen?'
"But there is only so many spots.
"But Bill is resilient and he will keep going until he gets there.
"That is one thing I do know."
Billy Walters, HFB/HOK, $201,000
Underrated cheapie prospect. Serious contender for a Round 1 starting spot and has handy dual position flexibility between halves and hooker. Only owned by 13 cent, which is massive unders.