‘Tactical juices flow’ as Reds boss goes back to roots

Murray Wenzel |

Broncos coach Kevin Walters, assistant Allan Langer and Reds coach Les Kiss (r) talk tactics.
Broncos coach Kevin Walters, assistant Allan Langer and Reds coach Les Kiss (r) talk tactics.

Les Kiss has gone back to his roots, tapping the brain of former rugby league rival Kevin Walters when the Queensland Reds coach spent the morning at Brisbane’s Red Hill NRL headquarters.

A former winger, Kiss played league in Brisbane and for North Sydney Bears, earning four Test caps for Australia and making four State of Origin appearances for Queensland between 1986-1990 before his eventual cross-code coaching transition.

Back in Brisbane after 26 years coaching in Australia, Europe and South Africa, he finally found a moment on Tuesday to visit his old sparring partner Walters ahead of the sides’ weekend games against Wests Tigers and the Auckland-based Blues.

Of particular interest to Kiss was the Broncos’ explosive offence that has flourished in the last 18 months behind halfback Adam Reynolds and fullback Reece Walsh.

“I used to play against Kevvy … it’s been a while,” Kiss told AAP. 

“I was there mainly to see how they plot lateral movements.

“As Kevvy said, it’s changed so much since we played. 

“It got the tactical juices flowing. There was some flow-over originally (when he began coaching union) and I’m trying to work league out a little bit more now.

“At the moment the Broncos are as good as you’ll get; there’s an energy there and I found it bloody interesting.”

Queensland Reds coach Les Kiss got plenty from his meeting with Broncos playmaker Adam Reynolds. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

He spoke at length with Reynolds and attack coach Lee Briers about how the halfback positions his forwards to expose particular opposing defenders.

“Adam’s a good, deep thinker of the game; you can see he’s that on-field coach that they talk about,” Kiss said.

“Watching him and Walsh working off a scrum, it was really compelling.

“They have the right guys being able to navigate the pitch to isolate opportunities.”

Kiss has already hosted Briers, the long-time Warrington and Wales five-eighth, at Ballymore while several strength and conditioning staff work across both clubs.

The Reds are 4-4 under Kiss, who took over from Brad Thorn this year. 

They have shown brilliant offence and historic defence – notching their first clean sheet since 1999 on Saturday – either side of a three-game losing streak.

A 2-1 record against New Zealand opponents so far this season is the Reds’ most Trans-Tasman scalps in a single campaign since 2013.

That includes an extra-time loss to the unbeaten Hurricanes, with the second-placed Blues and last-placed Crusaders still to play in the next fortnight.