Brisbane Broncos, NRL 360, Kevin Walters, Ben Ikin, live television clash, James Hooper, Phil Rothfield, Dave Donaghy

The reason behind the rift between Broncos coach Kevin Walters and head of football Ben Ikin has been revealed amid a heated live television clash.

Veteran journalists Phil Rothfield and James Hooper went head to head on NRL 360 on Monday night arguing about whether Gorden Tallis crossed the line assessing the rift between Walters and Ikin.

Tallis has leapt to the defense of Walters after reports he froze Ikin out of critical football department decisions this season.

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Hooper revealed the “genesis of the beef” started last year when Ikin was hired without Walters’ knowledge.

Broncos legend Tallis said on Sunday that his former teammate Ikin should be a “lackey” for Walters and not hold more power than the coach.

Rothfield called Walters’ behavior “insecure” and slammed Tallis’ comments, which ignited his debated with Hooper.

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Rothfield: I thought Gordie was way out of order, we worked here with Ben Ikin for a long period of time, he has a great football IQ, he was hired there to do a job, I think Kevvie needs help, I think Kevvie should concentrate on coaching the football side and let Ben Ikin do the strategic stuff.

Hooper: I don’t think Gordie was way out of order Buzz, what Gordie was doing was defending his mate.

Rothfield: I love Gordie Tallis, he’s outspoken, he’s entitled to his opinion, he knows what he’s talking about. I just think he’s overstepped here.

Hooper: I disagree. He was defending his mate and would defend Kevvie until the end of the earth.

Rothfield: Sometimes in this game you have to forget who your mates are.

Hooper: No you stand up for your mates Phil, but that’s all right if you want to throw people under the bus.

Rothfield: Who am I throwing under the bus?

Hooper: Why would Gorden Tallis not defend Kevin Walters who he has gone into battle with, won three premierships with, why would he not stand up for his mate?

Rothfield: What you’ve got to do James, when you work in the media you’ve got to have a wider view outside your mates. You’ve got to look at what’s wrong with the Broncos and tell it as it is and whether Kevvie or Ben is in the wrong… You always look after your mates but you can’t let friendship cloud your opinion on things. That’s what I’m trying to say and I thought his spray was too heavy, calling Ben Ikin a lackey.

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The NRL 360 panel slammed Brisbane CEO Dave Donaghy for failing to clearly establish between Ikin and Walters exactly who was responsible for what parts of the club.

“The general manager of football which is the role that Ikin has got is an increasing role in the game and will continue to become a bigger role in the game because the job is too big for just the head coach to run a football club,” Paul Kent said.

“That’s why they have physios and trainers and strength and conditioning guys, it’s too big a job.

“There is a specialized role there that Ikin has taken on and he needs to be allowed to do his job.

“Kevvie Walters is still a very inexperienced coach and learning how to do his job, so he really does need help, Kevvie, and I think there has been an acknowledgment between the two in the past few weeks that they do need each other and they will begin working more closely with each other.”

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