Melbourne debutant Billy Walters has come to the defence of his dad and Queensland coach Kevin, saying no one is more passionate about the Maroons than him.
Tears were shed in the Storm dressing room when Kevin made an emotional jersey presentation to his son, who made his NRL debut in Melbourne's 16-14 NRL win over St George Illawarra at ANZ Stadium on Thursday.
After putting the Maroons through their paces in Brisbane in the morning, Kevin made a mad dash to Wollongong to watch his son make his first first-grade appearance.
Kevin's former Broncos teammate Gorden Tallis broke down on Fox League as he watched the pair share a moment in the WIN Stadium sheds, recalling what his good mate went through after his wife, and the mother of his three sons, Kim died from breast cancer in 1998.
"I was pretty young when it all happened but he was very strong, he had three young boys and he had my auntie who stepped in and helped, she was great for us," Billy said.
"He was very resilient and then he met Narelle, who is now his wife, she looked after us growing up.
"I was a punish growing up, I was very stubborn and probably still am.
"I pushed her to her limits and she stuck around and stayed strong. I definitely credit her a lot as well."
Kevin next week faces one of the biggest games of his life during the third and deciding State of Origin clash at ANZ Stadium.
After his at-times emotional press conferences and change in public persona this year, some have questioned his methods and speculated his job could be on the line, despite being contracted for 2020.
But Billy defended his father, pointing to his record as a player and a coach.
"He cops it every year from the armchair critics," Billy said.
"I get on (the internet) sometimes and I read the comments about the Origin team. There's always people with their opinions and stuff.
"I think someone like him, who's played 300 games, won six premierships, played 20 Origins, he definitely knows rugby league and it's in his blood.
"I know he definitely always makes the right calls when it comes to the Queensland team."
© AAP 2019