The depth of the Broncos spiral into the abyss has been revealed in a damning detail in the club’s botched recruitment war for the signature of David Fifita.
It emerged on Wednesday night the Broncos lost the 21-year-old star to the Titans last year following advice from his own teammate in Brisbane urging him to jump ship.
The damning symbol of how the highest profile club in rugby league has fallen apart was first revealed in a special report from The Courier-Mail.
Fifita’s decision to abandon the Broncos and take up a monster $3.5 million deal with the Titans stunned the Broncos last year.
It was reported last year the back-rower quit because he’d lost faith in the Broncos under the leadership of former coach Anthony Seibold.
The club can’t blame Seibold any more.
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The report details how a Brisbane teammate told Fifita to accept the Titans’ deal under the evidence that he would develop quicker through the Titans’ system under coach Justin Holbrook.
The rot at the Broncos is creeping across every facet of the club’s football department.
With one win from seven games the club is already preparing for 2022 — their 2021 campaign a waste of time for the next five months.
To make things even worse, the club’s plans for beyond 2021 are in disarray.
Halfback Tom Dearden announced his decision to join the Cowboys earlier this week.
David Fifita has been the best forward in the NRL this season.Source:Getty Images
With Dearden gone and star five-eighth Anthony Milford reportedly facing the prospect of not being offered a contract extension, the Broncos are reportedly discussing recruitment plays for Parramatta’s Mitchell Moses, Cronulla’s Shaun Johnson and even under-contract superstars Daly Cherry-Evans and Kalyn Ponga.
The club has no clear direction.
Their recruitment committee has become a laughing stock — the hunters becoming the hunted.
The Broncos were reportedly privately “filthy” after losing teenage sensation Reece Walsh to the Warriors.
Kotoni Staggs is yet to sign with the Broncos despite reports he has a $2.8 million, four-year extension on the table.
Xavier Coates is also yet to sign despite the club offering a three-year contract — and is reportedly flirting with a move to the Storm.
The club has also had to wear the black eye of watching young gun Sam Walker tearing it up for the Roosters — after the club let him slip through their fingers when they prioritised Dearden as their next long-term halfback.
Reece Walsh was another to flee the Broncos.Source:Getty Images
The Broncos have been linked to Penrith utility Kurt Capewell and South Sydney forward Jadyn Su’A — but the club is being forced to play more defence to keep the poachers out of the hen house.
The Broncos reportedly have 12 players still fighting to earn a contract extension for next season, including Milford, captain Alex Glenn, Jesse Arthars, John Asiata, Danny Levi, David Mead, Keenan Palasia, Ben Te’o and Tyson Gamble.
Matt Lodge has reportedly been told to find a new club with the Broncos reportedly prepared to pay as much as $1.2 million on the $2.4 million remaining on the final three years of his contract. Brodie Croft is also facing an uncertain future, despite remaining under contract beyond 2021.
When Fifita scored two tries in the Titans’ third straight win against the Broncos earlier this year it was clear that the Broncos had lost the right to call themselves the big brother club in Queensland.
Mitchell Moses reportedly has less than a month to decide if he wants to activate one more season on his contract with the Eels.Source:Supplied
“No longer the little brother, big brother is under the blowtorch, and the Brisbane Broncos… are suddenly in deep, deep trouble,” NRL legend Michael Ennis said during the Titans’ 28-16 win.
He said last year the loss of Fifita was an “alarming” blow for the Broncos as the club sank to its lowest ebb.
“It is an enormous blow for the Broncos,” he said.
“When you look at those sides that Brisbane had through their golden eras and Wayne Bennett’s mantra was that players stayed there for less because they wanted to be part of the Broncos and to stay to be part of a successful club.
“The fact that David Fifita and someone of his quality doesn’t believe he can achieve his best football at Brisbane is an alarming concern for the coach.”
The Broncos’ rot is settling in — and coach Kevin Walters is just one man in the eye of the storm.
It would take nothing short of a miracle for the Broncos to return to their former position as the premier force in the competition.
It does not appear that the Broncos’ recruitment committee — made up of football boss Peter Nolan, Broncos legend and club director Darren Lockyer and CEO Dave Donaghy — has a rabbit to pull out of the hat.
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