Brisbane need more Tom Deardens. Image: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images
Brisbane need more Tom Deardens. Image: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Broncos must look to build on Queensland talent

The Broncos started up as a club to enable Queenslanders to play in the best rugby league competition while living in their home state.

Maybe it should be remembered amid the analysis of their retention and recruiting options.

The Broncos strayed from their Lewis-and-Miles charter in recent years when they got wrapped up in recruiting and retaining players who happened to be from New Zealand or NSW.

These include current hot-property free agent Tevita Pangai Jnr and two more, Payne Haas and Matt Lodge, who seem set to stay at Red Hill long term.

The Broncos' recruiting is at least heading in the right direction when you consider in the present and future Tully's Tom Flegler and Goondiwindi's Pat Carrigan will be taking hit-ups which will allow Acacia Ridge's Anthony Milford and Mackay's Tom Dearden to go to work.

The key for the Broncos in their patient rebuild towards a premiership is that talented boys and their families from places like Rockhampton, Toowoomba and Brisbane will have their imaginations fired by how the lads from Tully and Goondiwindi are going.

It was a win for the Broncos that Dearden and his family came away from a restaurant with Roosters powerbroker Nick Politis - a man used to hearing "yes'' - and elected that he would stay with the Broncos.

It was well and truly time for the Broncos to kick Queensland recruiting goals.

 

Brisbane need more Tom Deardens. Image: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images
Brisbane need more Tom Deardens. Image: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

 

The NRL's flagship club with unmatched resources did not haul in Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater, Greg Inglis and Cameron Munster with their statewide dragnet.

It's been suggested that if Pangai, from Newcastle via the Raiders, joins a Sydney club in 2020 and spurns a three-year Brisbane deal that it's a "disaster'' for the Broncos. If he does re-sign with Brisbane, it's hard to see how they can keep all their younger forwards over the same time period.

A couple of the younger forwards do speak highly of the example Pangai, 23, sets them in the care he takes in his preparation. So he's got that going for him.

 

Melbourne Storm prop Christian Welch is set to debut for Queensland next Wednesday night. Picture: Darren England/AAP
Melbourne Storm prop Christian Welch is set to debut for Queensland next Wednesday night. Picture: Darren England/AAP

 

The nightmare scenario for the Broncos is that Craig Bellamy, having brought Munster and Brodie Croft in from Queensland to revitalise Melbourne, might conjure the next great Queenslander from behind a McDonald's counter or wherever the hell Storm gets them from.

Storm forward Christian Welch, who I believe is an excellent chance of being named in his first Queensland team on Monday week, is an example of how NRL recruiting is such an imprecise, but valuable science.

Welch says he was "an inside centre or flyhalf'' for the Villanova College First XV rugby union team in 2011 while playing club union, other than one year of under-14 league for Easts Carina.

The raw boned teen was invited to train in 2012 with a Broncos development squad by recruiter Paul Bunn, with the option to train at Red Hill during the next pre-season.

Bunn saw the makings of a front-rower in his size and frame and when Bunn was hired by the Storm there was a two-year deal for Welch at the end of 2012 with the Melbourne under-20 team.

By such hunches and wise networking are club fortunes made.

News Corp Australia


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