With three weeks until the 2019 NRL season starts, many of us are filled with hope that our team will do really well. Maybe they’ll even challenge for the premiership.
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The Broncos’ new breed of young forwards is the most eye-catching crop to emerge this year behind the possum residing on Darren Lockyer’s scone.
These youngsters’ rapid acclimatisation to NRL footy suggests they could emulate everything achieved by the club’s star-studded packs of yesteryear – only for someone else.
Thankfully for the rest of us, there is no way the Broncos can cage the lot forever, unless the club’s payroll software is an analogue odometer that ticks over to zero when it reaches 9999999.
But in good news for Brisbane fans, the savings can be put towards the remaining six dwarf statues to go alongside the new Allan Langer erection, or even a single Cleary.
Under the tutelage of the similarly baby-faced Wayne Bennett, young bucks such as Tevita Pangai Junior, Jadyn Su’a, Joe Ofahengaue and the palatable Fifita are producing match-winning performances for the Broncos second only to Billy Slater.
With every platform they supremely lay to be wasted by their halves, they are drawing comparisons to the club’s palatial forward pack of the 1990s.
This was a time when Brisbane enjoyed the services of Shane Webcke, Gorden Tallis, Glenn Lazarus, 256 other internationals, an All Black, the rest of the entire Queensland Origin side, and Brett Galea.
This team of unbeatables were celebrated among the league, enjoying an exalted status in Queensland and accusations of salary cap rorts in Sydney.
Such was the invincible Broncos’ profound effect on rugby league, it still influences the game to this very day.
Their six premierships reaped in this time are still celebrated yearly by the NRL, with months and months of preferential scheduling.
But times have changed from the days when playing for Brisbane “wasn’t about the money” because everyone would “play for Wayne for free”, which some alleged was formally true.
Nowadays, salary cap pressures and the youth’s desire to monetise hit-ups will ensure this current crop is partially vultured by desperately inflated offers from southern savages.
Of course, this is unless this group of young men develop a distinct disinterest in money, or lose their edge by doing something ridiculous such as having kids or taking up religion.
Otherwise, trends demonstrate one will specifically accept massive overs to retire and play for the Gold Coast Titans, and another a career stagnating at club level for the Queensland Reds on $35k per minute.
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Furthermore, retention will be made even more trickier considering the hindrance of reality.
The Broncos have scant financial wriggle room considering all the club’s money has been poured into Jack Bird’s new size 54 maternity pants.
Not even corporate tax cuts or Sam Thaiday’s retirement will ease pressure on their $10 million cap, despite these developments now leaving the club with ten million and eighty dollars.
In the end, the club’s spendocrats will probably be forced to retain the group by employing more cut-price hoodlums like Matt Lodge, leaving them to lure other talent like everyone else – via third-party rorts.