Brisbane are declaring their innocence after a pub lunch attended by 10 players intended to celebrate the end of harder lock down measures became the latest biosecurity breach under investigation at the embattled NRL club.
It’s common knowledge that if you’re a former Bronco, you are considered royalty in Brisbane. Unless you’re Brad Thorn and you’re punished with coaching the Queensland Reds.
However, a number have stepped forward during the club’s crisis to reveal they no longer share a close affinity with their former employer, with names such as Barry Maranta, Chris Johns, Gorden Tallis and Kevin Walters all revealing their buffet privileges had been revoked.
Where does this leave their daily lives? What is a typical day for one of these demigod men known as the Wally Lewises of rugby league?
The day begins with 35 radio interviews decrying the death of the Broncos. You may be surprised by the number, and rightly so – there’s been a decrease since our half-time lead against the Warriors. Still, I reassure fans that despite their worst fears, the club won’t fold within ten years. If anything, it will be more like five.
Next I’m stopped in the street by desperate fans seeking answers on recruitment. They want to know: who should the club target? I suggest Anthony Milford, Darius Boyd, Anthony Seibold and Paul White, preferably with some fruit or a class action.
Then I call the club to enquire if I can visit the team but am denied again because of coronavirus. I say ‘again’ as they’ve used this excuse quite regularly in recent times – i.e. since 2009. Apparently under biohazard laws, ex-legends are only permitted around players when carrying water and instructions.
All throughout the day my phone continues to ring. It’s the Titans and they keep persistently offering me a role. While I’m flattered, I’m not sure I’m up to a spot in their run-on team.
Now completely bereft with my standing in the universe, I meet Steve Renouf to reminisce about our playing days. Corey Parker and Justin Hodges were also supposed to attend but were late withdrawals after being called up to commentate. The Broncos ASX price further plummets.
We laugh over a few beers and recall how hard we had to work to pocket premiership after premiership with a virtual Origin squad. I feel for ‘Pearl’ – he’s completely lost for answers on the Broncos. Here’s a guy so fast he could outrun his shadow, but if he was playing today, the CEO would’ve shunted him to Melbourne and signed the shadow on $850,000.
Nevertheless, we approve of the club’s decision to review its roster, especially after punting Josh McGuire, Andrew McCullough, James Roberts and Kodi Nikorima in favour of emerging kids like Issac Luke and Ben Te’o.
We also agree our former teammate and current board member Darren Lockyer is definitely the right man for this job. There’s nobody better equipped to do an independent deep dive of the very contracts he himself approved. Hopefully it reveals the issues and hopefully these can be blamed on Ben Hunt.
Conversation then turns to the coach. How good was Wayne Bennett? Why can’t Seibold be more like him and fall arse-backwards into an entire state of blue-chip talent?
He could at least halt the negative press by hiring Kevin Walters – not only because Kevvie is an astute coach; he could ask Shane Webcke to say something nice on the news.
That said, we back the current coach to keep dropping wingers until they get a win. And if this fails, he should recall Allan Langer. Sure, it’s a big call – naming ‘Alf’ to play would severely reduce his minutes, but it’s worth a shot.
As for the administration, we settle on one message: they’ve created this mess, now they need to get out there and fix it. That’s why we’ll be campaigning for White to partner Isaac Moses in the halves this weekend.
After a long afternoon of perspective I acknowledge the positives: the Broncos are definitely on the right track to make ground on more proficient sides, like St George.
And if we don’t, at least the new Brisbane franchise has a ready-made reserve-grade side.