Bright future awaits Broncos: Thaiday
Brisbane Broncos veteran Sam Thaiday believes the future is bright at Red Hill, claiming the young talent coming through will leave the club in good shape for 2018.
The Broncos fell one game short of a grand final appearance in 2017, outplayed by the Melbourne Storm in a one-sided preliminary final.
It was always going to be tough for Brisbane after a year full of injuries to key personnel, and it all caught up with Wayne Bennett's men as they went down 30-0.
But there are plenty of positive notes for the Broncos to build on heading into the off-season and the club can be proud of where they finished.
Many 'experts' had Brisbane missing the top eight in their pre-season predictions, but the Broncos defied this lack of faith to finish third on the ladder with 16 wins.
Young forwards Joe Ofahengaue and Tevita Pangai Junior established themselves as regular first-graders, while Josh McGuire made a seamless transition to lock as Brisbane's most consistent forward.
These are just some of the achievements that leave Thaiday hopeful for success in what will be his final year in the NRL.
"Starting the year we had a lot of doubters and a lot of people putting a line through us," Thaiday told broncos.com.au
"We lost a key playmaker in Andrew McCullough, but I think we really found some depth this year.
"We've got some good young kids coming through. We lose a lot of good players in our team next year but we are definitely going to be better for the experience."
One of the players departing the Broncos is half Benji Marshall, with the 32-year-old moving back to where it all began – re-joining the Wests Tigers for 2018.
Marshall only spent one year in Brisbane but his impact was felt throughout the club and the Broncos are sad to see him go.
Speaking to broncos.com.au, an emotional Marshall thanked the club for taking a chance on him, saying he would look fondly on the experience.
"I'm really proud of what I've achieved this year. Obviously I didn't get a lot of game time but when I did I tried to make it count," Marshall said.
"I've really enjoyed the opportunity to mentor Kodi (Nikorima) and Anthony (Milford) on and off the field. People forget they are 21 and 23 so they have a lot to learn, but I'm really proud of those guys and what they've achieved.
"I've said it before, the best thing I've done is come to Brisbane. It's sad to leave but I'm proud of what I achieved here."