Isaako wants to be a Bronco for life
Off contract Brisbane star Jamayne Isaako has given his clearest statement yet about his playing future declaring he wants to remain at the Broncos for life.
The 22-year-old winger has been a revelation in his debut NRL season with his running game, ability under the high ball, and accomplished goal kicking, being a major factor in Brisbane’s surge into the top eight.
Brisbane view Isaako's signature as a must and the 22-year-old, who made his Test debut for New Zealand last month, said he did not want to leave.
"I am still in communication with [Broncos recruitment chief] Peter Nolan and the club to extend my contract here. Nothing is confirmed at the moment but everything is looking pretty good for the future," Isaako said.
"I started my career here and I'd like to finish my career here. The Broncs have looked after me pretty well and given me the opportunity I have today…so I'd definitely love to stay here."
Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett has said Isaako's future will likely be as a fullback but with Darius Boyd contracted long-term that appears unlikely to occur any time soon. Isaako insisted he was not getting itchy feet on the wing.
"Darbs is doing a really good job and any time I get to play there I'll showcase what I can do at fullback. I am sure my time will come," he said.
The Broncos roster beyond 2018 is a jigsaw puzzle but several of the key pieces are set to fall into place with off-contract forwards Tevita Pangai jnr and Matt Lodge both declaring recently they intend to re-sign.
With Sam Thaiday to retire at season’s end Lodge and Pangai will be the likely starting front-rowers for Brisbane in 2019.
NRL.com understand the Broncos remain confident back-rower Jaydn Su'A will also re-sign despite interest from several other clubs including South Sydney.
Su'A's elevation to the starting side and the Broncos intention of continuing to utilise him in that role in 2019, alongside Matt Gillett and Josh McGuire in the back-row, are other factors playing into Brisbane's hands.
The futures of off-contract Maroons winger Corey Oates and forward Korbin Sims are not as clear.
Sims said on Thursday he wanted to stay with Brisbane but added he was uncertain where his contract negotiations were placed.
It is understood the 26-year-old will be able to secure a more lucrative deal elsewhere, far higher than what the Broncos are prepared to offer him.
Bennett said last month that Oates was a priority signing. The 23-year-old alluded in Maroons camp on Tuesday to a management issue that will prevent him doing a deal with Brisbane or any other club until August.
He reiterated his desire to move into the back-row but with Brisbane already flush with stars in those positions he may have to accept continuing to play as a winger at Brisbane if he decides to re-sign.
Oates said that if another club offered him a back-row starting spot it may not necessarily force his hand.
"You have to look at a lot of other things too, it's not just the one thing I look at before signing for a club," he said.
"But I feel playing back-row brings more out of me than the wing."
Oates' fellow winger Isaako said he was just enjoying the ride he's been on during 2018, stamping himself as a star of the future.
"It has been pretty unreal the rise to NRL this year," Isaako said.
"I wasn't expecting to play as many games as I have so far. I want to own that wing spot in the team. With a lot of internationals and good players in the team, it is hard to know that you own a spot. I am just grateful that I am playing good footy at the moment.
"I came into this year thinking I was just going to fill in certain spots. It just shows when you work hard enough good things happen. I am getting more confident each week."