Oates wants to stay in Brisbane but Bulldogs interested
Where off-contract Brisbane Broncos winger Corey Oates will play in 2019 is clear as mud, but what is crystal clear is the 23-year-old flyer's stellar recent form making him one of the most attractive free agents in the NRL.
After notching a hat-trick of tries in Thursday night's 38-18 win over the Rabbitohs, Oates spoke of his desire to stay at Brisbane next season.
His arrangement with his former management group ended on Wednesday. He said he does not have a new manager but was being advised by his father-in-law Gene Miles, as is permitted by NRL rules.
Oates said he was "still waiting for an offer" from the Broncos and was doing everything in his power on the field to secure one.
"I've had that management stuff … so I am waiting for an offer and hopefully that's soon," Oates said.
"I never want to leave but when it comes down to it if the club doesn't want you then you've got to look elsewhere. The only way I am going to get a contract is to play good footy."
The Maroons representative, who confirmed he was being courted by the Canterbury Bulldogs, was asked if the uncertainty about Wayne Bennett being at the Broncos beyond 2019 was a motivation for him to look elsewhere.
"No, not at the moment," he said.
"I feel like Wayne is going to be here next year and I want to be here. It is up to them.
"I just want to finish the year off strong, play good football, give them something to talk about and then I can go into contract negotiations happy and confident with any decision I make."
Bennett has said the Broncos want to keep Oates, who also has aspirations to play in the back-row, but the club has made it clear he won’t be getting in a bidding war for his services.
Oates has scored 12 tries in his last seven games against the Rabbitohs and said the Broncos were now targeting a continuation of Thursday night’s form next week against the Roosters.
"You have to turn up against every team but we haven’t been doing that of late," he said.
"We won eight out of 10 games and put ourselves in a good spot but to lose two games back-to-back [to the Bulldogs and Cowboys] was tough.”
"The boys wanted to come out full of energy and show that we can still play the style of footy that can mix it with the top teams.
"Now it is about continuing on and not dropping off."