Why Broncos agreed to release Opacic to Cowboys
Broncos coach Wayne Bennett has confirmed the club will release centre Tom Opacic to the North Queensland Cowboys next season where he said he was confident the 23-year-old would prosper.
Opacic recently re-signed with Brisbane for two seasons but after an approach from the Cowboys, and consulting with the player, the Broncos have agreed to release him from that contract so he can fast track his career.
The Broncos already have Jordan Kahu, James Roberts, Jack Bird and Kotoni Staggs on their books for 2019 and Bennett said Opacic's move to the Cowboys made sense.
"He has got an opportunity up there that he might not have got with us as quickly as he is going to get up there, so I was pleased for Tom," Bennett said.
"It is about opportunity and we are happy to do that. We have got some other centres coming on through here so it was good for him, he wanted to do it and we were supportive of it."
The Cowboys are losing key players in the outside backs for 2019 including premiership-winning centre Kane Linnett.
Javid Bowen is not re-signed for next year and NRL.com understands is unlikely to be, so Opacic will have a chance to become a regular starter.
Bennett gave Opacic his NRL debut in 2016 and the 23-year-old centre fought back from two shoulder reconstructions to play 10 games for the club in 2018.
The Broncos coach said he was confident Opacic would fire at the Cowboys.
"He is a good player and has done a good job here with us when he has played," Bennett said.
"He got a few injuries last year that set him back a little bit but Tom is a valuable player at any club."
Meanwhile, Bennett confirmed the Broncos remained confident of keeping representative winger Corey Oates at the club beyond 2018.
Oates is the club's leading try-scorer in 2018 with 14 and has been on fire in a season where he also re-gained his Maroons jersey.
"I spoke to Corey the other day and to the staff here as well, so I think it is tracking pretty good," Bennett said.
"He wants to stay and we want him to stay Corey to stay so we are just trying to work through."
Bennett said there was no timeline on getting the Oates deal done.
Opacic's impending release has nothing to do with the club's attempts to re-sign Oates. Bennett said it would give the Broncos "a bit more money to play with but not the big numbers you are sometimes looking for".
The Brisbane coach also confirmed that Jack Bird would be at Brisbane next year and said he was not concerned in the least that Bird was on hand to watch Luke Lewis play his farewell match at Shark Park.
"What are these guys supposed to do? What, are they supposed to get around in Broncos gear 24/7 and read from the Broncos bible? I don't operate that way and I never have," Bennett said.
"Jack can go to any club he wants to and look at a game of football. We live in a democracy. Jack played in a premiership with Luke Lewis and it was Luke's last [home] game so why wouldn't he want to go there and be a part of it when he can."