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Brisbane Broncos prop Matt Lodge.

The fact Matt Lodge and Alex Glenn have been mentioned as possible future Brisbane captains is a reflection of a big change that will hit the club whenever current skipper Darius Boyd retires. 

It reflects a seismic shift brought about by a changing of the guard in clubland that reflects Brisbane’s diminished status as no longer the powerhouse club of the NRL.

It also shines a light on the change in the make-up of their roster since former coach Wayne Bennett first left the club at the end of the 2008 season.

Though hard to accept for some, the fact is Broncos "legends", and by extension premiership winners, are thin on the ground. Boyd, a rookie in the club's last grand final win in 2006, is the last link to the glory days.

Throughout their 32-year history the captaincy has gone to Maroons greats or Brisbane premiership winners, or preferably both.

The club's first two captains, Wally Lewis and Gene Miles, were Queensland icons and premiership winners in the Brisbane Rugby League.

Allan Langer then captained Brisbane to four titles and was succeeded by Kevin Walters who added a fifth to his Broncos resume in 2000. Gorden Tallis, a three-time Brisbane title winner, then took over before Darren Lockyer captained the club for seven years and won the 2006 title along the way.

Broncos 1992 premiership winners Kevin Walters and Allan Langer.
Broncos 1992 premiership winners Kevin Walters and Allan Langer. ©NRL Photos

Since Lockyer retired in 2011 the Broncos have been led by 2006 premiership winners Sam Thaiday, Corey Parker, Justin Hodges and Boyd.  

Parker and Hodges were co-captains in 2014 before Hodges did the job solo in 2015.

Whether by design or not, the pattern is clear. The Broncos have not been captained long term by a Kiwi or a New South Welshman.

Lodge is from NSW and a relative newcomer to the club and Glenn's a Kiwi international who has played 259 games for the Broncos but neither has tasted premiership success.

Glenn has captained the Broncos before and was the skipper of the 2008 under-20s. He has been on the cusp of being appointed captain previously, but the 31-year-old is yet to agree to terms next season.

Lodge has signed long term and will be at the forefront of anything the Broncos achieve in the years to come.

It is true a section of Brisbane fans and stakeholders will not accept Lodge as a captain of Brisbane but coach Anthony Seibold elevated him to the five-man leadership group this year.

It must be remembered the Matt Lodge his young Brisbane teammates see is not the Lodge of his infamous 2015 New York rampage.

It is Lodge the family man who is exemplary off the field that they have come to know and respect. It is Lodge the on-field leader and dedicated trainer.

Brisbane Broncos prop Matt Lodge.
Brisbane Broncos prop Matt Lodge. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

Several of the youthful brigade, including Tevita Pangai jnr, have close ties with Lodge away from the playing arena and have forged a close bond with him over the past two seasons. They look to the 24-year-old for inspiration.

Boyd will remain the Broncos captain until further notice. When you consider Brisbane’s history of leaders, the 32-year-old fits the bill as a premiership winner with 186 games for the club. He also had a stellar Maroons and Kangaroos career. 

While Boyd’s form this year was not up to his usual standards he was always on the front foot to take the heat in the media when the side failed to perform. He did not hide.

Off the field Boyd has led the way in the mental health sphere and shown outstanding leadership in that regard.

Brisbane Broncos skipper Darius Boyd.
Brisbane Broncos skipper Darius Boyd. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

After Wayne Bennett departed in 2008 the top 17 was made up of basically three groups of players.

There were the 2006 premiership winners such as Hodges, Thaiday, Parker and then Boyd when he returned at the end of 2014.

There was also the best of the 2008 under-20s which included Glenn, Josh McGuire, Ben Hunt, Andrew McCullough, Matt Gillett and Jharal Yow Yeh until he was injured.

Then there was the sprinkling of players recruited from other clubs such as Peter Wallace, Ben Te’o, Anthony Milford, Adam Blair and James Roberts.  

McCullough, Glenn and Gillett are the only survivors of the 2008 under-20s brigade.

The change in their squad now is that its core is under 24 and has been signed to Brisbane since, or during, their schoolboy years, like Thomas Flegler, Patrick Carrigan, Payne Haas, Joe Ofahengaue, David Fifita and Kotoni Staggs.

For those young players, Lodge is the leader of the pack.

The leadership group this year was Boyd, McCullough, Glenn, Gillett and Lodge and it is reasonable to expect that the next Brisbane captain will come from this quintet.

McCullough will be head down, bum up in pursuit of securing a starting position in the round one side for next year. Gillett - while a wonderful campaigner for the Broncos, Maroons and Australia – is not regarded as an obvious captain. has been told "it  is just not his thing".  

That leaves Glenn and Lodge.

Of the rest of the roster the most notable leader is Carrigan. The 21-year-old forward returned from the 58-0 elimination final thrashing by the Eels to train by himself at Broncos HQ.

Broncos utility Alex Glenn.
Broncos utility Alex Glenn. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

He is captaincy material no doubt but will likely need a few more seasons as a first-grade regular before getting a ‘c’ next to his name.

Seibold and chairman Karl Morris dined at a Caxton St restaurant last Thursday night, the day before the coach made a presentation to the board about the season just gone and the road ahead.

The Broncos will not be rushing any decisions on changes to their roster or leadership but acknowledge that change is coming.

It is six months until the 2020 season kicks off and a lot will happen between now and then, but pre-season performance on the training paddock will no doubt define several careers and the next generation of Brisbane leaders.

Whatever the result of all  that jockeying, the next Broncos captain will certainly break the mould that delivered six titles and took the club to the top of the rugby league tree.

The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARLC, NRL clubs or state associations.

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