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Renouf: How the Broncos team should line up in 2021

The Broncos can return to the top eight next year with the players they already have on their roster.

I have named a 17-man team for round one next year from their existing squad and a coach to get the best out of them.

I have resisted naming players who are not contracted to the club apart from Andrew McCullough who was on loan to Newcastle this year but is signed to Brisbane next year.

The Broncos are not recruiting players until they get a new coach and it is pie in the sky stuff to select a group of players from elsewhere.

I firmly believe, and so did many others at the start of this year, the Broncos have the players on board to do the job.

Of course, they will enter the player market and that may change the side I have picked, but if they are better players than the ones I have named then it can only be a good thing.

This year has been a debacle due largely to the players not buying into Anthony Seibold’s methods.

I am convinced a new coach, and Kevin Walters is the man, can turn the club around in quick time. From such a low base, a finals appearance should be the goal.

My Broncos team for 2021

1. Jack Bird

Unfortunately he has been riddled with injuries since he arrived but he competes, he's tough and is an instinctive and smart footballer. At Cronulla he would find the try line, won a title and played Origin. Before he was injured this pre-season he was the best performer in the trials at fullback and with Darius Boyd retiring he is the obvious choice.

2. Corey Oates

He was out of action for two months with a nasty leg injury so I don't take much notice of his off game last week against the Titans. We've all had them. I rate Corey and always have. It is not that long ago we looked to him to get us out of trouble. He is like an extra forward and we have seen him score 93 tries in 154 games. A new year under a new coach and he will be fine.

3. Kotoni Staggs

An obvious choice, Kotoni is a brute and explosive. I like his aggressiveness although he needs to not get carried away and give away silly penalties. One-on-one in defence he is tough but I think he struggles with positioning on the right side. I'd give him a crack as a left centre.

Staggs destroys the Dragons defence

4. Herbie Farnworth

I'd love to see Herbie settle in to centre. He is a lot smarter footballer than people realise. He is competitive and tough and a good ball runner who will thrive when the halves are more settled and give him quality ball.

5. Xavier Coates

I love what Coates brings. Already in his short career he is one of the best leapers for the ball in the game. He is lightning quick and a good finisher. We haven't seen him score constructed tries because he hasn’t received enough good ball, but we have seen him improvise with his intercepts and tries from kicks.

Coates turns on the speed after interception

6. Anthony Milford

Anthony is the million-dollar man and he has to step up next year. I don't see him injecting himself in the game enough but he is a far better player than what he has recently shown. The Broncos need him at his best and under Walters as coach, I believe he will thrive.

7. Tom Dearden

The future for the Broncos, I rate him highly. I think we can see from his all-round game that he can be the long-term half but he has to stop being careful and back himself more. When he plays instinctively and doesn't think too much we have seen him go over for tries or set them up. That's his go.

Dearden just never gives up

8. Matt Lodge

He has been missed. He never fully recovered from his knee injury when he played this year but we have seen him do the job in the past. In tandem with Payne Haas he is a fearsome prospect when at his best, which he will need to be.Rabbitohs v Bulldogs - Round 19

9. Andrew McCullough

I have named McCullough because I believe he will be back next year and the Broncos need him. He showed at Newcastle what he still has to offer. He is tough and we really miss his steeliness and experience in the middle. Macca will steady the ship.

10. Payne Haas

The first player picked. Week-in and week-out he is their best. Regarded as one of the best props in the game and will be a foundation stone of any future Broncos success.

11. Alex Glenn

He'll be better for the break after a year of bad luck with injury. He will come back bigger and better and is a Broncos legend as far as I am concerned. He has been there since I first met him when he was a kid. I know how much the club means to Alex and he should stay captain.

How the best attacking teams exploit the short side

12. Tevita Pangai jnr

If someone can get in Tevita’s ear and get the rubbish out of his game, he can be a devastating player. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and back him to get his head right. There is nothing wrong with his aggression, it is just he needs to find a balance. Outside of his bubble breaches I don’t believe he has done a lot wrong off the field. It is on the field where he has got himself suspended and he needs to fix that area.

13. Patrick Carrigan

Out of the wreckage of this year Carrigan has risen to be a real leader when there was such a lack of leadership overall. He has grown up very quickly and has captained the team for most of the year. I love his big heart and he leads from the front.

The pride and passion driving Women in League founder Katie Page

14. Jake Turpin

He is the guy to bring energy in attack and defence off the bench. He is the ideal utility because he can play in the halves as well as hooker.

15. Thomas Flegler

He had the best game of his career in round two against the Rabbitohs and if he can bottle that form he will go well. He was in Origin contention but his form plateaued and he had trouble with his hands. He has the aggression and the power game to be a good forward as he matures.

16. Jordan Riki

The Broncos need a replacement for David Fifita and Riki is it. He is big and mobile and runs a good line. We saw what he could do for the Maori All Stars and I’m tipping a big future for him.

17. Joe Ofahengaue

He played Origin last year and needs to recapture that form. He knows he has been below par but someone like Walters can talk to him and he will lift. He will react to a coach like that, and he will need to.

Coach: Kevin Walters

The Broncos are crying out for a coach who understands the club and its culture and can impart that to the players. No one knows what success looks like at Brisbane more than Walters outside of Wayne Bennett. He will get the players firing and performing to their potential.


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


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