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Renouf: No more half measures for Queensland clubs

The Broncos, Cowboys and Titans are facing big decisions at the moment, conundrums that will define their next few seasons.

Coaches Kevin Walters, Todd Payten and Justin Holbrook are looking at their halves, testing the market and trying to find combinations that can take them back to the finals.

With Michael Morgan facing retirement and Jake Clifford off to Newcastle next season, Payten and the Cowboys look to be starting from scratch.

The Broncos still have Brodie Croft and Cory Paix under contract for next season, while Titans co-captain Jamal Fogarty, Tanah Boyd and Toby Sexton are all locked in until 2022.

To be honest with you out of those three clubs, the only half that’s sort of stamped his mark so far is Fogarty.

You look across the park at other NRL teams their halves seem to be going really well but we seem to be lacking a bit in our three Queensland teams in those positions.

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By the sounds of it, the Broncos and Titans both want Kotoni Staggs to play six next season.

I’ve never seen him play there before but if they’re going to offload Anthony Milford for Kotoni to play six you would want to know he is up to the task.

I love Kotoni as an attacking centre but obviously he has shown the clubs something at six and create a combination that will work.

I think Tom Dearden is the future for the Broncos, so I can see why the Cowboys are chasing him.

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One thing I’ve said about Tom is if he just plays the game in front of him and is not set in too much structure he goes really well.

Under Kevvie, I think Tom can play that role. Obviously, he will play within the structure but if you see something you need to have a shot at it.

Tom at seven with Kotoni at six can work for Brisbane, but only if they both stay.

But if the three Queensland clubs are all fighting over Staggs and Dearden, someone will miss out.

Overall, the NRL is a bit light on for halves at the moment. It’s such a shame Sam Walker didn’t work out for the Broncos because he was very solid on debut for the Roosters last week and they won’t let him go anytime soon.

The sad reality is once upon a time everyone wanted to go to Brisbane or the Cowboys, but not anymore.

When our teams are under the pump unfortunately we have no leaders who can get them out of trouble. You need halves to direct the play, who can call positional play to get out of their own quarter and organise the troops.

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You can’t rely on belting one-up, one-up to get your way out with a good kick. You just have to be able to work around the field and I’ve not seen that from our halves for a few years now.

They should all look closely at Adam Reynolds from South Sydney. He can direct the team around because he has that authority on the field. They need someone who commands respect and commands the ball.

Poor old Anthony Milford just seems like he doesn’t want the ball in his hands sometimes and that’s the worrying thing.

There’s nothing to say Ash Taylor can’t come back to the Broncos. I think under someone like Kevvie he would go well and the Broncos should be looking at that as an option.

When Ash is playing good footy he is a very settled half and has a good kicking game. It’s just mental with Ash to keep him going week-in, week-out.

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Daly Cherry-Evans is the other player they should keep an eye on. He does not look happy at Manly. Manly is a lovely place to be when you’re winning, but you don’t want to be there if the team is not performing.

Kevvie has an association with Daly and I know he has got a long-term deal at Manly, but if the opportunity did come up for him to leave then I reckon he would be a great asset for the Broncos and would really settle well at the club to give them the leadership they’ve been missing.

Whatever happens at all three clubs, who they sign in their halves will perhaps be the biggest decision these coaches make this year.


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

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