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Renouf: The five main areas new Broncos CEO needs to fix

There are no short-term solutions to what has brought the Broncos to the troubled position we find the club in today.

As ex-players we probably get accused of harping on a bit too much about what’s wrong at Brisbane, but with their new chief executive Dave Donaghy starting next week he has a chance to completely overhaul where this club has messed up and ensure it never gets to this point again.

What he needs to know first and foremost is that our fans are loyal and they understand the club's predicament.

They know it will take time to get back to the top and they will be patient if they can see progress and believe there is hope for the future.

Here are five key areas I think Dave needs to address when he gets to Red Hill on Tuesday.

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1. Recruitment

The first item the new CEO must review is to find out what’s gone wrong with our recruitment and hold to account those who’ve led the club into this situation.

Our priority has to be signing an experienced halfback. We’ve been saying for almost three years now, we really need a half who will take the game by the scruff of the neck and guide us out of trouble when the momentum swings.

I don’t know if we’re any chance to get Adam Reynolds out of Sydney, but Shaun Johnson would be another good option.

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I wrote a couple of weeks ago we needed someone of the calibre of Daly Cherry-Evans. He is the halfback I would really want to see at the Broncos if he ever wanted to come back to Queensland.

I still think we don’t have a player settled in the No.1 jersey to the standard of other fullbacks around the Telstra Premiership but in reality it’s our entire spine that we need to address and we should look at every position to see if there is someone better available.

Our forwards do a decent job and it is easy to build a pack around Payne Haas. But if Brandon Smith is looking around for 2022, why wouldn’t you have a go at him?

It’s only seven rounds into Kevin Walters's coaching career - he needs time to build the team he wants and let him come up with a recruitment plan and see it through.

If we had a dominant half it would make a fair difference to how this team performs. You can’t clear out your roster and sign everyone you want in one season.

Hopefully we can have one or two new signings for next year and we will see an immediate improvement. 

2. Identity

The Broncos were always a club that every kid in Queensland wanted to join. But now you read stories like Sam Walker – whose parents weren’t allowed to come to a meeting with the coach about his future – and you can see why he decided to leave that day and sign with the Roosters.

Now he is 18, dominating for the Roosters and will play for Queensland in the coming years. Dave Fifita has already played for Queensland and has scored two hat-tricks this season since joining the Titans. These are kids from South-East Queensland, they should be Broncos.

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I don’t know how many players we’ve lost lately, but we shouldn’t lose the best Queensland kids.

The Broncos used to make up most of the Queensland Origin team. I know times have changed and there are now three clubs in Queensland to choose from, but Queensland’s best players should be Brisbane’s best.

Kalyn Ponga, Cameron Munster, Daly Cherry-Evans and Harry Grant. That’s the Queensland spine for the next few years. None of them are Broncos. None of them play for Queensland clubs. The Broncos should sign at least one of them.

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3. Junior development

Brisbane's great talent scout of yesteryear Cyril Connell never went out to carnivals with a big blanket coverage approach to recruitment. He looked at more than just talent, it wasn’t just about being a standout star.

In Cyril’s day he’d sign probably three of them and the club would develop them closely and nurture them to ensure one or all made it to the NRL. Investments take time to pay off.

In my opinion, Brisbane have become a good schoolboys team. It’s like we’ve picked all these great individuals, but they’re not a great team. They go missing, can’t handle the pressure and no one steps up.

The only one who deserves any credit at the moment is Haas. He always turns up and is the only player to show any real consistency for the past year.

4. Salary cap

The Melbourne Storm are the envy of the NRL for how they manage their salary cap. I know I bring up the past a bit, but plenty of Broncos players played for unders at the club and were happy to do that because they wanted success.

People say times are different and managers demand more money every time, well whatever they’re doing at Melbourne seems to work. They spend money in the most important positions and don’t overspend anywhere else.

The CEO needs to take control of the salary cap. He needs to make the tough calls on player contracts. Some guys have been getting paid way too much for way too long and that’s impacted our retention elsewhere. It has cost us good players.

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5. Player behaviour

The issues the club has encountered over the past 12-18 months with player misbehaviour off the field needs to be addressed.

I know they can’t babysit these fellas 24/7, and that it all comes back to personal responsibility, but the club needs to sit them down and have a serious chat about what it means and what is expected of you when you’re a Bronco.

Individuals are letting down the club. There’s been plenty of examples of past players who have thrown it all away because they loved a good time too much.

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They need to make it clear that misbehaviour will not be tolerated.

You have a great career just starting out now. You have a real opportunity with one of the biggest clubs in Australia to create a legacy that can secure your future in Brisbane long after you’ve retired.

And it can all be gone in five minutes with one act of stupidity. Don’t throw away your career.


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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