Former premiership-winning five-eighth Ben Ikin has been appointed Broncos' head of football as part of the sweeping changes at the club in the wake of their second successive struggling season.
He will replace recruitment chief Peter Nolan, who was told by Brisbane last week his services would no longer be required. Ikin played alongside current coach Kevin Walters in the halves when Brisbane won the 2000 grand final.
Ikin, who played two Tests for the Kangaroos and 17 Origins for Queensland, suited up 55 times for Brisbane during his 150-game NRL career from 1995-2004 which also included stints at the Gold Coast and North Sydney before knee injuries brought his playing days to a premature end.
He has been a host on Fox Sports NRL 360 for a decade and will leave that role to focus on the Broncos job.
The Broncos are yet to officially announce his appointment but Ikin spoke about it on NRL 360.
"I know the Broncos need to be better and in this role I get a great opportunity to make them better and be part of the solution," he said.
"At the moment for the Broncos it’s about getting everybody on the same page and as quickly as possible."
Walters signalled after last Thursday's 46-0 trouncing at the hands of South Sydney that the club needed to make significant changes on and off the field to avoid a second straight wooden spoon.
High-profile forwards Tevita Pangai jnr and Matt Lodge have been told they are free to leave despite being under contract beyond this season.
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Broncos legend Darren Lockyer, a club director, said Ikin would help the club restore its reputation as an NRL powerhouse.
“He knows how the game works and he knows what structures and, I guess, what businesses are successful in the NRL,” he told Inside the NRL on NRL.com.
“I know him well. He’s a solid person, he’s honest. You know, he’s got a great concept of the game, so I think he would be a great addition.”
Ikin interviewed for the CEO position last year which went to Dave Donahue, who was the “standout candidate”, according to Lockyer.
“One of the challenges for the club over the last six-to-nine months has been that Dave wasn’t able to come to us when we wanted and needed him, so he’s here now and he’s had a good look at the structure of the football department. He’s had a good look at the people in there and, as you can see, there’s changes being made as we speak.”
Brisbane’s rebuild will be worth the short-term pain, Lockyer added.
“Obviously, if you look short term we want to get better performances, better efforts from all the players. You know, obviously confidence is a big part of that.
“Look, I think this year, you know, is about now looking to the future and finding those players that we think are apart of the long-term future of the club and putting our resources and time into them.
“So, there’s going to be some movement in the playing roster. It happens with any coach that comes to a club. They have different opinions and different thoughts on the roster. So that takes time to evolve and land where the current coach wants to be, but obviously if could do it sooner, you know, rather than later that’s ideal but it doesn’t always work out that way in the NRL.”
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Walters defended his coaching style in the wake of a NewsCorp report which suggested players were upset with his methods, particularly his communication to them.
"It's a tough gig coaching in the NRL, particularly here at the Broncos. There's no revolt,” he said.
"Communication is one of my great assets as a person and as a rugby league coach. It's one of the key assets. It's a group of people - the players, performance staff, Dave [Donaghy] ... we need the whole club involved. From the 2015 grand final moving forward this club has been on the slide."