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Croft: 'On edge' Broncos players will deliver despite contract concerns

Brisbane have been bidding an early farewell to several players and off-field staff and Brodie Croft is looking to use the last two months of the season to ensure his name is not added to the list.

The Broncos' recent football department cleanout and decision to allow Matt Lodge, Anthony Milford and Tevita Pangai jnr to head elsewhere had players at the club feeling "on edge" about their future, according to Croft.

But the playmaker is aiming to ensure he does not suffer any more anxiety by using the final eight rounds to cement a first-grade spot despite Rabbitohs star half Adam Reynolds heading to the club next year.

Croft admitted players were put on notice last month when new CEO Dave Donaghy brought an abrupt end to the tenures of long-serving general manager of football Peter Nolan and head of performance Andrew Croll after a 46-0 thumping from South Sydney.

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New head of football Ben Ikin has since kept the Broncos roster on their toes, wasting no time launching a rebuild by jettisoning Lodge to the Warriors and telling Milford he won't be re-signed and Pangai that he was free to leave in 2022 despite being under contract.

Then there's Ikin's retention drive, bolstering their halves depth by inking new deals for Tyson Gamble and Kotoni Staggs among a string of recent re-signings.

"With a few of the big calls that were made regarding Pete and Andrew Croll it definitely put all of us on edge, knowing that anything can happen next," Croft said.

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While not off contract until next year, Croft's Broncos future appeared clouded well before Ikin arrived.

The prized signing of classy halfback Reynolds in May did not augur well for the long-term plans at Red Hill of Croft, who has battled to nail down the No.7 jersey since his 2020 arrival from Melbourne due to form and injuries.

Indeed Brisbane coach Kevin Walters has already confirmed his plan is to partner Reynolds with Staggs in the halves next season.

Croft wouldn't speculate on how the roster rebuild could affect his future but was confident he could give Walters something to think about with a strong season finish, starting with Sunday's home clash against Wests Tigers.

"I can only control what I control. Hopefully that's good footy on the footy field - that's how I see it," Croft said.

"We have eight games left in the season. That's what I am looking forward to at the moment.

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"I am in the first-grade squad, hopefully there is another good performance in the Wests Tigers game and keep building. We will see what happens from there."

Croft said he was ready for the challenge after his triumphant return from a four-week knee injury in their last clash that preceded the bye - a drought-breaking 26-18 win over Cronulla.

"Certainly it has been a tough year both on and off the field," Croft said. "But it's good to be back now. I am in a good head space as well.

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"The body is really good, mentally I am really good. I am eager to play some more footy and hopefully we can continue some good form."

Brisbane climbed off the bottom of the ladder against the Sharks when they registered just their fourth win of the year.

Croft said they were confident of climbing a few more rungs, especially with the NRL to be based on their home turf of Queensland for at least the next month due to Greater Sydney's escalating COVID-19 outbreak.

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"It is good that the competition can keep moving forward ... and it is good playing more games [in Queensland] - I am not going to complain about that," Croft said.

"We won't have to do any fly in, fly out with Sydney - that was a bit tough last year. Knowing we can make a dent in the season now, we can do something about it.

"Everyone knows the importance of a strong finish. Who knows what can happen."

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