League great Phil Gould has rejected claims the Brisbane Broncos are victims of poaching by NRL rivals.
Phil Gould rubbished claims the Brisbane Broncos are victims of poaching by NRL rivals, urging new CEO Dave Donaghy to “read the history books”.
Speaking on 100% Footy, the former Penrith GM and current consultant to the Warriors refused to buy into claims the Broncos were at the mercy of “vultures”, pointing to deeper problems at Red Hill.
“Dave Donaghy needs to read the history books because the Broncos have been the best at it over the years,” Gould said.
“They poach a lot at a lot of ages. I also think the problem with the Broncos is that they have a lot issues of players being poached by player managers. So if you’ve got a talented young kid in the Broncos, you risk being poached by another manager who are with the Broncos.
“So you don’t have that much loyalty towards them. He’s got to fix a lot at the Broncos to get loyalty from his players and loyalty from the player managers they deal with, they can’t exclusively going with the one group.”
It’s been widely reported that 18 players within the Broncos playing squad belong to former accredited player agent Issac Moses. Moses recently had his licence to deal in the NRL cancelled but players were given the option to take their business elsewhere or switching managers at the same company.
Former Melbourne official Donaghy’s tenure will weigh heavily on how he navigates the outside forces within his own club.
He joins the NRL’s richest team amid a rush of Broncos stars leaving the former competition heavyweights.
The Broncos lost star back-rower David Fifita to the Titans at the end of last season on a deal worth over $3 million, while young playmaker Tom Dearden and teen sensation Reece Walsh moved to the Cowboys and Warriors respectively.
While Donaghy has expressed frustration with rivals for raiding their roster, Gould said the writing has been on the wall for the Broncos for some time.
“Other than Darren Lockyer and Allan Langer, have they produced a half? I don’t know,” he said.
“They haven’t produced a half since those eras. They’ve got to question their own development programs and recruitment.
“You’ve got to be thinking at some stage we’ve got to produce a seven or six rather than having to constantly experiment. But every team needs a marquee No. 7, or a marquee No.6 with a young No.7, but they haven’t got either at the moment.”
Brisbane’s playmaking stocks have been a point of criticism this season, with Kevin Walters using his fourth different combination in eight weeks. The Broncos have gone through seven different halves combinations in 2020-21 as opposed to ladder-leaders Panthers who have gone through two.
Jerome Luai and Nathan Cleary have played 28 games together over the past two years in comparison to the Broncos pair of Croft and Milford who have played 13 games. Gould said a key ingredient to success in the NRL is familiarity in the halves, with Souths and Parramatta the other sides behind the Panthers to have the luxury of fielding the same halfback and five-eighth the most.
“They’ve played 28 games together in the top grade (Penrith) but its five or six years together they’ve been playing with each other since they were 15 or 16 in the junior rep program just like many of the kids.
“I think for spines time spent playing together it’s a really big factor when you’re looking at prospects of a team. Unless three of them have spent a lot of time together it’s really hard to win games consistently.”
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