The Brisbane Broncos didn’t make their once touted future-superstar Tom Dearden an offer before he walked to the North Queensland Cowboys.
That’s the word from Sydney Morning Herald columnist Andrew Webster who says the club intentionally let Dearden walk to free up money to make a huge splash in the NRL market.
“I was told today that the Broncos didn’t even make him an offer,” Webster told Nine’s 100% Footy. “Which is a long way away from him being called ‘The next Allan Langer’.
“No, they didn’t (want to keep him). They didn’t make an offer.
“The fact that Dearden is gone and Walsh was lining up for the Warriors – they’re just players that the Broncos just don’t usually lose.”
While Dearden’s exit frees up money in the short term, it marks another worrying chapter in an increasingly alarming trend at Red Hill.
Never at a time in their esteemed history have the Broncos been so incapable of retaining their brightest talents.
That was highlighted again over the weekend as former Brisbane juniors David Fifita, Reece Walsh, and Sam Walker – who are all now at rival teams – played starring roles across Round 7.
Add Dearden to the mix, and it’s a healthy crop of budding superstars that the club have let slip over the space of a couple seasons.
“You’ve got to question the Broncos system as to how or why they’ve been allowed to slip through their fingers,” NRL guru Phil Gould said on Nine’s 100% Footy.
“The way the Broncos develop their talent now compared to the way that they did for the first 20-25 years of their existence is completely different.”
Concern aside, the departures have now paved the way for a cashed-up Broncos to hit the market with gusto as they go about chasing a battle-tested halfback to lead them around the paddock.
Webster reports the biggest target will be Parramatta halfback Mitchell Moses who is off-contract but has an option in his favour that he must enact before round 10.
The Eels have reportedly already offered Moses a two-year extension but are gravely concerned over getting “blown out of the water” financially by the Broncos.
Brisbane will also be monitoring the status of off-contract Sharks halfback Shaun Johnson who amid John Morris’ messy exit saga has yet to have his future firmed up by incoming coach Craig Fitzgibbon.
“There is a lot of expectation that the Broncos are going to be quite active in the halfback market after letting Tom Dearden go,” Webster said.
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“One of those men (Moses or Johnson) they’re going to make a big play for because they’ve cleared up some money.
“Mitchell Moses is talking to the Eels at the moment…But their concern is that they’re going to get blown out of the water money-wise by the Broncos.
“Meanwhile, at the Sharks, they’re keen on keeping Shaun Johnson but they haven’t really started negotiations with any of their players.”
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