NEWS ‘Be dominant’: Message to Broncos phenom before announcing NRL case


Two words proved the catalyst for Coby Black’s conquest of one of rugby league’s most daunting environments, as he revealed his credentials as Adam Reynolds’ heir apparent.

Now, the prodigious halfback will seek to thrive on the same stage that announced one of the NRL’s most promising playmakers.

The 18-year-old Broncos product be tasked with guiding the Queensland Maroons’ bid for State of Origin redemption in the under-19s on June 20, the same showcase in which Canberra Raiders gun Ethan Strange inspired a New South Wales triumph last year.

Black showcased his potential with a star showing in Brisbane’s preseason trial against Wynnum Manly, before he was thrown into the furnace for his Queensland Cup debut in Souths Logan’s last outing.

The young No.7 impressed in a 48-36 triumph of the Papua New Guinea Hunters in Port Moresby, setting up two tries and two linebreaks, while kicking six goals.

Black also demonstrated a willingness to run the football (49 metres and four tackle busts), and his defence – missing just two tackles – spoke of his all-round potential.

His performance caught the eye of his Magpies and Broncos teammate Tristan Sailor, who declared the teenager had set himself up for a fruitful career in the NRL once Reynolds hung up the boots – expected to be at the end of 2025.

Sailor said it was clear when Black first arrived at Red Hill last season as a 16-year-old he had the ability to become a long-term player. It was now a matter of being brave enough to command a team of established men.

“I shot him a little message before the game just to say ‘be dominant’ because he is such a game manager and a good kicking half. When he’s confident, you see what he can do,” he said.

“PNG in PNG, it’s probably the hardest debut game physicality wise, but I think he’s pulled up really well, and I think he’ll take a lot of confidence from that too.

“He’s a very calm and composed boy, during training he’s been leading the Mustangs [reserves] around, and he’s grown into the role. At the start he wasn’t as vocal, but now he’s become more and more vocal which is fantastic to see.

“He’s got people like Marty [Taupau] who he’s ordering around, and Marty’s been in the NRL for 10 or 12 years now. It is just a confidence thing because he’s got all the skills and all the ability, and he’s got the calmness and composure.

“He’s just got to build that confidence, the more confident you get the better you’re going to get. He’s going to be playing footy for a very long time.”

Black’s underage Origin debut will be another test of how he can marshall a team brimming with more established young talent – including recent North Queensland Cowboys’ debutants Jamal Shibasaki and Jaxon Purdue.

Queensland berthed three NRL debutants following last year’s 32-14 loss to the Blues – Shibasaki following Brisbane rookies Blake Mozer and Ben Te Kura into first-grade – while Raiders five-eighth Strange scored a hat-trick before becoming a staple selection in the nation’s capital.

But Black’s ascent to the Broncos’ scrum base is no guarantee, with Jock Madden signed until the end of 2026 and currently filling the void Reynolds’ bicep injury has left.

Brisbane will be desperate to redeem back-to-back defeats when they take on South Sydney, having led both losses to the Sharks and Titans at halftime, and Madden’s kicking game looms as the most important tool in restricting Latrell Mitchell.

A game-changing performance by the Rabbitohs fullback is likely to thrust him back into the Blues’ line-up, but Broncos coach Kevin Walters was adamant Madden possessed the tools to keep Mitchell at bay on Friday night.

“It [Madden’s kicking] has been good, [but] it can always get better,” Walters said.

“Certainly kicking’s hard in the modern game when the back five of teams are so good working hard on their catching.

“But Jock’s been strong since he’s come into the side, and he’s … one we need to kick really well and be smart about his kick choice.”

Sydney Morning Herald
Bucking Beads

Bucking Beads

International Captain
Mar 5, 2008
Just be prepared to let him develop. No rush. Our team will need a guy to kick to the corners and get the ball to Mam and Walsh.

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