NEWS ‘My intention is to keep both of them’: Broncos’ fight to retain star pair

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Brisbane has a looming fight on their hands to retain their star centre pairing, but coach Kevin Walters has declared the club held the power in retaining their services – even if it meant they had to take pay cuts to help build a premiership-winning force.

Selwyn Cobbo and Kotoni Staggs will be free to negotiate with rival outfits from November 1 for beyond the end of their current 2025 contracts, and both are expected to command significant interest on the open market.

Cobbo’s versatility to play fullback and wing – a position he will return to in the injury absence of Corey Oates (knee) – and his star showing for Queensland in the State of Origin series opener is expected to make him the priority signing.

But his Cherbourg roots will make him less likely to venture away from Red Hill.

Staggs, however, could prove a more difficult prospect to keep on the Broncos’ right edge, and should a game-breaking performance against South Sydney on Friday night garner a New South Wales Origin recall, his value will only skyrocket.

Brisbane has already signed the likes of Payne Haas, Pat Carrigan and Ezra Mam to significant contract extensions, while they are believed to be on the cusp of announcing marquee fullback Reece Walsh to a multimillion-dollar deal.

But Walters, was adamant Cobbo and Staggs would remain focal to his side’s title ambitions well beyond the end of their current tenures.

A six-time premiership winner as a player, the 56-year-old believed that if his players were exposed to the right environment, they would turn down more lucrative offers to remain.

“It’s not going to be difficult, we have to find a way to make it happen. They’re two quality players for us, both have been through the academy – I’d expect we’d be able to hang on to both of them,” Walters said.

“They both are going to demand a lot of money, but what we need to do is find a compromise with both players where they’re staying here, playing in a great side at a great club, taking a little bit less money possibly, but staying here and being successful.

“Kotoni’s a Bronco to the bone, so is Selwyn. My intention is to keep both of them.

“That’s what we want to do, and that’s what I want to do as the coach, and we have to find a way to make that happen.”

Walters’ men will seek a return to the winner’s circle against an in-form Rabbitohs unit without marquee No.1 Walsh, who remains out because of the NRL’s concussion protocols.

The 21-year-old was floored by a brutal hit by Joseph Suaalii seven minutes into the Maroons’ game one triumph, the second time this year he has been forced from the field for an extended period as teams hunt ways to shut down his influence.

Walters has been vocal about the game’s need to protect players from such contact, but declared his attacking linchpin would be in no doubt for Queensland’s bid to seal the series, rubbishing suggestions he would be gun shy.

“He’ll be back for Billy in Origin. I’d say Reece’s last seven minutes were enough in Origin I to suggest he’ll be there for Origin II,” Walters said, ahead of Maroons coach Billy Slater naming his squad on Monday.

“He’s from Nerang, they’re not gun shy down there. He’s as tough a player as you’ll ever see, so it’s not about his toughness and being belted; it’s about protecting him in a way that he should be protected on the field.”

Sydney Morning Herald
 
pennywisealfie

pennywisealfie

State of Origin Captain
Contributor
Mar 4, 2008
10,449
5,088
I think we need to re-sign Reece and Selwyn. But I think Kotoni would be too much of a luxury given we need to fill out the rest of our roster.
 

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