NEWS The Broncos are set to be gutted. A lightning rookie could be a saviour

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Eight minutes is all it took for Israel Leota to announce himself as a future star, and a Broncos legend says the youngster has the tools to answer an SOS from the club’s coach.

Leota took strides towards a top-flight debut in his first Queensland Cup appearance of the year on Sunday, scoring three tries as his Souths Logan Magpies fell to Brisbane Tigers 40-34.

The 19-year-old winger is eligible to be selected for the Broncos should the team’s State of Origin contenders and mounting injury toll strip coach Kevin Walters of his backline.

And he has support from a man who also graced the NRL stage as a bright-eyed teenager.

“The thing we’re seeing this year is injuries are happening quite often, and the Broncos have been quite plagued,” said Souths Logan coach Karmichael Hunt, a Broncos premiership-winner.

“If there’s ever a good time for Issy to play good football to get an opportunity to play [for the Broncos] it’d be now. It’s only one game, he’s got to continue to get better and train hard, but if he plays like he did, who knows?”

Fullback Reece Walsh is destined to reclaim his Maroons’ jumper, while five-eighth Ezra Mam and centres Selwyn Cobbo and Kotoni Staggs are firmly on the Origin radar.

Hunt also revealed reserve back Jordan Pereira, spotted training at Red Hill on Tuesday, was recovering from neck issues.

Also remaining sidelined are Jesse Arthars with a jaw injury, Delouise Hoeter with a knee issue, and Tristan Sailor with a syndesmosis concern, although Arthars is likely to return for the round 17 clash with the Warriors.

Leota scored the first try in his hat-trick against the Tigers within eight minutes. A classic winger’s finish from close range, a high leap above the fullback and an intercept made the highlights reel.

But what pleased Hunt was Leota’s work relieving pressure on his forwards, with only 18 of his 151 running metres coming from kick returns.

That evolution, Hunt believed, could spell a long career.

“That’s probably been the biggest work on for Issy,” Hunt said.

“He can do everything else – he can leap and catch and break away from defenders – but what I really liked was his ability to carry the football out of yardage in the defensive line.

“Shorter players may find it easier to carry and find gaps and creases in the defensive line. Issy has had to learn to manipulate and move his body to try and be effective in those yardage carries,” Hunt said.

“Defensive coaches are very clever now, they can try and capture you and keep you on the ground, but Issy has been able to figure that out.”

The Broncos’ 2023 grand final run has opened the floodgates for poaching raids, with Thomas Flegler, Herbie Farnworth (Dolphins), Kurt Capewell (Warriors) and Keenan Palasia (Titans) already departing.

A huge upgrade beckons for Walsh, while Mam, Billy Walters, Payne Haas, Brendan Piakura, Jordan Riki and Pat Carrigan have all inked extensions.

It presents a salary cap juggling act for the club when it comes to Cobbo and Staggs, with the star pair off contract at the end of 2025.

Sydney Morning Herald
 
Sproj

Sproj

Immortal
Senior Staff
Sep 6, 2013
51,925
62,988
For that origin game with no bye, with players selected plus all the injuries, are we even going to be able to put out a full side?
 
lynx000

lynx000

State of Origin Rep
Contributor
Jul 28, 2008
6,464
8,541
For that origin game with no bye, with players selected plus all the injuries, are we even going to be able to put out a full side?
Assuming that there are no further injuries and Staggs is not picked for NSW, yes, I cannot see why not. Sailor and Arthars are back well before Round 19.

Fullback: Sailor
Wings: Mariner, Arthars
Centres: Karapani, Staggs
Halves: Madden, Mam (or Rogers if Mam is picked in SOO)
Lock: Hetherington
S/R: Riki & Piakura
Hooker: Walters
Prop: Jensen, Baker

Reserves: Smoothy, Wilson, Hunt, Gosiewski

That should be good enough to take care of St George minus Hunt.
 
L

Lockysillegitimatechild

State of Origin Rep
Apr 10, 2015
5,399
10,399
Assuming that there are no further injuries and Staggs is not picked for NSW, yes, I cannot see why not. Sailor and Arthars are back well before Round 19.

Fullback: Sailor
Wings: Mariner, Arthars
Centres: Karapani, Staggs
Halves: Madden, Mam (or Rogers if Mam is picked in SOO)
Lock: Hetherington
S/R: Riki & Piakura
Hooker: Walters
Prop: Jensen, Baker

Reserves: Smoothy, Wilson, Hunt, Gosiewski

That should be good enough to take care of St George minus Hunt.
I think tapau comes in for Jayden hunt but otherwise looks spot on. It's insane the depth we've had to call on this year but I reckon it will help us A LOT next year for sure, this year if we can CLING to a top 4 spot it will as well.
 
lynx000

lynx000

State of Origin Rep
Contributor
Jul 28, 2008
6,464
8,541
I think tapau comes in for Jayden hunt but otherwise looks spot on. It's insane the depth we've had to call on this year but I reckon it will help us A LOT next year for sure, this year if we can CLING to a top 4 spot it will as well.
Yep, fair call. I have not been following Tapau in Hostplus at all, has he been playing?
 
Mustafur

Mustafur

State of Origin Captain
Contributor
Jun 13, 2019
9,249
13,475
I'm not looking forward to the Warriors game in origin period, especially if Mam gets the 6 for QLD.
 

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