‘Under siege’ Broncos face roster collapse
How the mighty have fallen.
The Brisbane Broncos are reportedly under siege from rival clubs and are facing the prospect of a roster wipe out by the end of 2021.
Just a day after the Broncos were forced to swallow the news highly-rated fullback talent Reece Walsh has signed a three-year-deal with the Warriors, the full scale of the club's retention crisis has been revealed.
It emerged on Friday that teenage second-rower Brendan Piakura is also set to leave the Broncos and was spotted touring facilities at the Bulldogs' Belmore headquarters, according to The Courier-Mail.
The report reveals the Broncos and Titans are both set to miss out on the damaging forward after the Bulldogs reportedly trumped their contract offers with a deal reported to be worth up to $500,000 over two years, beginning in 2022.
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The Broncos arguably have the hottest list of exciting future stars in the NRL right now - but the club is facing the prospect of being gutted by rival poaching raids.
The worst part is that the club's biggest threat is Brisbane's neighbour, the Gold Coast Titans.
The Australian reports the Titans "can smell blood in the water" and are chasing the signatures of Brisbane stars Kotoni Staggs, Xavier Coates and Piakura.
The Titans already embarrassed their so-called big brother after snaring superstar forward David Fifita last year.
The Broncos are also in a desperate fight to retain halfback Tom Dearden, who has been overlooked for the No. 7 jumper with coach Kevin Walters selecting Brodie Croft in the halves ever since Dearden was spotted in North Queensland talking to Cowboys coach Todd Payten.
Journalist Brent Reid wrote in The Australian Friday the Broncos have "wolves at their door".
"The Broncos are under siege and while they put on a brave public face, there is surely genuine concern in their ranks that the club is in danger of being picked apart," the report claimed.
"The Titans have already stripped them of Fifita, whose intimidating presence will be a key factor in Friday night's derby at Cbus Super Stadium. They aren't willing to stop there. They can smell blood in the water and they are ready to swoop."
The Broncos' South East Queensland derby against the Titans on Friday night is loaded with spice.
Already in a reported salary cap squeeze, the Broncos' next generation is suddenly looking clouded at best. The dust is still yet to settle on the Broncos' recruitment crunch from two years ago which saw the club offer big-money deals to Tevita Pangai, Matt Lodge and Payne Haas, but the club finds itself right back where it started.
The club was reportedly privately "filthy" after losing teenage sensation Walsh to the Warriors, in a deal confirmed on Thursday.
The development player was reportedly highly fancied by the Broncos and the club had all-but promised him a promotion to replace Jamayne Isaako at fullback in 2022.
However, the Warriors have been able to steal him away regardless of the Broncos' promises.
Broncos Interim CEO Neil Monaghan admitted the club was "disappointed to lose him".
It was reported earlier this month Warriors consultant Phil Gould was chasing Walsh's signature as part of the club's succession plan in preparation for Tuivasa-Sheck's move to New Zealand Rugby.
The Courier-Mail reported two weeks ago, the Warriors had offered Walsh up to $400,000 per-season.
The offer was too good to refuse.
Gould took to Twitter on Thursday to gleefully show off the Warriors' big new signing.
It is a bitter blow for Brisbane less than 24 hours after the club had celebrated reaching an agreement with rising star Jordan Riki to sign a contract extension with the club beyond the 2021 season.
The Warriors described Walsh in their official statement as "one of the hottest talents in the game".
"This is a fantastic signing for our club and Vodafone Warriors fans have every reason to be excited about the progress we're making with recruitment in the short, mid and long term," Warriors CEO Cameron George said.
"Reece is a wonderful, polite young man who impressed us immensely when we met him.
"He comes to the Vodafone Warriors at the perfect time following us re-signing Tohu (Harris). We now have an exciting future with experience and exciting young players developed from within and others that have been handpicked to join us. It's a great statement for our club."
Originally published as 'Under siege' Broncos face roster collapse