The Brisbane Broncos face a battle to retain Ben Te’o with the club’s wealth of backrow talent leaving the hard-hitting utility open to big-money offers from rival NRL clubs.
Mindful of a poaching threat, the Broncos are eager to secure Te’o, who is a free agent for 2013, and operations chief Andrew Gee will begin preliminary contract talks with the Queensland Origin hopeful in the coming weeks.
But Brisbane’s desire to re-sign Te’o could ironically be hampered by their all-star backrow as five players – Sam Thaiday, Corey Parker, Alex Glenn, Matt Gillett and Te’o – vie for three starting spots in the forward pack.
The club also has a high opinion of rookie forward Mitchell Frei, who can play front or backrow and is an accomplished goalkicker.
Newly-crowned Australian lock Parker and Thaiday, as Broncos captain, are certain starters. And with Glenn having won his maiden New Zealand jumper last year, dynamic duo Gillett and Te’o could be asked to play off the bench, or at worst be relegated to the Queensland Cup.
Te’o is the only member of the Fab Five yet to be signed to a long-term deal.
The Sunday Mail understands a number of clubs have expressed interest in Te’o, who was named 18th man for Queensland in 2010 after renouncing his ties to Samoa.