The Brisbane Broncos are under pressure to keep key players in their squad as they wait for the arrival of a new coach to take the reigns at Redhill following the exit of Anthony Seibold.
Rival clubs are beginning to engage with Brisbane centre Kotoni Staggs and 21-year-old lock Thomas Flegler.
The interest in Staggs will continue to grow rapidly if come November 1st he lands in the open market, with a minimum of two interstate clubs keeping an eye on the Broncos centre.
Given the heavy interest from NSW coach Brad Fittler, Staggs looks certain to be part of the extended 27-man Blues squad later this year. If he performs well in the State of Origin series, that could mean more interest for his services and added pressure on the Broncos to keep him at the club.
Fittler will do well to add at least one and maybe two back-up centres into his squad. With his main two starting centres - Jack Wighton and Tom Trbojevic - facing slight fitness issues.
This may open the door for Staggs who will be first in line to receive the opportunity to play.
Staggs signature is a priority for his club, although The Australian insisted he looks likely to explore his value on the open market on November 1st. Once he enters into the final year of his contract, he can receive formal offers from interested clubs.
The Brisbane centre would have taken the announcement of Nick Cotric's $1.95m contract with Canterbury as an indication of his own worth.
NSW assistant coach Greg Alexander confirmed Staggs was being heavily considered, with an Origin appearance sure to increase his stocks.
“They saw him come through the pathways. He has been on the radar for a long time now. A lot of these kids that I am seeing now, Freddie and Bedsy have had a lot to do with them since they came through under 16s and 18s.
“I have been listening to them talk to me about these kids. Some handle first grade, some don’t. Kotoni certainly has.
“He is a beauty. There are a number of blokes that don’t just specialise in one position. With Kotoni, it wouldn’t be a stretch to put him at No 14 and he could come on at edge back row.
“You could throw him in the middle with his power. He would be dynamite for short periods. Even though has only played centre, he could do a job for you because he is so powerful and so quick.”
The Broncos are indicating a shakedown of their playing roster when a new coach finally arrives. Brisbane is willing to allow Jack Bird to leave if he finds a home in Sydney.
St George Illawarra have also been tipped to make a move for Joe Ofahengaue.
With Bird and Anthony Milford out of contract at the end of 2021, the Broncos will have the capital to retain Staggs while they also look to secure the future of young half Thomas Dearden and winger Xavier Coates.
Flegler is likely to be named on the extended Queensland list for the State of Origin game. Like Staggs, the Broncos are also keen to hold onto the youngster.