BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 30: Darius Boyd of the Broncos and Anthony Milford (middle) celebrate a try during the round 24 NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and Parramatta Eels at Suncorp Stadium on August 30, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Jono Searle/Getty Images)

With just over a week to go until the NRL kicks off, we lay down an extended preview for each club. Below is a look at the new-look Broncos.

Ins: Brodie Croft (Storm), Jordan Kahu (Cowboys), Jesse Arthars (Titans), Ilikena Vudogo, Keenan Palasia, Jamil Hopoate, Xavier Coates (all upgraded from development contracts)

Outs: Troy Dargan (Rabbitohs), Matt Gillett, Shaun Fensom, Sam Tagataese (retired), George Fai, Patrick Mago, James Segeyaro (unsigned), Gehamat Shibasaki (Knights)

2019 Season:

The Broncos did well to qualify for finals after a disruptive 2019, although they really needn’t have bothered.

Such was the embarrassing pasting they copped at the hands of the Eels, questions were asked far beyond the infamous “pokie” night.

I’d previously described Brisbane as botching a rebuild that they didn’t need, and I stand by that.

They ended 2019 in an absolute whimper and should be looking to send a message early on in the new year.

Predicted Best Player: Payne Haas

All aboard! The hype train is absolutely powering forward and I’m firmly in my seat.

I expect this kid to make easy work of so called “second year syndrome” and continue his rapid ascent.

It’s not often that a front rower dominates headlines, but Haas is special. He’ll be causing plenty of nightmares amongst opposition players and coaching staff.

Predicted Top Scorer: Corey Oates

It seems like a long time ago now re talks of Oates future being in the second row.

Oates remains the Broncos go to out wide and will look to continue his amazing try scoring record to date.

The new laws re not being able to tackle attacking players in the air is going to be music to the rep wingers ears.

Surely Milford and co have spent the summer kicking to the corners. Could be a big year for Oates. 14 tries!

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – JULY 18: Corey Oates of the Broncos celebrates scoring a try during the round 18 NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Canterbury Bulldogs at Suncorp Stadium on July 18, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Recruitment Impact:

Brodie Croft is the big “in” and should immediately solve the Broncos struggles at 7.

This should free Milford up after a horror 2019 season saw him shifted to fullback following a poor showing in the halves.

Croft can control, Milford can play what’s in front of him. That’s the blueprint.

Kahu returns from his brief stint with the Cowboys adding another experienced option.

2020 Final Position: 9th

The Broncos barely scraped into the 8 after a fairly disasterous year in 2019, but with a full off-season under Anthony Griffin should be better positioned in 2020.

So why do I have them missing the 8?

Simply put, there are eight better teams than this current Broncos outfit. Arguably 9 or 10, but the individual brilliance of Milford and Haas is worth those extra wins to secure nineth.

Brisbane have one of the most talented rosters in the game but also have some huge issues and/or questions.

What do they do with Jack Bird? It looks as though he has gone from outcast being shopped around for no takers, to starting fullback in a matter of months.

Jamayne Isaako looked like the next big thing. His mooted move into the fullback role was meant to unlock the newest Broncos superstar. He wasn’t even named in the run on squad for the club’s last trial and is supposedly on the outter.

Matt Lodge has done his ACL and is gone for the season. He was linked with an Origin birth and if not for his horror history likely would have been in the squad somewhere.

The Broncos will start with a rookie number nine, while they look to be dedicating a centre position to Darius Boyd based purely on his incredible contributions to the club rather than his form.

A big part of how Brisbane starts depends on how quickly the new look spine clicks. Bird/Isaako, Croft, Milford and Turpin have to hit the ground running. Considering only one of those players was in the Brisbane spine last year, that’s a tough ask.

It’s been almost literally forever since the Broncs failed to feature in the finals, but 2020 is the season.


  1. I’m sure you couldn’t be sure of that prediction.
    Brisbane can just find outside backs & forwards of quality, seemingly at will.
    If the halves fire , they can do anything. Eventually they’ll find the right halves combination & will be unstoppable. Especially with the awesome young forwards they have. They just need some quality leadership.

  2. EOD the broncos problem is the fullback position. I heard issako will start on the bench next week jack bird will be fullback but who knows what kind of shape he’s in. Also all the talk about Croft being able to lead them is yet to be seen. I think Croft will do a below average job

  3. Think this is a pretty fair assessment all round.

    Its quite fun reading all these upbeat stories at this time of year about how such and such a team is going to be in the eight or top 4 because they have recruited so and so and XYZ is training the house down and and and….

    For me, the correct way to approach this is to say there are 8 spots so who are shoo ins for those spots – lets see Storm, Souths, Roosters are going to be in there plus a highly probable Manly, Canberra. Now there are 3 spots left that your team will be fighting for. That kinda puts it in perspective and shows why some teams just don’t make it no matter how much they have improved in the off season.

  4. Maybe Rucky..
    Still there are variables that can affect that.
    The Nuggets you say are certainties. On the face of it , that’s fine. They are the premiers from the last two years, so surely they’ll be there. What if Keary suffers a couple of head knocks & was forced out from fairly early in the season. Then you have a very inexperienced halfback & ditto for whoever plays 5/8th. All of a sudden, doesn’t look so good . Now before the Nuggets supporters get all upset. That’s just an example & this could happen to a lot of teams.
    Who says Williams will be a run away success for the Raiders? Then you have a created 5/8th & an unsuccessful new halfback there. What if DCE is out for an extended period of time for Manly?
    There are no certainties in sport , just suppositions Rucky.

  5. Understand that East, however you have to make a few assumptions otherwise this whole exercise is futile and you might as resort to throwing dice. The fact is that is that say Keary gets injured in say round 3 and comes back in round 12 does that put the Roosters out of the eight or simply slip them from say 2nd to 4th ? And then what about the other teams that could climb above them ? Do they not get injuries / bad calls etc ?
    Certain clubs are destined to rise to the top and will do that unless something very extreme happens. The better clubs that rise to the top usually have contingency plans for the unexpected and have that much talent in their playing group that they can rally round and cover for inexperience particularly over a full season. They might slip one or two spots but the odd injury rarely causes capitulation.

    If Melbourne lost say Cam Smith for the 2020 season in round 1, I still wouldn’t back against them reaching the top 4 because I know he will have them that well drilled that they could cover.

  6. I think when making these predictions, it is mostly done assuming the best team takes the field each week for all clubs. Injuries, suspensions etc are all unknowns. Given that, I would say the Roosters are certainties for the top 8, as are the Storm. I am not convinced though that Souths are certainties, they probably fall into the next categories of highly likely with Manly, Canberra and Parra in my opinion. Next you have the likes of Cowboys, Panthers, Broncos and maybe Sharks. The others aren’t necessarily making up the numbers, but probably will need a lot to go their way to make it.

  7. The only certainties for the top eight in 2020 are Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Manly and Parra….
    All the rest have a chance to qualify.

  8. Rucky and eels47, I do understand that those predictions are based on no injuries. However, I think some teams would be affected by injuries in key positions more that others. I agree with EOD, Easts would struggle without Keary. I believe if Levi gets injured then Manly are in strife. However Melbourne have Grant and B. Smith in case C. Smith gets injured.

  9. Melbourne have a good back up hooker & a NZ international.
    Who’s the Nuggets experienced back up halves? They’re rookies. Like their halfback.
    I know what you’re saying & maybe that’s true? Still, if you don’t have the experienced back ups, it won’t necessarily work out well.

  10. Dont worry about Broncos
    we have paid big bucks to pry Latrell from the Roosters
    Big bucks to get all the brightest youngsters and other imports to this club
    we are confident of stopping the rot and choke
    we are in the box seat and are favorites to win the title this year

    can anyone stop the Souths Sombreros

  11. If anyone is doubting Bird at Fullback they didn’t see the Titans trial. He rarely looked out of place and his running looked like having the impact at and through the line on his returns at Sharks when him and Holmes would take back to backs. Looks the fittest and strongest I’ve seen him, will be one of Broncs best this season. BTW I hate Broncs so unbiased opinion

  12. I’m with Sombrero Hombrero
    Souths have built a great side, they have Latrell as their X factor, definitely favourites this year..

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