Brisbane Broncos Training Session
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 07: Ezra Mam passes the ball during a Brisbane Broncos NRL training session at the Clive Berghofer Centre on February 07, 2022 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

He might have finished the game with a worrying-looking injury, but it was a breakout performance for Ezra Mam in his first-ever match in a Brisbane Broncos jersey.

The Broncos are the only team who play three trial matches, and while they weren’t at full strength, they still took their clash with feeder club the Wynnum Manly Seagulls - which has become an annual event - very seriously, naming 13 players with NRL experience, including plenty who have changed clubs.

Fans might have been caught up in watching the likes of Brenko Lee, Jordan Pereira in their first match as a Bronco, or a forward pack which featured NRL level players Thomas Flegler, Keenan Palasia, Cory Paix, Kobe Hetherington and Brendan Piakura, or even the return of Te Maire Martin, but it was impossible not to get caught up in the hype surrounding Ezra Mam.

The match meant virtually nothing in the grand scheme of things and will be nothing but a blip on the radar come the end of the season, with the Broncos trouncing their feeder club to the tune of 52 points to 4.

But that doesn't mean there won't be the long-lasting memory of Ezra Mam putting on a show.

It was in this same game 12 months ago that the relatively unknown Reece Walsh first announced himself to the rugby league public, with the then 18-year-old assisting tries and proving a menace to Wynnum.

NRL Rd 15 - Knights v Warriors
NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 19: Reece Walsh of the Warriors warms up during the round 15 NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and the New Zealand Warriors at McDonald Jones Stadium, on June 19, 2021, in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

Walsh went on to be a breakout star at the Warriors following his move to the club and away from Brisbane.

The similarities between the duo are striking, even if Mam isn't going to go and start playing fullback, but just like Walsh was by the middle of last year and his shift to the New Zealand Warriors, Mam will be ready for first-grade at some point this year even if it isn't in Round 1.

Keen followers of the Queensland Cup will know Mam has been doing this for the best part of 12 months, having scored 13 tries and assisting another eight in just 11 games for the Souths Logan Magpies in last year's Queensland Cup.

Of course, even that wouldn't have come as a surprise to those who have been following Mam for years, having first broken out in junior football as an under-16s player, and talent scouts at the Broncos have had him on the radar for longer than that.

While an NRL spot may have been beyond him this year, that doesn't look so much the case after Saturday's effort, which saw him score a try and assist another three against Wynnum in what was a wonderful display of attacking rugby league.

Fans were somewhat generally surprised by his pace, acceleration, footwork, agility and vision for the game as he posed a threat everytime he touched the ball.

Mam of course will be locked in a four-way battle for one spot to partner Adam Reynolds, with another recruit in Billy Walters, alongside Mam, seemingly behind incumbent options Tyson Gamble and Albert Kelly for head coach Kevin Walters.

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Still, Mam will be an enticing prospect given a strong first half of the year in the Queensland Cup, although the next two weeks in trial action against the Gold Coast Titans and North Queensland Cowboys could tell us plenty as he faces up to real NRL opposition for the first time.

Mam has a big future in the sport, the only question is whether he will get his NRL career off the ground this year.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Of course I watched the game 🙂 Slight correction though Scotty, they (most embarrassingly as the last 2 years have been) drew this match last year so it was good to see them put their foot down – so to speak.

    Honestly, I’m no closer to knowing who will start at 6. Mam came off with 2 assists and a try but the control when Gamble came on was quite noticeable. Then, even Billy Walters played quite well, better then Paix when at Hooker IMO.

    Pereira was very good as well. Strong all game and scored a great one from a Lee grubber.

  2. Gamble or Mam?
    My only qualm with Gamble, which isn’t really, is that he is too alike to Reynolds. Not on the same level of course. His talk and enthusiasm is great but he’s not really an attacking threat, not quick and so-so defender.

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