$5m roster cull: Broncos prepare for mass roster cleanout
THE Broncos will embark on a $5 million roster clean-out as Brisbane bosses were urged to sign Cameron Smith to spearhead a Red Hill rescue mission.
News Corp can reveal the impending sacking of Tevita Pangai Jr will kickstart a major overhaul of Brisbane's underperforming playing group over the next 12 months.
With David Fifita bound for the Titans, Darius Boyd retiring and Jack Bird expected to be released in the coming months, the Broncos will have significant funds to bolster their 2021 squad.
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The Broncos will then have the opportunity to offload a host of players next year, with 14 contracted players under pressure to secure new deals.
Among them is $1 million-a-season flop Anthony Milford, captain Alex Glenn and potentially Brodie Croft and Andrew McCullough - if he returns to Brisbane from Newcastle - next year.
With the Broncos languishing in 15th spot ahead of Saturday night's showdown against the Raiders in Canberra, chairman Karl Morris confirmed a roster revolution was on the cards.
"We have some room in the salary cap," Morris said.
"We can make some decisions moving forward.
"We will look at our roster absolutely, there is some real opportunity to fill some of the gaps that we think need filling in that roster."
Those gaps are across the park, but none are bigger than the leadership void that is killing the Broncos according to former captain Justin Hodges.
Hodges played 193 games for the Broncos and captained the club in its last NRL grand final appearance in 2015.
That team included established players Corey Parker, Sam Thaiday, Matt Gillett, Adam Blair and Boyd, who provided strong leadership for young guns like Milford and Ben Hunt to fire.
Hodges said the Broncos were badly lacking leadership and urged the club to poach off-contract Queensland legend Smith from the Melbourne Storm for a one-season cameo next year.
"They need leadership - that's the biggest thing we're lacking at the moment," he said.
"We've got young guys in there as captains (Pat Carrigan), which is fine, but you need strong leaders and voices. In times like this you need a voice to pull them in line.
"Everyone has been talking about Smithy and he is a good player to have, even for one year, to help the younger players understand where they're at in the game. We miss that leadership and strong voice in the group.
"There's a lot of talented players there but I'd be starting with bringing some people in with good leadership qualities who have had success. The players can feed off that."
Coach Anthony Seibold has struggled to settle on a consistent playmaking spine in 2020, experimenting with different halves combinations, fullbacks and hookers.
Hodges said the Broncos had to secure a quality spine to set the platform for the club's promising young forwards and outside backs.
"If you look around the league you need a good forward pack and spine," he said.
"The top teams are all strong in those areas. They've got good spines to create opportunities for the other players around them.
"We have a good young forward pack, even though they're (Fifita and Pangai) starting to leave.
"You need a couple of good senior players in the spine and work your way out from that. The forward pack needs to be strong and mobile.
"We have got some fantastic players out wide like Kotoni Staggs, Xavier Coates and Herbie Farnworth.
"I'd be starting with the spine and looking at what forwards we've got as well."
Originally published as $5m roster cull: Broncos prepare for mass roster cleanout