Whether off contract, unwanted, not fitting a structure or moving inter-state for love, at seasons end there will be more halfbacks on the market all at once than what we have seen in recent history.
As reported last week, the movement of Cooper Cronk has put the NRL into a bit of spin. Whether a club is holding out to try and snatch up the Melbourne super star, or they fear other clubs will go after their current crop of players, one thing is for sure it’s a buyer’s market.
Who is available?
Off contract or indicating a move are going to be Anthony Milford, Josh Reynolds, Keiran Foran, Cooper Cronk, Gareth Widdop, Chad Townsend, Shaun Johnson, Tyrone Roberts and Jack Bird.
Although Bird currently plays in the centres for the Sharks, he has a strong desire to move where he can get his hands on the ball. The Broncos have reportedly made a lucrative offer to Bird.
As we were about to publish this article, the news just came out that Jack Bird has finalised a new deal. Bird is rumoured to have signed with the Brisbane Broncos on a four-year $4m contract according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Who’s on the top of the list?
Cronk obviously. Any team in Sydney would be crazy not to go after the multiple Premiership winning QLD and Australian halfback. Second to him will be Foran. If he stays fit, he’s one of the most talented players in the competition.
Foran is a hard nose tough running player. Any club looking to straighten their attack i.e. Bulldogs or Warriors will be after his signature. After Foran’s trouble off the field, he went to NZ on under payments and said he would stick there for a year then go on the market to get this worth. The key for the Warriors will be selling a culture to Foran that he won’t want to give up.
Who will stay put?
Let’s not presume anything is inked in, but if you had to use semi-permanent marker, Townsend should stick at the Sharks. A Premiership winning halfback with the best years of his career ahead of him. Flanagan will be keen to keep him.
Widdop should almost be a lock for the Dragons. He lest Melbourne so that he could take charge of his own side. This year has done just that. With his blistering form, he has St George at the top the ladder.
The Darius Boyd prediction
Here’s the Boyd prediction. I believe the Broncos have offered Bird 1.2 million a season to be their new fullback. Fullbacks are mostly considered an extra pivot these days anyway and they make the same money as a halfback.
The clubs captain Darius Boyd will be moved to number 6. Where he can control the team’s attacking play a lot more. Bird will move into a ball playing position where he gets his hands on the ball a lot more and the Broncos still get to keep his devastating running game.
At fullback they can justify the offer. Darius Boyd is becoming the complete footballer. He is already an excellent runner and passer of the football. His last couple of seasons at fullback have taught him how to structure a defence and control a game.
You might be thinking it’s a ridiculous prediction, but let’s not forget Darren Lockyer. Bennett did the same thing with Lockyer and he turned into one of the greatest of all time.
The No 6. is a famous jumper for the Brisbane Broncos and in 2018 it could be on Boyd’s shoulders.
by Darrin Seath – contributor