I reckon the best story at the Broncos this season has been overlooked in all the gloom and doom headlines...
It wasn’t the spectacular – if short-lived - return of Kotoni Staggs, or even the form of young gun forwards Jordan Riki and Thomas Flegler. To me it was the emergence in recent weeks of Tyson Gamble as a first grade five-eighth.
As the Broncos desperately negotiated with Staggs in the hope of keeping him out of the clutches of just about every other club in the NRL, one of their bargaining chips was the opportunity to play five-eighth in 2022 and beyond.
Two things have since combined to turn that from a good idea to a very bad one.
The first was the way Staggs immediately turned the team around with his power and enthusiasm in the centres. The second was Gamble being given a shot at the number six jersey and making it his own.
Not too many people understand five-eighth play better than Broncos’ coach Kevin Walters – he wore that jersey for the team on more than 240 occasions, winning five premierships in the process. He knows a thing or two about what makes a good centre too, having played inside some of the best in his time at Canberra and Brisbane, like Mal Meninga and Steve Renouf.
Players like that come along once in a generation, and when you get one in your team you don't move them from their best position. Kevvie is no fool.
After Gamble and Staggs combined to sink the Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium last start he was quick to admit that plans to move Staggs closer to the scrum base were very much “on hold”. Especially with the prospect of Gamble playing outside newcomer Adam Reynolds next season becoming a more attractive option with every game he plays.
He might not have the spark of a Jarome Luai or the ball skills of Cody Walker, but Gamble is tough, feisty, and ultra-competitive.
I reckon playing between Reynolds and Staggs next year he’ll go to another level.
What do YOU reckon?