Wayne Bennett has built the NRL’s most fearsome forward pack.
Wayne Bennett has built the NRL’s most fearsome forward pack.

Broncos lock in last member of formidable pack

THE Broncos have ramped up their $2 million retention drive and are on the verge of securing rising star Jaydn Su'A as coach Wayne Bennett pieces together the most formidable forward pack in the NRL.

Su'A is set to become the latest young Bronco to formally commit to Brisbane long-term despite being one of the NRL's most sought after talents.

The 20-year-old backrower is sidelined for the remainder of the season with a broken ankle, but is expected to ink a new deal imminently to join Brisbane's growing list of outstanding young forwards locked up at Red Hill.

The Broncos last week secured teenage star Payne Haas until 2024 while controversial prop Matt Lodge is finalising a two-year extension to remain at the club until 2020 after resurrecting his career under Bennett.

Young gun David Fifita, the NRL's first player born this century, is signed until 2020 and destructive forward Tevita Pangai Jr has confirmed he will re-sign with Brisbane in November after severing ties with his manager.

The Broncos last year secured Test lock Josh McGuire until 2021 and Queensland Origin hopeful Joe Ofahengaue (2019) while injured Maroons star Matt Gillett has re-signed until 2022.

In his 10th NRL season with Brisbane, McGuire said he was excited about the forward pack the Broncos had assembled.

"It's very exciting," he said.

"We've got a wealth of riches here. We're very fortunate to have some fantastic young players coming through in the forwards and backs. It's an exciting time for this club.

"These young guys get chucked in the deep end early and are playing well.

"A big key for us is these young guys coming through fast and developing fast for us.

"We're losing a couple of players at the end of the year now and hopefully these young guys can really step up for us.

 

Joe Ofahengaue is contracted to the end of 2019. Picture: AAP
Joe Ofahengaue is contracted to the end of 2019. Picture: AAP

 

"We've got some fantastic young kids and I'm sure there will be some more next year coming through the ranks.

"We're lucky enough to have the pick of the bunch at the Broncos. We're doing our best to keep them all."

Bennett will farewell veteran forward Sam Thaiday at season's end while bench prop Korbin Sims is headed to the Dragons after the Broncos prioritised retaining their younger crop.

Fullback Jamayne Isaako was last week locked in until 2022 but Origin winger Corey Oates's future remains in limbo as he tosses up whether to pursue a switch to the forwards at another club.

 

Josh McGuire and Andrew McCullough are both contracted until the end of 2021. Picture: Peter Wallis
Josh McGuire and Andrew McCullough are both contracted until the end of 2021. Picture: Peter Wallis

 

Pangai Jr, 22, is the final piece of the puzzle but is adamant he will put pen to paper with the Broncos once formally allowed.

Five-eighth Anthony Milford, locked in until 2021, said the Broncos had a bright future.

"There is a young, talented roster there that hopefully the Broncos can keep together," he said.

"There are a few more to jump on board, but the future is bright here at the Broncos."

The Broncos are in the midst of the club's longest ever premiership drought, having won the last of their six titles in 2006.

Bennett enters the final season of his current contract next year and McGuire said he hoped the 806-game coach remained at the club beyond 2019 to usher in the new wave of talent.

 

Wayne Bennett‘s coaching future remains uncertain. Picture: AAP
Wayne Bennett‘s coaching future remains uncertain. Picture: AAP

 

"He has been a fantastic member of this club for a long time," McGuire said.

"He is a foundation member and guy that's taken it to where it is.

"I'd love to see Wayne stay on but at the end of the day that's out of my hands."

Pangai Jr was on restricted duties at training as he manages a hamstring problem in the lead-up to Thursday night's clash against Cronulla at Suncorp Stadium while halfback Kodi Nikorima left the session early to manage groin soreness.

BRISBANE'S FUTURE FORWARD STARS

Josh McGuire - Contracted until 2021

Matt Gillett - 2022

Matt Lodge - 2020

Joe Ofahengaue - 2019

Alex Glenn - 2019

Andrew McCullough - 2021

Payne Haas - 2024

David Fifita - 2020

Tevita Pangai Jr - Re-signing in November

Jaydn Su'A - Set to re-sign



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