One image from this morning’s training session at Red Hill has summed up the disgust of Broncos fans.
One image from this morning’s training session at Red Hill has summed up the disgust of Broncos fans.

Sad image sums up fan response to Broncos crisis

As the club appears to be burning down around them, Broncos fans are starting to jump ship.

An angry fan arrived at Brisbane headquarters on Thursday morning and threw his jumper on the ground in protest at the Broncos' dismal on and off-field performances.

The fan's response sums up the sorry Broncos saga and the pressure on the club to rebuild their damaged brand.

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The protest came as Souths coach Wayne Bennett ruled out throwing a lifeline to Broncos star Tevita Pangai Jr in the wake of his bikie barber-shop indiscretion.

Pangai Jr has almost certainly played his last game for the Broncos, who have slapped the forward with a breach-of-contract notice in a sign Brisbane bosses are ready to tear up his $650,000 contract.

Brisbane's stance comes on top of strong action from the NRL, who have fined Pangai Jr $30,000 and stood him down indefinitely for a number of COVID-related breaches which have left his Broncos career in tatters.

Tevita Pangai Jr and Wayne Bennett won’t be reuniting at the Rabbitohs. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt
Tevita Pangai Jr and Wayne Bennett won’t be reuniting at the Rabbitohs. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt

 

Should Pangai Jr become a free agent in the coming days, he is sure to have no shortage of options, with battling clubs such as the Bulldogs, Warriors, Dragons and Wests Tigers always looking for quality talent.

Big guns the Roosters and Melbourne have already ruled out chasing Pangai Jr and the Rabbitohs are the latest club to shun the Tongan Test star.

If anyone could resurrect Pangai Jr, it is Bennett. The former Broncos coach was the main reason why Pangai Jr quit Canberra, with the former Raiders rookie personally phoning Bennett to be mentored by him in 2016.

For all his bravado, Pangai Jr is a soft-natured person at heart and he connected with Bennett, who provided a good balance of strong mentoring and candid communication for the 24-year-old.

Bennett is a fan of Pangai Jr as a person and player, but South Sydney's salary-cap situation will prevent him even considering a lifeline. It is understood the Rabbitohs can't afford to pick up Pangai Jr's $650,000 contract, leaving the prospect of a Bennett-Pangai Jr reunification highly unlikely.

 

BRONCOS COLD ON CAM

BRONCOS chairman Karl Morris insists he won't be chasing Cameron Smith amid speculation Brisbane are ready to launch a poaching raid on the Storm champion.

There has been a public push for the Broncos to pursue Smith to lead a rebuild of the embattled Broncos and even the Melbourne Storm have been privately wondering whether Brisbane will have a crack at their masterful hooker.

 

The Broncos have gone cold on signing Cameron Smith.
The Broncos have gone cold on signing Cameron Smith.

 

Smith, who turns 38 next June, is off-contract at season's end and there is no certainty Melbourne will offer him a new deal, opening the door for the Broncos to ask the question.

Melbourne chairman Matt Tripp put Brisbane on notice a fortnight, saying he was up for the fight and would "get the gloves on" if the Broncos tried to lure the Queensland Origin legend home.

But Morris says Broncos hierarchy have no intention of signing Smith for one last hurrah at Red Hill in 2021.

"Cam Smith plays for Melbourne, I've never spoken to him and never met him," Morris said. "There's been no approach to Cam Smith."

 

'TITSY' TITANS COACH'S NICKNAME EXPLAINED

TITANS coach Justin Holbrook goes by the nickname 'Titsy' and now the explanation for it can finally be revealed.

Former Penrith grand final hero Scott Sattler played with Holbrook at the Panthers and says a unique turn-of-phrase led to a nickname that has since stuck.

"Justin was really popular with the boys at Penrith," said Sattler of Holbrook, who played eight games for the Panthers in 2001 before his move to the Roosters the following year.

"Whenever Justin found something funny, he would say, 'Ahh, that's the tits, that's the best'.

"So we decided to call him 'Titsy'.

"It didn't surprise me that he could make it in coaching. Justin always looked at the game two steps ahead, he was a clever playmaker.

"He always had the talent between the ears but probably lacked the pure speed to make it in the NRL long-term.

"But he has a good football brain and a good way with people, so it wasn't a shock to me that he ended up becoming a coach."

 

BRONCOS FLOODED WITH RESUMES

THE battle for the Broncos CEO position has exploded with the club receiving almost 500 applications in the quest to succeed Paul White.

White's 10-year reign will officially end in October and the Broncos have engaged a recruitment agency to sift through scores of submissions from some of the best executives around Australia and the world.

 

Ben Ikin is the frontrunner for the Broncos CEO job. Picture: Ashley Feder/Getty Images
Ben Ikin is the frontrunner for the Broncos CEO job. Picture: Ashley Feder/Getty Images

 

Former Broncos playmaker and current Fox League commentator Ben Ikin is rated the hot front-runner for the post, but the Broncos are leaving no stone unturned to deliver White's successor.

It will be intriguing to see which type of CEO the Broncos settle on. It is understood the Broncos are looking for a chief executive with an understanding of finance, but what Brisbane really need is a boss who knows football given the club's shambolic state on the field.

The Broncos are already the NRL's richest club but their football department is a basketcase. Ikin understands football intimately and would be the perfect candidate to fix the ills in Brisbane's front office.

 

SEIBOLD SLANDER GOES GLOBAL 

THE disgraceful and slanderous rumours involving Broncos coach Anthony Seibold have gone global.

Sports Confidential can reveal the damaging text messages circulating about Seibold and his private life have gone as far as England, with rugby league insiders in the Super League calling Australian associates to ask what all the fuss is about.

The global rumour-mongering is another reason why Seibold has contacted Queensland Police to uncover the architects of the social-media speculation.

 

Sam Thaiday is making a comeback of sorts. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled
Sam Thaiday is making a comeback of sorts. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled

 

THAIDAY MAKES A COMEBACK

BRONCOS legend Sam Thaiday has made a comeback of sorts.

No, he's not coming back for the Broncos, but the 300-game legend is helping out his good mate Justin Hodges, who is president of the Albany Creek Crushers.

Thaiday played for the Crushers' A-grade side last Saturday night and while he has bulked up from his days as an Origin and Test enforcer, Hodges appreciated Big Sammy giving back to the game.

"Sammy decided to come out and help the team," he said.

"It's great to see the big fella still running around."

 

TITANS SETTLE SPONSOR BEEF

THE Gold Coast Titans have certainly smoothed any bad blood with one of their major sponsors.

The Titans announced this week that TFH Hire would continue to sponsor the club in 2021.

In October last year, TFH was slammed across the game after threatening to quit the club following Titans captain Ryan James' NRL grand final gaffe.

 

 

James infamously forgot the words to his Welcome to Country speech before the grand final, prompting a savage reaction from TFH's Brett Thomas as they attempted to back out of a sponsorship deal.

"The embarrassing performance of Ryan James in his speech last weekend was offensive and weighed heavily on this decision," Thomas wrote to the club.

 

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TFH backflipped following a savage backlash and committed to the Titans for 2020 and they have now extended their partnership into next year

"TFH is proud to reaffirm our sponsorship with the Titans into the 2021 season," said TFH founder Owen Thomas.

"We've been with the club for a long time now and we remain committed to the Titans and to the local community on the Gold Coast. We also see the direction the club is heading in and we are very excited to be a part of that."

That's in stark contrast to a year ago when Brett Thomas said: "The well documented doubts regarding the club's future in 2020 was also relevantly considered."

 

TITANS IN A WORLD OF HURT

THE Gold Coast Titans have had some major off-field injuries.

Co-owners Darryl Kelly and Brett Frizelle have both undergone knee replacements in the past month.

They underwent the operations a week apart, with club figures joking the duo received a "buy one, get one free" deal on the artificial knees.

 

Darryl and Jo Kelly with Rebecca and Brett Frizelle. Picture: Glenn Hampson
Darryl and Jo Kelly with Rebecca and Brett Frizelle. Picture: Glenn Hampson

 

Kelly and Frizelle claim they required new knees because of old footy injuries.

Kelly played league growing up in country NSW and told Sport Confidential ACL injuries in those days were treated by putting your leg in a cast.

Frizelle, husband of former Titans chair Rebecca Frizelle, played the 15-man game and was also a keen BMX rider in his younger years.

 

MORGAN FAR FROM RIGHT

COWBOYS captain Michael Morgan is underdone and still struggling with the shoulder problem that has ruined his 2020 season.

Morgan made his return from shoulder surgery in North Queensland's dreadful 30-10 loss to the Titans last Sunday.

He missed six tackles in a horror performance and later reported that he had little strength in his affected arm.

Morgan is aiming to play out the season as the Cowboys fight to avoid the wooden spoon but he is behind the eight-ball.

 

BRONCOS PIZZA PROBLEM FIX

BRONCOS players made a surprise appearance at Red Hill on Tuesday night, fuelling speculation a big announcement was about to be made.

Broncos players started to file into the club's headquarters on dusk in what was a strange scene.

But it turned out the players had decided to hold a pizza and cards night as they attempt to lift spirits following the nightmare of 2020.

 

MARY EYES MOVE

SACKED Dragons coach Paul McGregor is already eyeing off his next move.

McGregor is understood to have interest in the vacant North Queensland Cowboys job and may submit an application to replace Paul Green.

The Cowboys have been inundated with applicants and have some quality options to choose from, with former Titans coach John Cartwright leading the race.

 

 

Originally published as Jumping ship: Sad image sums up fan response to Broncos crisis



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