Dearden could test his value on the open market. Picture by Peter Wallis.
Dearden could test his value on the open market. Picture by Peter Wallis.

Seibold promises Broncos won’t lose next Langer

BRISBANE coach Anthony Seibold has defended the club's handling of Tom Dearden and insists the halfback sensation will not walk out on the Broncos to join a rival NRL club.

The Broncos are facing a battle to retain Dearden with The Courier-Mail last week revealing seven clubs, including the Titans and Melbourne, are circling a teenage talent rated by Brisbane scouts as a 15-year halfback.

Dearden is contracted to the Broncos until the end of next year, but he will test his value on the open market from November 1 if he cannot secure a regular place in the NRL team in the coming months.

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Brisbane signed Brodie Croft from the Storm last summer and if their investment strategy succeeds, the 22-year-old will be a 10-year halfback at Red Hill - putting his understudy Dearden in a vulnerable position.

The Broncos are hopeful Dearden can be a 10-year halfback. AAP Image/Dan Peled.
The Broncos are hopeful Dearden can be a 10-year halfback. AAP Image/Dan Peled.

While Seibold can understand Dearden's frustration at being stuck behind Croft and five-eighth Anthony Milford, the Broncos coach insists he has no intention of losing the Queensland under-18s whiz-kid.

"I've spoken to Tom on a number of occasions, he hasn't indicated to me that he wants to leave the club," Seibold said.

"It would be unfair on Brodie and 'Milf' to make a change so quickly.

"Tom knows where he stands, but he hasn't indicated he wants to leave.

"We are in a good position to have him, Brodie and 'Milf' as three players competing for two positions.

"When Tom gets a chance, he will make the most of it. When he plays football, he will show what he can do. But it's a big ask throwing him in the deep end at such a young age."

The coronavirus pandemic hasn't helped Dearden's cause.

The Broncos were hoping to continue Dearden's development in the Intrust Super Cup this season, but the cancellation of Queensland's premier league competition has left Brisbane's fringe players with nowhere to play.

Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith has a huge wrap on Dearden, who played five NRL games last year before breaking his ankle, and the Storm are watching the Broncos situation closely.

Seibold says the Broncos must consider Dearden's welfare as they prepare him for the rigours of week-to-week NRL football.

"Tom is a Bronco, he wants to play first grade at the broncos, but the reality is he hasn't played a full game of football since last May," he said.

Dearden is yet to play an NRL game this season. Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images.
Dearden is yet to play an NRL game this season. Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images.

"There's no Queensland Cup. I have no doubt Tom is an NRL player, the challenge has been is he's had injuries and then COVID shut down the Queensland Cup.

"He needs some football, we need to get him on the park and guys across all 16 clubs have hardly played any football.

"That's the challenge that has been put in front of him.

"He has been training well, he is a really good and smart young football player. Only a couple of weeks after his 18th birthday, I gave him his debut. I have a lot of faith in Tom, he is contracted until the end of 2021, and he has never had a discussion with me about wanting to move."



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