NRL Rd 9 - Broncos v Bulldogs
NRL Rd 9 - Broncos v Bulldogs

Will Walters back Glenn to lead Broncos again?

New Brisbane coach Kevin Walters will preside over an instant shake-up of the Broncos, putting the captaincy up for grabs in his search for a leader to break the club's 15-year premiership drought.

Walters will usher in a new era at Red Hill from Monday, with the start of the 2021 pre-season officially launching his NRL coaching career at the beloved Broncos club where the Ipswich whiz played 241 games and won five premierships.

And Walters is wasting no time stamping his mark following Anthony Seibold's wooden-spoon debacle last season, declaring the battle is underway for a captain to lead the Broncos' revival next year.

Walters' predecessor Seibold appointed Alex Glenn as first-choice skipper in 2020, but his injury-plagued campaign also saw Brodie Croft, Pat Carrigan and Joe Ofahengaue enjoy brief stints as co-captains.

Glenn is off-contract next year and while Walters has enormous respect for his stellar 267-game NRL career, the Broncos coach says he is keeping an open mind as he challenges the entire full-time squad to step up as leaders.

The one certainty is Walters has no interest in a co-captaincy model as he looks for a standout choice to spearhead Brisbane's long haul back towards premiership credibility.

"I'm leaving the captaincy open for the moment," Walters said.

Kevin Walters says the battle is on for a skipper to lead the Broncos. (Image/Josh Woning)
Kevin Walters says the battle is on for a skipper to lead the Broncos. (Image/Josh Woning)

"Myself and the coaching staff will watch everyone training and their reactions on and off the field will be important.

"I am not at all concerned about the perception we have a lack of leaders and whether we have a captain for next year.

"We will start pre-season on Monday and we will have two months after Christmas to identify the captain.

"It will only be one person. I won't have co-captains. I will be using the next few months to look at who can lead the club forward into 2021."

 

Glenn has not been formally sacked as captain, but it is clear the 32-year-old will have to lead with his actions during pre-season to convince Walters he can fight back from a turbulent 2020 season in which he played just eight games.

Other possible captaincy options are sure to raise eyebrows.

The Broncos board last year vetoed a push for Matt Lodge to captain the club given concerns over his chequered off-field past.

Anthony Milford has amassed 180 NRL games and played State of Origin, but there are doubts over his on-field consistency and communication skills.

Ben Te'o impressed the Broncos with his off-field professionalism in his return to the NRL last season after a six-year hiatus, but he turns 34 in January and is close to retirement.

Croft fell behind Tom Dearden at halfback last season. While Carrigan is highly regarded, the 22-year-old is raw, having played 38 NRL games.

"Nobody has the inside running," Walters said.

"Alex was captain this year and I know Alex from my previous stints here (as assistant coach).

"Alex has been a great player for the club. I will be having a look at everyone over pre-season to determine my captain. Alex did a good job as captain this year and he will certainly be part of the leadership group moving forward."



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