‘They missed them all’: How Broncos butchered halves plan
BRISBANE had their chances to land a quality half to replace Ben Hunt.
Instead they invested a reported $3.5 million in Jack Bird.
While Ash Taylor still had another year to run on his Gold Coast contract at the time, the Broncos were banking on luring the No.7 back to Red Hill. Instead he re-signed with the Titans.
Still, there were opportunities to snare a half who could compliment Anthony Milford.
The likes of James Maloney and Blake Green moved clubs before the 2018 season kicked off but the Broncos stuck with the plan of Kodi Nikorima in the No.7.
At least that was the plan until Jack Bird moved into the halves.
That experiment was shelved as quickly as it started.
Former Broncos and Cronulla hooker Michael Ennis said the Broncos dropped the ball when it came to replacing Hunt.
Ennis believes that not only did the club get it wrong by not signing an experienced playmaker but have done a disservice to Bird who is lacking confidence.
"You had Cooper Cronk off-contract, Mitchell Pearce became available, James Maloney was available, the list went on last year of quality game managers," Ennis said.
"Blake Green for a cheaper value would've been superb inside Anthony Milford
"They missed them all.
"You have Nikorima there who the coach sat on the bench in the semi-finals. He obviously didn't trust him in the big occasion and used Benji Marshall and now we're seeing the repercussions of it and Jack's lack of confidence is now affecting other players."
Ennis said the problem with operating without a quality halfback is the follow-on affect it has on the team.
Bird was a luxury purchase but one the Broncos didn't need. They needed a game manager.
"I think if you got the recruitment staff at the Broncos in a private room and you asked them if they thought this was the right signing now we're six or eight months down the track," Ennis said.
"I think they'd agree they got it wrong. Not because Jack Bird's a bad player, Jack Bird's a fantastic player but for what they needed?
"You're losing Ben Hunt who is a game manager. He was the best halfback in the comp in 2015. Yes he made the mistake grand final night and he carried some baggage there for a bit. He admitted that but he was such a good player and we're seeing that at the Dragons.
"When you've got Anthony Milford, on $1 million a year and Darius Boyd on around $800,000, that No.7 jumper is so pivotal.
"Doesn't your recruitment go we've go to get this right? Who is the best person in this position to get the best out of Milford and to get the best out of Darius Boyd?"