Broncos backflip: Huge twist in CEO race
Current Broncos chief executive Paul White has abandoned plans to leave the club on October 31 and has extended his contract until January.
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The Broncos have decided Storm boss Donaghy is the man for the role but they cannot prise him away from Melbourne yet due to his contract situation.
White's 10-year stint at the Broncos was set to end later this month, but the contractual roadblock with Donaghy has prompted Brisbane chiefs to extend White's stay.
"We have signed Paul until the end of January," said Broncos chairman Karl Morris.
"We are in no rush to sign a CEO."
Donaghy has been enjoying life with his family living in Noosa and was spotted playing a round of golf this week at a local course.
The Gladstone-born Donaghy cut his teeth in Brisbane as a sports journalist and is looking forward to returning to the city.
O CAPTAIN! MY CAPTAIN!
Sport Confidential can reveal the co-captaincy model favoured by some clubs will not be happening at the Broncos in 2021 as Walters looks to nominate a top dog to take Brisbane into the future.
The Broncos have previously dabbled with co-skippers. In 2014, then Broncos coach Anthony Griffin asked Corey Parker and Justin Hodges to share the captaincy duties, while this year, Anthony Seibold turned to rookie leaders when club skipper Alex Glenn was injured.
With Glenn sidelined for the 2020 season opener, Seibold, who resigned as coach in August, named Pat Carrigan and Brodie Croft as co-captains in Brisbane's 28-21 defeat of the Cowboys in Townsville.
But like his former mentor Wayne Bennett, Walters is not a fan of co-captains. He plans to name one leader in 2021 and he will spend the pre-season assessing the standout. Glenn is the incumbent skipper, but Carrigan and $1 million playmaker Anthony Milford are other options.
Controversial prop Matt Lodge went close to snaring the Broncos captaincy this year but the Brisbane board vetoed that scenario. Now Lodge is fighting for his career at Red Hill with Walters ready to challenge the prop to play with more consistency.
The Broncos have a history of great captains, led by Wally Lewis, Allan Langer and Darren Lockyer, and former skipper Parker says the club should not hand out the position easily.
"The Broncos captaincy is something that should be cherished and earned," he said.
"It's not something that is just given out. If there's no one that fits that mould then don't have one.
"It's been tough watching all the names that are getting tossed around for what is, in my opinion, one of the most prestigious roles in the game."
COWBOY'S SHOULDER WOES
Cowboys captain Michael Morgan is in danger of having to go under the knife again due to a troublesome infection in his shoulder.
Morgan made only six NRL appearances this year after a minor operation became infected and saw him miss 14 of the 18 games post the COVID break.
Morgan underwent check-up scans recently which revealed the infection had caused havoc in his shoulder, prompting him to withdraw from Queensland Origin selection.
"I went for check-up scans and they didn't look great so they wanted me to see a couple of specialists for it," Morgan said.
"Our doc and physio were a bit worried when they saw the scans. We got a couple of opinions from different surgeons.
"At the moment the plan is to leave it and hope the infection stays away.
"I've been getting blood tests every month to make sure everything is still good. I'll keep doing that and hope it stays away.
"It's a bit of bad luck with surgery, it happens.
"It hasn't been great for a while. I'll see how it goes over the break. Now I can rest it and try not to tackle people I can work on the strength."
Morgan is desperate to avoid surgery and hit the 2021 pre-season running under new coach Todd Payten as he attempts to bounce back from the toughest season of his career.
HERBIE FULLY LOADED
The battle for the Broncos fullback spot is hotting up with English young gun Herbie Farnworth emerging as a serious contender for the No.1 jumper.
Broncos veteran Darius Boyd finished the season in the No.1 jumper but the retirement of the 337-game former skipper has sparked a four-way battle for the troublesome spot in Brisbane's playmaking spine.
The Broncos churned through six fullbacks in 2020 and new coach Kevin Walters is keen to settle on a long-term No.1.
Jamayne Isaako, Tesi Niu and Jack Bird all had stints at fullback last season, but Walters is keen to run the rule over Farnworth.
"I haven't decided on my fullback yet, there is enough talent in the pool to sort things out," Walters said.
"We have Jamayne and Tesi Niu and Herbie Farnworth can also play fullback, so I'll be looking at those three guys when pre-season starts."
Farnworth was outstanding in 2020. The 20-year-old scored six tries from 19 games and impressed at centre and wing with his speed, competitive edge and hard running on kick returns.
THE SUNSHINE SPORTING STATE
Queensland has become the envy of every city, state and country in world sport.
Brisbane will become the mecca for world sport this weekend when 70,000 fans are permitted to attend back-to-back finals matches in the AFL and the NRL.
While other major sporting competitions around the world are playing in empty stadiums, Queensland is a safe haven for sports fans in this COVID era.
On Friday night, an estimated 38,000 will flock to Suncorp Stadium for the Storm-Raiders qualifying final.
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Meanwhile, the following night, the AFL grand-final qualifier between Brisbane and Geelong could attract between 30,000 to the Gabba. It is a brilliant result for the Queensland government, who have worked hard to accommodate the AFL and NRL in difficult times.
The Storm-Raiders game will be the biggest sports crowd of the year in Queensland.
Rock band Queen had the biggest crowd of the year with 39,000 for their concert in February.
LEAN AND MEAN TEVITA
Tevita Pangai Jr is primed for a bumper 2021 season, with the troubled Broncos forward stripping more than 8kg in the wake of his off-field dramas last season.
Pangai Jr was lucky to avoid being sacked by the Broncos following a series of COVID breaches this year, including his infamous visit to a barber shop owned by the Mongols bikie organisation.
But since being put on notice by the Broncos, Pangai Jnr has taken the warning seriously. He has thrown himself into a fitness regime and has even been doing distance running in a bid to improve his cardio base.
Pangai Jnr looked too heavy last season and took the park in some games weighing 121kg. But the Tongan international has trimmed down to 113kg and is keen to repay the Broncos for giving him a second chance.
DUNDEE PACKS A PUNCH
He was the man who helped train Jeff Horn and famously lifted 'The Hornet' to the heavens when he beat Manny Pacquiao to win the world title.
Now Horn's former trainer Dundee Kim has taken up a new challenge - bodybuilding.
Since severing ties with The Hornet in January, the 51-year-old former Korean army servant has decided to test himself by competing in the INBA Australian Bodybuilding Titles this Saturday in Brisbane.
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For the past 18 weeks, Kim, who owns a boxing-and-fitness gym, has trained every day. Dundee has gone on a strict bodybuilding diet, eating six meals a day and shunning all temptations like ice cream and chocolate. The results have been incredible. Kim started at 95kg and has lost 14kg of body fat while adding muscle at the same time. He has a six pack for the first time in his life, displaying the same work ethic that drove Horn to become the best.
"It has been a great challenge for me and I want to help inspire and motivate all my clients," Dundee said.
"It has been mentally and physically very tough, some days have been very painful, but hopefully when I get on stage all the hard work will be worth it."
THE HORNET'S NEW CAREER
Former boxing world champion Jeff Horn may have found his new calling ... as a poker player.
The Hornet loves playing poker in his spare time and he walked away with $1810 in prizemoney last week after finishing fourth in the Cyprus Poker Championship in Brisbane.
Horn is still weighing up whether to box on following his loss to Tim Tszyu in August and is as competitive playing poker as he is in the ring.
STORM LEAVE LEGACY
The Melbourne Storm have left a lasting impression on the Sunshine Coast community as they prepare to farewell Queensland.
The Storm will depart their Twin Waters base sometime in the next fortnight as the NRL season comes to an end.
The move has been a success for a number of reasons for the Storm, with the club picking up some new locally-based sponsors.
But they have also given back in numerous ways.
The Storm donated a number of signed jerseys to the Daniel Morcombe Foundation this week for fundraising purposes.
"We want to say a BIG thank you to the Melbourne Storm team for the donation of some awesome signed jerseys!," the foundation tweeted.
"We can't wait to auction these amazing pieces of memorabilia at future events and raise funds to help keep kids safe. Best of luck to the team in the finals series!"
WALTERS MOVES ON
Kevin Walters' elevation to the Broncos' head-coaching job could see him lost to Fox Sports.
Walters has been a long-serving and popular member of Fox League's commentary team but his coronation as Broncos coach means 'Kevvie' will not be able to provide expert analysis on NRL matches.
"I am still contracted to Fox Sports for next year so I need to talk to Steve Crawley (Head of Sport) and see what happens," Walters said.
"I've really enjoyed doing the job so hopefully I can stay involved in some way."
DOOR OPENS FOR OPACIC
Queensland Residents representative Opacic agreed to a one-year deal with the Eels just days before the bombshell revelation that Jennings had been stood down from last week's finals clash against Souths due to a doping violation.
Should he fail to clear his name, the 33-year-old Jennings faces a career-ending four-year ban.
Opacic and Parramatta had no knowledge of Jennings' ASADA saga when the parties began talks last month. The Eels were simply looking for backline depth and Opacic piqued their interest after he struggled for regular first-team action at the Cowboys this season.
If Jennings has played his last game in Eels colours, Parramatta will have a ready-made option in Opacic, a rugged centre who has played 43 NRL games and is renowned for his toughness and reliability in defence.
Which NRL identity has been approached to be a heavy-hitter with the Liberal Party? Somehow we don't think the man in question is ready to take a hefty pay cut to enter the cutthroat world of politics.
Originally published as Broncos backflip: Huge twist in CEO race