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Rugby league legends Andrew Johns and Brad Fittler have backed James Maloney to make a successful switch to the Brisbane Broncos should he elect to return to the NRL.

Wide World of Sports revealed earlier this week that Maloney was on the verge of a return to the NRL with his Super League career up in the air due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Johns told Wide World of Sports’ Freddy and the Eighth that the Broncos are in desperate need of an experienced player.

“The Broncos, they need an experience half,” he said.

James Maloney (Getty)

Fittler added that although Maloney would slot right into the squad, Brisbane players need to get off social media and focus on training.

“They need someone that doesn’t care,” Fittler said.

“He’s just great around the club because he’s just James every day, even if they’re winning or losing. He just turns up.

“I saw Alex Glenn come out on social media – they’ve got so many distractions at the moment.

“They should put their little phones away and go and do some training.”

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Earlier this week Wayne Bennett hit back at claims that he left Brisbane in need of a rebuild, questioning current coach Anthony Seibold’s ability to get the best out his struggling squad.

Johns defended Bennett’s comments by admitting the current Broncos squad looks “incredible” on paper.

“On paper, their side looks incredible,” he said.

“A lot of depth, they are one team that hasn’t come out of the COVID-19 break well at all. Coming back, their key players haven’t fired, It’s a worry.”

Anthony Seibold (Getty)

Leading up to Seibold’s signing with the Broncos back in 2019, it was widely reported at the time that Queensland coach Kevin Walters had a handshake agreement with Brisbane CEO Paul White to take up the top job.

The Newcastle legend said the reason behind a number of former Broncos players not being invited back to the club was due to the old boys backing Walters for the head coaching role and not Seibold.

“Kevy can’t go back, he thought he had the job,” Johns said.

“The mail around was, he had a handshake deal with (Broncos CEO) Paul White that he was going to get the job then all of a sudden it went to Anthony Seibold. I think there might be some bad blood between Kevin and Anthony.

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“I think this is a big reason why a lot of the old boys aren’t invited back because they backed Kevy to be the next coach.

Johns also took aim at the club for not showing a lack of knowledge surrounding the rumours last linking former Warriors coach Stephen Kearny to the Broncos.

“The Kevin Walters thing just won’t happen, and Stephen Kearney doesn’t want to do it,” he added.

“Stephen Kearney got tossed up, and he didn’t know about it and the chairman of the Broncos didn’t know about it.”

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