Queensland Maroons great Johnathan Thurston has urged the struggling Brisbane Broncos to do all in their power to lure Storm veteran Cameron Smith to the club.
Thurston said “mismanagement” at the Broncos has been their biggest failing in recent years, letting go “a lot of leaders”.
Most recently the club lost long-time hooker Andrew McCullough to the Newcastle Knights, which hasn’t helped their 2020 campaign.
“They’ve still got Alex Glenn and Darius Boyd there but they’ve got no leadership in the halves and that’s where they need it,” Thurston said in his ‘Toast and Roast’ segment on Wide World of Sports.
The Maroons, Kangaroos and Cowboys legend said the club need to make a bold move to address their leadership void, and the answer could be in signing Smith from the Melbourne Storm.
“If I was the Broncos I’d be throwing the kitchen sink at Cameron Smith,” Thurston said.
“He’s a Brisbane boy. To see him go back there… it’s what they’re missing – leadership on and off the field and he could definitely fill that void.
“It’s been a tough couple of months for the Broncos. They started the season really well but they’re in a hole that they need to dig out of.
With Smith in the last year of his contract with the Storm, and question marks over whether he will extend with the club or retire, Thurston wholeheartedly believes the Broncos have a chance at bringing the veteran back to his home state.
“It’s obviously the back end of his career,” Thurston said.
“[Hooker] Harry Grant is at the Tigers [on loan from Melbourne] is doing extremely well and then they’ve got Brandon Smith who is a New Zealand [international] hooker.
“I think it might be an option for him [Smith] to get back to Queensland.
The Broncos are currently second-last on the NRL ladder and riding a five-game losing streak ahead of their game against the Warriors this weekend.
Thurston also backed the contribution of legendary halfback Allan Langer who is a trainer at the Broncos. Brisbane copped criticism from Matthew Johns this week, who claimed the club and its coach Anthony Seibold had not used ‘Alfie’ to his full potential.
“He’s more than just the waterboy; he does give direction out there,” Thurston said of Langer.
“I can’t see Alfie Langer in a head coaching role or an assistant coaching role. No doubt he’s got a wonderful football brain that these players need to be leaning on to get the best out of themselves.
“I think the comments made by Matty [Johns] are a bit harsh – I think he does bring a lot to that team in that role and no doubt he knows how to get the best out of players in every situation.
“He’s always got a smile on his face and doesn’t take life too seriously, so when you’re in those pressure cooker situations he’s the one you look to.”