Rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns says Kotoni Staggs’ damning critique of the Broncos senior players is one of the most “worrying” things he’s heard about the club.
Never in history have Brisbane been in a hole so dark and deep, with pressure on everyone from the board to the CEO and the coach to the players.
They are in serious contention to score an unwanted first in 2020 – the dreaded wooden spoon – sitting in 15th place, just one win clear of the Bulldogs.
Gus’ plea for Seibold
While coach Anthony Seibold has been the target of much of the heaviest criticism, the club’s roster management has also come under fire.
Over the last couple of years the Broncos have pursued a clear rebuilding strategy, with talented youth prioritised ahead of trusted senior players.
That has created a clear leadership vacuum, with Staggs underlining the problem in a candid interview with NITV’s Over the Black Dot program.
“There’s some boys there in leadership that are not really doing their job and I think there’s a lot of young boys in there that are getting away with a bit,” Staggs said.
“We need some leaders there to step up and to show us young boys what it’s about.”
Speaking on Wide World of Sports Immortal Behaviour Johns said Staggs’ comments didn’t come as a surprise given some of the noise that has been coming out of the club in recent months.
“That’s probably been the worrying comment I’ve heard about Brisbane,” Johns said.
“Everyone’s been questioning the leadership of Brisbane with their senior players but for one of their players to come out, especially one of their young players, and probably their best young player to come out and say that, it’s a real worry.”
Johns added that some of the Broncos’ best young players may struggle to reach their potential in such an environment.
Staggs is one of the few young players at the club who has been credited with a good season to date, with other outstanding second and third year players stagnating.
Johns said it was the responsibility of the senior players, particularly those in the leadership group, to ensure the young members of the squad kept a level head and stayed on the path to improvement.
“A lot of these younger players come out of school and then they’re put in the bubble of the NRL, don’t worry about the COVID bubble, but the bubble of the NRL and everything’s given to you,” Johns said.
“All of a sudden with that comes popularity and comes temptation and that sort of thing, so you need those older guys to really steer the younger guys on.”
The Broncos host the Dragons in tonight’s late kick off, to be broadcast live on Nine from 7.30pm.