Long-serving Broncos player, Corey Oates, is currently facing a quandary as his rugby league career enters its final stages. Throughout his career, Oates has provided the Broncos with talismanic moments, earning his place as the Brisbane club’s fifth top try-scorer of all time. Unfortunately, his season this year has been marred with injuries, including a fractured jaw and nagging knee problems, limiting him to just seven games.
Stepping onto the scene in Oates’ absence, Jesse Arthars is enjoying a standout campaign, while newcomer Deine Mariner is quickly earning a reputation as the most promising outside back emerging from the ranks.
Originally, Oates had options that favoured him beyond his current deal through 2023. However, it is understood that due to the club’s salary cap balancing act and their remarkable form resurgence, he might need to accept reduced earnings to extend his stint at Red Hill.
Broncos coach Kevin Walters confirmed the club’s desire to keep Oates on board but acknowledged the intricate task of managing the NRL’s salary cap amid their ongoing ascent. Walters emphasised the difficulty of administrating the salary cap, particularly with the wealth of emerging talent at the Broncos.
“We’ve got to make judicious decisions on players and it’s challenging, but get it wrong and you start to slip,” Walters stated. Underscoring Oates’ valuable contributions over the past few years, Walters confirmed a contract offer for the player, also expressing his desire for Oates to remain with the club next year.
Despite the hotly contested marketplace of the NRL, Walters firmly maintained that Payne Haas, a pivotal player in the Broncos forward pack, isn’t going anywhere soon. Recently, the 23-year-old Haas avoided going into specifics about his ongoing contract saga as he nears becoming the NRL‘s next million-dollar player. Instead, he highlighted the significant influence that his south-east Queensland-based family will have on his decision, as multiple teams vie for his services.
As Haas gets ready to wear the Broncos jersey for the 100th time, Walters stressed that Brisbane is the perfect environment for the State of Origin star to solidify his position as one of the game’s top middle forwards.
“I’d be genuinely surprised if Payne Haas isn’t still playing here in season 2025 and beyond, as we feel that he truly fits here,” Walters comments. Although he’s not directly involved in contract negotiations, Walters conveyed his belief that Haas’ contract resolution will come about eventually. With utmost confidence, he said, “I can’t put an exact date on it, but I see him staying with the Broncos long term – not just for a few years, but for much longer – as long as I’m still here.”