Corey Oates, the Broncos‘ winger, has recently indicated his willingness to accept a pay reduction to maintain his one-club man status through to the end of his NRL career. “When you want to keep a great team together, those are things that you’ve got to do,” he said.
Despite enduring a challenging year plagued with injuries, Oates’ desire is to continue representing Brisbane. The talented winger, currently ranked as Brisbane’s fifth-highest try scorer of all time, is soon to finish his contract. Initially, a two-year extension in his favour was available at Red Hill.
A downgraded offer has been presented to him recently, according to reports. Knee issues and a severely fractured jaw have restricted his active games to nine this season. Despite his hunger for the game, he missed out on scoring in Thursday night’s game against Melbourne, where a forward pass was ruled out.
Oates confirmed that his decision regarding his contract or club is independent of the injury-related challenges he faced in 2023. “When you’re an older player, and you’ve been here long enough, you know what needs to happen,” he emphasised. For the long-serving player, Brisbane has always been home.
According to Oates, the hurdles encountered in his career have honed his skills, not hampered them. “They’re not going to limit me or stop me from doing anything. I always do the hard stuff because I have to, but that’s what you have to do in this game if you want to keep playing and keep playing at a high level.”
After the recent loss against the Storm, Coach Kevin Walters’ team is getting ready for another shot at the Grand Final since their loss against the North Queensland Cowboys in 2015. Oates is the lone survivor from the team that played that night, a memory he says still sparks the thought of “what if”.
This veteran player thinks that the hardships endured by the club in recent years have galvanised them into an intimidating lot. The club’s trials, including three years of finals and their first wooden spoon, have transformed into the key drivers for this year’s leading attacking outfit.
In reflection, Oates mused, “All the years I’ve played footy, you never learn so much about football than those two years.” The difficult times have tightened the bond within the team and fostered a novel work ethic, which he believes is preparing them for even greater feats. “I feel like we’ve got another two more gears, to be honest,” he stated.