The Broncos are set for a resurgence, welcoming a promising addition to their crew. 18-year-old Israel Leota is one of the gifted youngsters tipped for the spotlight at Red Hill as the club puts a firm emphasis on nurturing talent as a long-game strategy for achieving NRL laurels.
Leota will join fellow Queenslander U-19 Origin heavyweights Blake Mozer and Ben Te Kura, eyeing a coveted NRL start with the Broncos in the imminent future. Added to that mix is rising star halfback Coby Black, touted as the year’s premier schoolboy playmaker in the region, signaling a bright future for the Broncos.
Currently, the Broncos have only one NRL recruit for the forthcoming season – Fletcher Baker from the Roosters. While additional signings could be soon welcomed with three vacant spots in their top 30 for 2024, the emphasis is on rearing and molding talent to usher in a new epoch of Broncos triumph under the stewardship of Kevin Walters.
Brisbane holds high hopes for Leota, a graduate of Ipswich Grammar and an accomplished state-level volleyball player. This young talent was wooed back to rugby league from rugby union and Aussie rules by the Broncos.
The past 13 years have not seen another player resembling Israel Folau‘s domination in a Broncos and Maroons jersey, until now. The next ‘Izzy’ of Brisbane, Leota, is set to kick-start his NRL career.
Guiding Leota at Souths-Logan is cross-code superstar Karmichael Hunt, who lauds him as an excellent athlete. According to Hunt, this exceptional athlete is evolving into his frame – a testament to his athletic background in league, rugby and volleyball.
Leota’s exceptional pace sees him hold the record for the quickest 40m time across all age groups at the Broncos, from juniors to first grade. This year marked his Hostplus Cup debut, and Hunt is enthusiastic about nurturing his development further, through increased game-time.
BEN TE KURA
Ben Te Kura, fondly referred to as ‘Two Metre Te Kura’ is another future star of the Broncos. Standing 205cm tall, Ben has been one of the most consistent-performing props in the Queensland U-19s Origin team, for the past two years.
Hunt expressed how Te Kura’s skills continue to evolve every week, and his fantastic performance against PNG this year particularly highlights his character and grit. Hunt believes that once Te Kura better comprehends his physical potential, he will be invaluable to the Broncos.
Blake Mozer, a much-acclaimed hooker, was considered for an NRL debut in 2023 but now appears set to make a significant leap in 2024. Despite fierce competition from Billy Walters, Cory Paix and Tyson Smoothy, Mozer’s star quality does not diminish.
Hunt revealed Mozer’s substantial growth over the course of the season, saying that Mozer has shown an exceptional willingness to risk in the defense and play an authoritative role in central attacks.
At 17, Coby Black has been touted as the possible replacement for Adam Reynolds in the Broncos’ No. 7 Jersey once he graduates from Marsden State High. However, the Broncos intend to be patient with his development, given the rigorous demands of NRL playmaking.