That’s the perspective of seasoned rugby league official, Shane Richardson. He maintains that one of the lowest earners on the Broncos‘ roster, Billy Walters, may be the key to successfully dealing with the team’s salary cap issues.
Having to potentially make Payne Haas their upcoming million-dollar men, with Adam Reynolds pushing for an extended contract, and as six other clubs vie for Ezra Mam, whose salary of $240,000 is due to skyrocket, the Broncos will likely feel the pinch as the demand for their players escalates due to their successes.
As someone who has managed the finances of a premiership-winning South Sydney squad and worked as a game administrator for the NRL, Richardson feels it’s an unavoidable fact that the Broncos will have to make further cuts following the departures of Herbie Farnworth and Tom Flegler to the Dolphins next season.
“The reality is that you’ll need to release some players, which necessitates planning for three years ahead,” Richardson stated.
He continued, “It means identifying crucial players and those that are not essential for the long run. On some occasions, it means replacing highly paid departures with less costly individuals who can still get the job done.”
Richardson asserts it’s a tremendous advantage for the team to have someone like Walters in a vital position, especially when the majority of salary funds are typically spent on front row and positions 7, 9, 6 and 1.
As the offspring of the team’s coach, Kevin Walters, and after taking his time to secure his position in the first grade team, Billy Walters faces constant evaluation. However, his performance and self-assurance have noticeably grown this season.
In Richardson’s opinion, a team that is performing as well as the Broncos has the flexibility to employ lesser-known players to fill key vacancies. “Such players may not thrive at the Wests Tigers, but would fit well in this Broncos team, based on their current performance.”
For most of its history, the Broncos have enjoyed the advantages of being a strong team accompanied by the more affordable housing options available in Brisbane compared to Sydney. Once again, these factors might prove consequential as they strive to retain their rising stars.