THE Brisbane Broncos have made one of the most significant signings in their history, securing league’s treasure chest of talent after partnering with the Souths Logan Magpies.
The Magpies have ditched the Canberra Raiders for the Broncos after the Raiders refused to send any players to the club next season.
The Broncos now have unprecedented access to the richest league nursery in Australia, a region rival NRL clubs had mined for the past 15 years for players like Cameron Smith and Josh Papalii.
The deal means the Broncos will have six affiliate Intrust Super Cup clubs next season.
Souths juniors such as Daniel Vidot and Anthony Milford will play for the Magpies if they don’t make first grade.
It is believed prop recruit Mitch Garbutt will also be aligned to the Magpies.
The Raiders recently told Magpies chairman Jim McClelland they would be sending all players to their other feeder club the Mounties in 2015 but would return to Queensland in 2016.
McClelland feared the Magpies wouldn’t be competitive and the Raiders wouldn’t return to them anyway and so he reached out to Broncos chief executive Paul White.
White said the deal was a major benefit to the Broncos and Souths Logan and complement the Elite Player Development Academy they are building in Logan.
“It is a great opportunity for us to solidify and expand on what we have been doing in Logan,” said White, who visited Logan with McCleland and spoke to Logan City councillor Phil Pidgeon yesterday.
“Souths came to us. We were surprised by their approach but felt it was a great opportunity to provide local talent in that region a way to stay there and learn the game.
“The Logan area has a rich league history and is an important region for the code and we want to be part of it.
“We feel this will help Souths out and we are committed to helping them.
“Michael Hancock has been there (as a development officer) for 10 years now.”
McClelland admitted there was previously tension between the two clubs over Anthony Milford defecting from the Raiders to the Broncos.
“There was major tension but credit to the Broncos they didn’t hold on to those issues from the past,” McClelland said.
“It is an emotional game rugby league. I told Paul White and Wayne Bennett we would give them 100 per cent support as we had to the Raiders.
“It was difficult to leave the Raiders. They have been good to us.
“We hung in there with the Raiders but now is the appropriate time to move to the Broncos.
“Misplacing kids from the corridor of Brisbane to Canberra or Sydney … it is a massive thing for the kids to move.
“Now the kids can be with their mum and dad in their late teen years when they need them.
“The important thing for us is being able to develop kids and give them an NRL opportunity and most of them want to play for the Broncos.”
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