Broncos blow: Nine clubs in frame to poach rising star
Don't look now Brisbane Broncos fans, another rising star could be about to skip the border.
Widely considered a future Queensland State of Origin force, 18-year-old Brendan Piakura is just months away from becoming one of the most-prized signatures in the NRL.
The Sunday Telegraph can reveal at least nine NRL clubs are positioning their salary cap in readiness to make the big, raw, left-edge backrower an offer as soon as they're legally able on November 1.
A Tweed Heads local junior, Piakura is training inside the Broncos' first-grade bubble after representing at Australian Schoolboys level. He was also chosen in the Queensland under-18s side last year alongside current NRL players Tesi Niu, Xavier Coates and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow.
Piakura is also close friends with Maroons under-18s teammate Sam Walker, who is on a collision course with the NRL at the Sydney Roosters.
Against the NSW under-18s last year, Piakura ran for almost 100m in the backrow and made 25 tackles in the 34-12 win.
Despite Piakura being on contract at the Broncos until the end of 2021, rival clubs can make a formal approach to the teenager from November 1.
And given the serious conversations already being held by rival clubs about reserving cap space for the outstanding talent, undoubtedly he will be targeted in the hope of prizing him out of Red Hill by the end of this year.
Working against the Broncos is the backlog of quality backrowers in front of Piakura, including David Fifita, Tevita Pangai, Alex Glenn, Ben Te'o, Jamil Hopoate, Corey Oates and Keenan Palasia.
However, the potential departure of Fifita to the Gold Coast Titans on a massive deal could pave the way for Piakura to lay claim for a starting spot in the Broncos backrow.
Piakura also has ties to the Gold Coast. He grew up idolising Broncos legend Corey Parker, but was born in Newcastle and raised on the Gold Coast.
It's his connection to the Gold Coast that will also see the Titans emerge as one of the nine clubs who will try to lure the young star back after unwittingly letting him escape their nest to Brisbane as a 16-year-old.
With a personal highlights package that runs for more than eight minutes, Piakura's future will be determined largely by where he will receive the greatest level of tutelage, according to respected player agent Allan Gainey.
"There's no denying Brendan could have a very successful career in front of him,'' Gainey said.
"But what's important is what he does with that talent and how we can help him receive the best opportunity to enhance his development under the right coaching.''
Originally published as Broncos blow: Nine clubs in frame to poach rising star