Battling Bronco could become a Bunny
WILL he or won't he retire? That is the $1 million question - literally - for South Sydney ace Greg Inglis as the Maroons skipper prepares for a weekend on Queensland soil that will determine his NRL future.
The troubled NRL champion will miss Saturday's clash against the Warriors due to a shoulder injury but Inglis will still reunite with the Rabbitohs team and travel to the Sunshine Coast as a spectator.
Souths coach Wayne Bennett has given Inglis a week off to clear his head after a frustrating period battling injury and fitness issues. Inglis is taking time out with family but will attend Sunshine Coast Stadium to support his Rabbitohs teammates.
D-Day for Inglis is Monday. That's when Bennett will sit down with State of Origin's greatest tryscorer and ask Inglis if he will play on.
Inglis announced in pre-season he would retire at the end of 2020 but injury could convince him to expedite that time frame.
The Rabbitohs will eventually have to plan for life after Inglis and one centre option could be James Roberts.
The Broncos speedster could be squeezed out of Red Hill if he can't fix his attitude and injured body. La Perouse junior Roberts started his career at Redfern and has played his best football under Bennett.
Broncos turn over $50 million
THESE are the figures that prove the Broncos are the financial powerhouse of the NRL.
Brisbane have become the first team in NRL history to turnover $50 million, leaving Sydney-based rivals in the shade and turning up the heat on the ARL Commission to give Queensland another NRL licence.
Brisbane's latest annual report shows the Broncos are now a $51.7 million empire, enjoying an 11 per cent increase last year on their gross revenue of $46.4 million from the 2017 season.
Not even the messy saga which led to the termination of super coach Wayne Bennett had an impact on sponsorship.
In fact, Brisbane's sponsorship coffers rose from $13.3 million to $14.5 million, underlining why the Broncos brand is one of the strongest in Australian sport.
There have been incessant calls for the NRL to add a second team to south-east Queensland and the Broncos' financial health is evidence the Brisbane metropolitan region could sustain a rival outfit.
But Brisbane's drama-charged 2018 season came at a major cost for some with Broncos CEO Paul White suffering a salary blow.
White earned $756,269 last year, still making White one of the NRL's highest-paid executives. But it was a $158,776 decrease on his 2017 salary of $915,045, which was bolstered by a $200,000 bonus for meeting several KPIs, including the Broncos making the top four that season.
There were several factors behind White's salary slide. Brisbane's after-tax profit slumped from $2.74m to $2.06m - a 24 per cent decrease - due to a payout for Bennett and shortfalls with home gates. Another major factor was funding for Brisbane's inaugural women's team, which cost the club around $500,000.
White's base salary increased from $600,000 to $650,000, but the decline in profitability and poor on-field performance scuppered any hope of a bonus.
Munster was snubbed by Brisbane
STORM sensation Cameron Munster has finally set the record straight on claims he was rejected by the Broncos.
Brisbane developments scouts have consistently denied brushing Munster as a teenager but the Queensland Origin star has confirmed his Broncos snubbing.
"I went to a couple of their (development) programs in Brisbane," Munster told Fox Sports' League Life program on Wednesday night. "My manager spoke to them and they weren't interested.
"They didn't think I was good enough at that time. I was a mad Broncos fan and I used to look up to Darren Lockyer (former Brisbane skipper), it was a tough time ... I just kept playing Queensland Cup with their feeder side (Central Queensland Capras).
"I played against Easts Tigers in one televised game and the Storm scouts were there. They asked if I was contracted to the Broncos and I said no. I got offered a deal by the Bulldogs as well but the Storm had 'Bellyache' (coach Craig Bellamy) and the Big Three (Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater and Cameron Smith), so I felt I could get the best out of myself there."
Not Shorten big promises
IT must be election time. Opposition leader Bill Shorten is on the front foot, with the Labor powerbroker vowing to deliver a $1 million bonanza for the Broncos' women's team if he becomes Prime Minister next month.
At a time when the NRLW has been rocked by a funding crisis after just one season, Shorten is prepared to provide a seven-figure injection to refurbish the Brisbane Broncos' women's training facility at Red Hill.
The Broncos won last year's inaugural women's league but it came at a cost, wiping $500,000 from Brisbane's profits.
But the Broncos are committed to the women's game and intend to defend their title if the NRLW goes ahead for a second season.
Shorten's pledge would transform the training base first built by the Broncos in 1988. It would also be a venue for leadership activities for the Broncos' Indigenous Girls Academy.
Prime Minster Scott Morrison last month rubber-stamped $8 million in funding for the Girls Academy, which supports more than 1000 indigenous female school students.
Carrigan impressing off the field
BRONCOS rookie Pat Carrigan is an impressive individual.
Carrigan made his top-grade debut against Wests Tigers but the 21-year-old's off-field maturity should be a lesson to aspiring NRL stars.
Two years ago, the Titans tried to poach Carrigan. The Junior Kangaroos forward stayed loyal to the Broncos but insisted on personally calling then Titans coach Neil Henry to explain why he knocked them back.
In an age where pampered NRL stars hide behind managers and clubs, Carrigan's stance was admirable. It is why he is considered a future leader at the Broncos.
Fillet-o-fishing for numbers
WHICH NRL star used a recent day out working for McDonald's for their McHappy Day charity drive to give his phone number out to star-struck female customers? We hear his phone has been ringing off the hook.
The numbers are against Holmes
CURRENT NFL stars have given Queensland Origin star Valentine Holmes a candid appraisal of the cut-throat existence of life on an NFL practice squad.
Holmes was over the moon on Monday after being placed on the practice squad of the New York Jets. But NFL top-liners who have graduated from practice squads to clinch a fully-fledged spot on a 53-man roster say Holmes will not have it easy.
"When you're on the practice squad, you're literally one step in the league and one step out of it," New Orleans Saints wide-receiver Michael Thomas told one American media outlet. Jacksonville Jaguars wide-receiver Jaydon Mickens recalled sleeping in his car during his time in the practice squad. "I had to grind it out," he said.
Holmes will earn around $180,000 at the Jets but statistics underline how tough it will be for him to make the cut.
There are an estimated 1,086,627 high-school kids playing American Football. Of those, 6.5 per cent, around 70,000, make it to NCAA college football. Of those, 1.6 per cent, about 1130 players, make it to the NFL.
If Holmes can eventually run out for the New York Jets in an NFL game, it would defy the greatest of odds.
Boyd to play 300 against Rabbitohs
BRONCOS skipper Darius Boyd is set for one of the most hyped-up 300th game celebrations in NRL history. The football gods can be a devilish bunch, so it's only appropriate that, barring injury, Boyd's triple century will arrive in Round 8 ... against ... yep, Wayne Bennett's Bunnies at ANZ Stadium.
It's a remarkable sense of timing given that Boyd had played 13 seasons under his virtual father figure Bennett. Throw in the messy sacking of Bennett at the Broncos last year in favour of Anthony Seibold and Boyd's 300 will command plenty of attention.
Pangai forced to choose
TICKETS for the New Zealand-Tonga Test match on June 22 went on sale yesterday but the Tongans could be without star forward Tevita Pangai Jr.
The Broncos hulk has previously told NSW coach Brad Fittler he wants to be considered for NSW. The second Origin game is on June 23, just 24 hours after the Kiwi-Tonga showdown. So Tevita has a big decision to make it - does he chase a Blues jumper or stick solid with Tonga?
Currently suspended for two games, Pangai Jr will have to lift his form to make his Origin debut, but if Fittler decides to pick him, the final decision could come down to money.
NSW and Queensland players received $30,000 for an Origin game. The Tongan team can't afford Pangai Jr such a financial incentive.
LUKE KEARY: Another masterclass from Keary against the Broncos last week. Now seems to have so much time in the heat of battle. The Roosters playmaker is a serious contender for a NSW Origin jumper.
DALY CHERRY-EVANS: Virtually sealed his Queensland No.7 jumper with his golden-point heroics against the Bunnies. Under pressure, there is no better field-goal exponent.
NATHAN CLEARY: Overcame one of the most emotional weeks of his life to save the Panthers against the Wests Tigers in the father-son grudge-match. The youngster is one tough cookie.
JORDAN RAPANA: There are few better sights in rugby league than an in-form Rapana. The former Titans young gun was superb for the Raiders in their defeat of the Cowboys.
TEVITA PANGAI JR: The off-contract Bronco has been linked with the Roosters but his price tag plummeted with the Bondi club after he ironed out playmaker Cooper Cronk in the 36-4 rout.
SHANNON BOYD: The Titans prop is on around $600,000 this season but is not giving value for money. He ran for a woeful 40 metres in last week's loss to the Warriors.
MATT SCOTT: The Cowboys warhorse had a night to forget against the Raiders last week. With State of Origin around the corner, "Thumper" needs to lift for one final crack at a Queensland jumper.
JOSH DUGAN: Copped a head knock against the Eels and has missed 42 per cent of games since joining Cronulla. Nowhere near the form that saw him play centre for Australia in the 2017 World Cup final.