Will Brisbane keep Corey Oates?
BRONCOS match winner Corey Oates admits his future at the club remains in limbo, saying: "If they don't want me, there's no point hanging around."
Oates remains off-contract at season's end and he underlined why he is one of the most gifted players on the open market after his freakish tryscoring heroics to sink Cronulla on Saturday night.
With the match hanging in the balance at 16-all, Oates produced yet another remarkable finish, somehow reaching out to score the decisive try despite almost his entire body being airborne over the sideline.
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While Oates never doubted he could find the tryline, there is lingering uncertainty over his future at the Broncos as Brisbane fight to retain a host of NRL top-liners.
The Broncos are keen to retain Oates, but talks have been complicated by the towering winger attempting to sever contractual ties with his current management company.
That agreement ends in August, meaning Oates must play for another two months as a free agent, during which time Brisbane will attempt to secure Jaydn Su'A, Matt Lodge, Jamayne Isaako and Tevita Pangai Jr.
The 23-year-old is hoping to stay at the Broncos but says if he can't strike a new deal at Red Hill, he is prepared to continue his career at another NRL club.
"I really don't know if I'll be here next year," Oates said.
"It's tough. At the end of the day, my preference is to stay at the Broncos, but I really won't know until August when I can start talking to clubs and negotiating deals.
"It's been going on long enough now, I will let my footy do its talking.
"I can't really talk to clubs until my contract ends with my management. At the end of the day, I realise that and I'm trying to forget about it and move on.
"I'm just waiting for that deadline to pass and then I will start talking to clubs and negotiating my own deal.
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"I would prefer to stay, but I'm always open to leaving because that's part of the game now."
Another factor is Oates' desire to make a permanent move to the back row. But that is unlikely to happen at Red Hill due to Brisbane's incredible back-row depth and coach Wayne Bennett's belief that Oates is best suited on the wing.
"I still want to play back row," he said. "I did a good job there in the off-season and I think I can handle that position doing those tough yards.
"Playing there (back row) is still on the cards for me."
Broncos skipper Darius Boyd lauded Oates' finishing prowess and importance to the side.
"It's a try only 'Oatesy' would have scored," he said. "He was pretty happy when he jumped up. I had my fingers crossed he had got there."