Broncos future is with new halves
IT DOESN'T matter much if Anthony Seibold or Wayne Bennett coaches the Broncos next year if their playmaking capabilities don't improve.
The elusive seventh Broncos premiership wouldn't come next year and the wait may test the patience of their most fervent supporters.
Defence is the first thing that has to improve at the Broncos next year, but so does the halves combination with Kodi Nikorima and Anthony Milford.
What the Broncos do have is at least six good, young playmakers in the pipeline.
The Broncos recruiters, knowing they need to haul in the next great Queensland playmaking talent, have thrown a considerable net over youth talent in the halves.
The last three Test halfbacks from Queensland - Daly Cherry Evans, Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston - have all forged careers away from Brisbane, as has Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster.
Roosters recruit Sean O'Sullivan will be at the front of the queue as a live first-grade option to put pressure on Nikorima in 2019.
But 18-year-old playmakers Corey Paix and Tanah Boyd, both highly rated by Darren Lockyer and both representatives in state age teams, could press after one more year, at least, with Intrust Super Cup clubs.
A year below Paix and Boyd, and also in the Broncos system, are Josh James and Tom Dearden.
James and Dearden were Queensland Schoolboys teammates this year.
Dearden, who played for Tweed Seagulls last season, is away with the Australian Schoolboys team now in England.
Former Parramatta junior and NSW under-20 halfback Troy Dargan will enter his second season with the Broncos system, having had a 20-game campaign with Norths Devils this year.
Paix and Boyd played in the Queensland under-18 side this winter.
Each young man will have his own boosters and some will be right.
Evaluating teenage playmaking talent is a little like trying to spot a supernova in the night sky.
O'Sullivan will be in the Broncos first grade squad in the pre-season and will start the season in the pecking order behind Kiwi Test halfback Nikorima.
But he's not been brought to Red Hill as a project player and is well regarded for his kicking game and organisation abilities (or at least as well regarded as any halfback can be after one NRL game).
Milford and Josh McGuire have made clear that the Broncos players who make their return to training this week and later in the year believe Bennett's word that he will coach them in 2019 even though so many pundits say he will move before Christmas to South Sydney.
The weekend's developments that Souths want the Broncos to foot the bill for the contractual costs of the clubs swapping coaches for 2019 beggar one question: why?
One Sydney report said $600,000 would free the coaches up. Another put the figure at $500,000.
Since Souths announced on October 25 that Bennett would coach them from 2020 on a two-year deal, two things have changed.
The people convinced the two clubs can't proceed in 2019 with Bennett in Brisbane and Seibold at Redfern are even more voluble that it can't happen.
And there have been media reports that Souths players are unhappy with Seibold for wanting to leave them.
I would have thought it was South Sydney's responsibility to keep Rabbitohs players motivated and content, not Brisbane's.