The three men who hold Brisbane’s fate in their hands

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How will Brisbane get out of the mess they are in and polish their roster again?

Let’s think about this like a blockbuster.

Every great movie has a leading man or woman, but it’s the supporting cast that can make a good movie great and that’s how the Broncos clean up their mess. The supporting cast.

There is no sugar coating on it. There is a mountain of work to be done in Brisbane.

For the purpose of this article, we will focus solely on timesheet management.

With Ben Ikin returning to save the Broncos, his appointment as Football and Performance Director has been met with great optimism.

Broncos players look dejected after another try (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

He’s the public face of the much-needed turnaround, but make no mistake. He is not a lone wolf. In fact, Simon Scanlan, the new Head of Recruitment and Retention, is the man under arguably the most pressure at the Broncos.

As the franchise bids farewell to list manager Peter Nolan, Scanlan steps up to take the most researched role in the game. For those wondering, Scanlan is not new to the Broncos system.

He’s been around for a number of years and has been instrumental in scouting some of the game’s most exciting young talents.

For example, seven years ago, Scanlan Kotoni Staggs recruited for the Wellington Broncos as a 15-year-old.

He knows what to look for in a young star, but dealing with teenagers is quite different from juggling a top roster, managing egos, while fiddling with the accountant to meet salary caps.

It’s quite a challenge, but he’s served his apprenticeship and he’s got an ace up his sleeve. CEO Dave Donaghy and Ikin guide the process. Obviously the trio operates as a committee.

And if recent recruiting target reports are correct, then Broncos supporters should be filled with quiet confidence.

At first glance, many wonder why the Broncos would pursue the likes of Aaron Woods and Ryan James after they released Matt Lodge.

The deeper you examine it, the more it makes sense. Lodge ate a hole in the salary cap, paying the kind of money set aside for a pioneering player of international caliber.

Aside from his bank balance, the other problem with Lodge was his ability to follow instructions.

Obviously one criticism of some of his teammates is that they would work on an area on the field and Lodge would go rogue.

When your halves work to get to a certain spot on the field to execute a kick and your centers deviate from the plan, it messes everything up.

That’s where Woods’ reliability comes in handy. While Woods is no longer a sales rep running the great currency he once was, he is consistent, experienced, a leader, a mentor and most importantly, where the salary cap is concerned, he is value for money. He has qualities you cannot measure.

While spreadsheets can hold all the analytics in the world, leadership and responsibility within a locker room is something the savvy recruiters know is just as valuable as meters after contact.

Without a driving standard enforcer, holding the youngsters accountable, you expose yourself to problems.
Woods is a role player and the backbone of any successful team.

Let’s compare some basic statistics.

Lodge played 12 games for the Broncos this year.

In those 12 games, Lodge clocked 481.3 yards from contact, averaged 12.1 hits, had a tackle efficiency of 90.9 percent and averaged 129 yards.

At the time of Lodge’s departure, Woods had played two more games than Lodge.

In 14 games for Cronulla, Woods clocked 720.9 yards from contact, averaging fewer hits than Lodge at 11.9, boasting a 94.1% tackle efficiency and 121 running yards average.

The numbers are very similar, but the discrepancy in their pay packages is astronomical. Woods is great value for money and we know the Broncos need to save their money.

The club still has a number of players on its payroll despite not being with the club anymore.

It is well known that Andrew McCullough, Jack Bird and Lodge are paid part of their salaries by the Broncos.

You could draw a marquee with the amount they spend on these players to be with other clubs.

Add to that Anthony Milford eating $1 million off their cap for this season and some smart buys are just what the Broncos need.

They have already secured their number 7 in Adam Reynolds and a reliable edge player in Kurt Capewell.

Brenko Lee will come on board with Xavier Coates next season and showed last year his ability to perform at NRL level, while Cowboys forward Corey Jensen is also a handy pick-up.

While moving Tevita Pangai Jr to Canterbury frees up some cash, a reported $700,000, it’s the following year that they can really start making some cap space moves with the likes of Brodie Croft (about $ 450,000) and Corey Oates ($500,000) out of contract.

In the short term, it’s about finding role players who can contribute without breaking the bank.

Ikin is a very smart man and loves a spreadsheet, but he is also a great judge of character.

Between Ikin, Scanlan and Donaghy, the trio has armed the base of a group with all the tools to turn Red Hill around.

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