Broncos player Kotoni Staggs has been the victim of a Facebook identity theft.
Broncos player Kotoni Staggs has been the victim of a Facebook identity theft.

Broncos star caught up in catfish drama

One of the NRL's most promising talents has become unwittingly embroiled in a Facebook drama.

Sport Confidential can reveal Broncos centre Kotoni Staggs is the unfortunate victim of a social-media identity saga after being rocked by news a fake account has been set up in his name.

An unknown person has set up an account in Staggs' name complete with a main profile photo of the Broncos young gun in action.

The person in question has been private messaging random individuals in the NRL industry. The messages include: 'Hey buddy, I'm free to chat now' and 'Hey there, let's catch up after the game tonight?'

The Broncos were made aware of the bizarre messages and raised them with Staggs. The NSW Origin hopeful was stunned by the content and advised Broncos hierarchy he was the victim of a fake social-media account.

Staggs' Facebook experience is a cautionary tale for all NRL players, many of whom are now prolific users of social-media platforms to boost their profile and brands.

Kotoni Staggs has been the victim of identity theft on Facebook. Picture: AAP.
Kotoni Staggs has been the victim of identity theft on Facebook. Picture: AAP.

LOCKYER ACCEPTS BRONCOS CRITICISM

Brisbane board member Darren Lockyer has responded to savage criticism of the Broncos from his former club, Test and Origin teammate Gorden Tallis.

In the wake of Brisbane's 59-0 loss to the Roosters, Tallis took aim at several Broncos figureheads including Lockyer, a long-serving board member and panellist on the club's recruitment-and-retention committee.

Lockyer is also helping the Broncos in another role, providing mentoring to the club's seven-man leadership group, which includes Matt Lodge, Payne Haas and Pat Carrigan.

Tallis has questioned the decision-making of Brisbane's most powerful figures and Lockyer says the Broncos legend has every right to have a crack at him.

"When you get beaten like that you are fair game and will be criticised," Lockyer told Channel 9's Queenslander show.

"Gordie has always been outspoken and he is entitled to his opinion.

"He is a former captain of the Broncos. I have taken on a role with leadership and it's my role to help them become good leaders. I'm enjoying the challenges in front of me, but we do have a long way to go."

Lockyer hit back at suggestions the Broncos have turned their back on the club's old boys.

"In regards to the ex-players, there is an open invitation," he said.

"Like most clubs, some groups of players have moved on life and they might not want to accept an invitation for whatever reason.

"But the old boys are always welcome at the Broncos."

Broncos legend Darren Lockyer has accepted criticism from former teammate Gorden Tallis. Picture: Lachie Millard
Broncos legend Darren Lockyer has accepted criticism from former teammate Gorden Tallis. Picture: Lachie Millard

BABY BRONCOS CLEAN UP MESS

The Broncos' big guns didn't only go missing on the field against the Roosters - they were nowhere to be seen this week when it came to explaining the record loss.

The Broncos came under fire after dodging post-game media commitments following the disastrous 59-0 loss to the Roosters last Thursday.

The club narrowly avoided being fined by the NRL and was instead issued a warning.

But when it came to fronting up this week for members and fans, it was the club's inexperienced players that had to do the talking.

Broncos players Matt Lodge (61 NRL games), Payne Haas (28 games), Pat Carrigan (23 games) and Brodie Croft (43 games) were left to face questioning over the debacle.

The likes of Darius Boyd (321 games), Anthony Milford (171) and Corey Oates (146) didn't have to face the music.

Milford, the highest paid player in Broncos history on $1 million-a-season, hasn't done a media conference in more than nine months.

Co-captain Carrigan said the post-game media dodge was an oversight and wouldn't happen again.

"I literally had a shower and left and I didn't even think about the media," he said.

"I know a lot's been said about us ducking and diving, but that's not how I was raised or how Crofty was raised. If I've ever done anything wrong I'll put my hand up and admit to it.

"There was a breakdown in communication somewhere along the line. It was an oversight from the group and won't happen again."

Patrick Carrigan has apologised for the Broncos players not attending the press conference after their loss to the Roosters. Picture: AAP.
Patrick Carrigan has apologised for the Broncos players not attending the press conference after their loss to the Roosters. Picture: AAP.

BRONCOS NEW POWER FIGURE

The Brisbane Broncos have a new power figure at Red Hill following the swift rise of welfare manager Adam Walsh.

Walsh now sits among the top five most powerful people at the club after charging up the leadership ranks under coach Anthony Seibold.

A former SAS soldier, it was Walsh who the Broncos entrusted with orchestrating David Fifita's release from a Bali jail last year.

Walsh is now heavily involved in the football department's operations and on game day.

His duties increased following the exit of long-term football manager Scot Czislowski after more than decade at the club.

Walsh had an important role as the club's player liaison officer under ex-coach Wayne Bennett, but he is now one of Seibold's chief right-hand men along with head of football Peter Nolan.

Seibold, Nolan and Walsh are the three most powerful figures in the footy department while chairman Karl Morris and CEO Paul White head up the Broncos administration.

 

ISC READY TO EXPAND AFTER COVID CRISIS

The Intrust Super Cup has been scrapped for the rest of the season but the competition could be ready for expansion as early as 2022.

Sports Confidential can reveal the Queensland Rugby League is keen to revive Toowoomba, who were the inaugural winners of the Queensland Cup competition in 1996.

The QRL are in talks with Toowoomba officials and are keen to have the region back in the Intrust Super Cup, but they will not expand the league until they are satisfied any new bid is viable.

"We have been working with Toowoomba for the last three of four years," QRL competitions chief David Maiden said.

"We would love to see Toowoomba back in the Intrust Super Cup, it's our last great hole in Queensland, certainly that southwest region is part of the footprint we want to grow.

"They are mindful of the fact they have had past incarnations and it hasn't worked, so they can't afford to fail again.

"They know they have some work to do. They want to come in sooner rather than later to stop the player drain because very good players are leaving the region to play at other clubs. Toowoomba Clydesdales were the inaugural winners of the Queensland Cup in 1996 so they have a great history with our competition.

"We are supportive of them coming into the competition but we won't ask them to jump before they are ready."

QRL competitions manager David Maiden says the ISC could expand as soon as 2022.
QRL competitions manager David Maiden says the ISC could expand as soon as 2022.

TITAN TO POWER THROUGH PAIN

Titans lock Jai Arrow has explained his bizarre celebration after the Gold Coast clinched a thrilling last-minute win against Wests Tigers last Sunday.

Arrow leapt on to a pack of Titans players after Phillip Sami scored the match-winner at Suncorp Stadium, only to reel away moments later in agony and collapse over the dead-ball line.

"I got twisted in a tackle awkwardly and felt my ribs crunch," Arrow said.

"I was on my haunches after I played the ball then realised we were going to score. I was so excited I couldn't miss out on the celebrations. The way we won was unbelievable.

"I sprinted over, jumped up and felt it crunch again. The pain came back pretty quickly.

"I got a scan and it all looks pretty well. They think it's a bit of damage to the cartilage. It's not major. It pulled up okay."

Arrow said there was no way he would miss playing against his future club South Sydney tomorrow.

Jai Arrow celebrates in pain after the Titans last minute win over the Wests Tigers. Picture: AAP.
Jai Arrow celebrates in pain after the Titans last minute win over the Wests Tigers. Picture: AAP.

COWBOYS HULK A MAN IN DEMAND

North Queensland are facing a fight to retain Frank Molo with three NRL clubs and English Super League powerhouse St Helens lining up to poach the Cowboys prop.

Molo heads into tonight's clash against the Warriors at Central Coast Stadium with some big decisions to make after attracting more interest now than he has at any other stage of his turbulent NRL career.

The 25-year-old struggled to make a mark at his former club the Broncos but Molo is relishing his new chapter at the Cowboys and has started the 2020 season with some impressive displays.

His good form saw the Cowboys table an extension for Molo last week, but the club has competition with Cronulla, the Dragons and St Helens all eyeing off the former Queensland under-20s prop.

Molo is enjoying his football in North Queensland and the Cowboys may have to up the ante with their offer to stave off a poaching raid from NRL rivals.

Francis Molo could leave the Cowboys with clubs lining up for his signature. Picture: Getty Images.
Francis Molo could leave the Cowboys with clubs lining up for his signature. Picture: Getty Images.

TITANS HALF EARNS PAYDAY

Titans halfback Jamal Fogarty has celebrated his return to the NRL with a pay rise.

Fogarty has been promoted to the Gold Coast's top 30 squad and received a $50,000 bonus after being given the Titans' No.7 jersey following the COVID break.

The promotion of Fogarty allowed the Titans to sign Young Tonumaipea to their development list after the former Storm back returned from a Mormon mission in Germany.

A youth worker and father, Fogarty is one of the NRL's good guys and has been rewarded for his persistence after signing with the Titans for the third time in his career.

 

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IS DON IS GOOD

Titans cult hero Anthony Don says he is a rejuvenated player this year as he eyes a contract extension.

Don was back to his best in the Gold Coast's drought-breaking win against the Tigers last weekend, soaring through the air to score a sensational try.

At 32, the Grafton product is in the twilight of his career but he wants to play on in 2021 and extend his record as the Titans' all-time leading tryscorer (77 tries in 130 games).

Don was dropped last year by ex-coach Garth Brennan, going on to win the Intrust Super Cup premiership with Burleigh, but said the arrival of Justin Holbrook had given him a new lease on life.

"I've got to prove that I am worthy of staying, that's my main focus," Don said ahead of tomorrow's clash with the Rabbitohs at Bankwest Stadium.

"I am not really putting a timeline on it. My body is feeling good at the moment. I feel fresh and young in the mind.

"I would love to keep playing and stay at the Gold Coast but with the industry we are in you don't really know what is around the corner.

"I feel completely rejuvenated under the new coaching system.

"Last year everyone was a bit sick of footy and it was a chore to come to training whereas this year it has been a breath of fresh air."

Anthony Don is keen to extend his stay at the Gold Coast Titans. Picture: Getty Images.
Anthony Don is keen to extend his stay at the Gold Coast Titans. Picture: Getty Images.

SMILE FOR THE CAMERA

Souths legend Sam Burgess will undergo cosmetic surgery at the end of this year. It's OK, Slammin' Sam is not having a facelift, but he is currently looking into some dental work to get his teeth straightened. Burgess has been copping stick for his misaligned teeth and plans to wear braces to get a million-dollar smile for his burgeoning TV career at Fox Sports.

 

EGG ON YOUR FACE

Which NRL coach didn't rate Cameron Munster as a teenager and believed he would never make the NRL? After playing Origin and Test football and winning a premiership at the Storm, it's fair to say Munster has had the last laugh.

Originally published as Broncos star caught up in catfish drama



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