Another Broncos playmaker faces being cut
The rise of Brisbane young gun Tom Dearden could herald the fall of another Broncos playmaker.
Blindside can reveal Sean O'Sullivan is fighting to save his career at the Broncos and faces being squeezed out of Red Hill as coach Anthony Seibold begins to find clarity with his playmaking depth chart.
First-choice half Kodi Nikorima's shock move to the Warriors opened the door for Dearden, who made his NRL debut aged 18 years and 50 days against the Rabbitohs.
But Dearden's debut represents a nightmare for O'Sullivan.
The 21-year-old only arrived at the Broncos in December as an off-season recruit from the Sydney Roosters but the chances of O'Sullivan receiving an extension to his one-year deal are slim.
Seibold told Nikorima he couldn't guarantee his future at the Broncos beyond 2020. The Broncos coach took that stance because he has massive wraps on Dearden, believing he has the talent to be Brisbane's long-term No.7.
NRL Immortal Andrew Johns last month called for O'Sullivan to be blooded in the Broncos' halves, but Seibold is backing Dearden, who is three years younger.
O'Sullivan has been in very good form for feeder-club Norths Devils but there are concerns whether he has the speed to make the jump to NRL level.
With Seibold also having Tanah Boyd and Cory Paix in his playmaking stable, O'Sullivan needs to produce the form of his life in the coming months to remain at Red Hill.
HE'S BLUE THROUGH AND THROUGH
HERE's a few words to break the hearts of Queensland Origin fans - Broncos sensation Payne Haas is a diehard Blue.
Haas has the potential to be the best prop in the code and already there are whispers for the 19-year-old, 118kg monster to be picked for NSW this season following his return from injury.
A Blues baptism would be a tad premature, but Haas, born in Sydney's inner-city at Paddington, is certain of one thing: he can't cop the Maroons.
"I've always been a Blue, there's no way I would ever want to play for Queensland," he said with a laugh.
"I actually played for Queensland in schoolboys rugby league because I went to Keebra Park (on the Gold Coast), but that was the only time I ever represented Queensland.
"It was a bit weird putting on that Maroon jumper, it didn't feel right.
"I loved NSW as a kid, I remember going through the tough years watching Queensland win every series so I'd love to help us fight back and make the Blues the best again.
"Origin is definitely on my list of goals one day, but I have a long road ahead of me. I'm just enjoying playing well for the Broncos at the moment."
WHITE WEIGHS UP HIS FUTURE
BRONCOS boss Paul White sacked Wayne Bennett with a heavy heart last December but he now faces another gut-wrenching decision - his future as Brisbane CEO.
White is off-contract at season's end and the 53-year-old is seriously weighing up whether to seek another term in a move that would see the former police detective chalk-up a decade of service in the Broncos hot seat.
White was appointed in October 2010 and while he is still chasing a maiden premiership, he has turned Brisbane into a financial juggernaut. The Broncos last year amassed $51 million in revenue, an NRL record which entrenched Brisbane as the NRL's richest club.
White insists he will not rush into a decision but is pragmatic about his future at the Broncos.
"Everyone has a use-by date and no doubt I will as well," he said.
"At the moment, I am not driven by self-interest. We need to win a few games and my focus is on what's ahead this year. If I start thinking about me, you end up stuffing up today.
"A lot of times, our achievements do not always make the public domain. I'm proud of what I have done to date, but I'm fully aware of my mortality as Broncos CEO."
RAGING BULL SHOWS HIS SOFT SIDE
HE is known as the Raging Bull but there is a soft centre to Gorden Tallis.
The Broncos legend brightened a sick man's day on Wednesday when he surprised avid Brisbane fan Mark Hattersley.
The 54-year-old is suffering from Myasthenia Gravias, an incurable auto-immune disease which causes weak skeletal muscles. Just 2000 Australians have been diagnosed with the conditions.
Given months to live, Hattersley celebrates his 25th wedding anniversary with wife Joanne this Monday. What he didn't expect was a celebrity anniversary card to be delivered by The Courier-Mail columnist and Triple M star Tallis, who visited Mark armed with tickets to next week's NRL Magic Round. A teary Hattersley was genuinely touched.
INTRUST SUPER CUP RATINGS PLUMMET
QUEENSLAND's premier rugby league competition, the Intrust Super Cup, has been rocked by a ratings dilemma that should concern broadcaster Channel 9.
Last Sunday's clash between Souths Logan and Wynnum Manly at Straddie's picturesque Ron Stark Oval attracted just 13,000 viewers in a major kick in the guts for a wonderful competition that deserves better.
It is a major drop on the corresponding round's TV game over the past two years. Last year, Mackay and Tweed attracted 24,100 viewers and in 2017, a healthy audience of 42,000 watched Souths Logan against Ipswich.
The reasons for the slump are multifaceted. The competition is still fighting back from Nine's controversial decision last year to shift coverage to a Saturday timeslot. Poor ratings saw Nine revert to a Sunday schedule this year.
Some games have enjoyed better ratings this year, but last Sunday's clash hit an all-time low after Nine shunted coverage to its Gem channel to accommodate their netball coverage.
HAGAN TO DELIVER LIVERMORE LECTURE
ONE of the highlights of the rugby league calendar is the annual Ross Livermore Lecture. Super coach Wayne Bennett delivered a stirring address last season and this year's speaker will be former Queensland Origin coach Michael Hagan.
The popular 'Hages' is still an assistant to Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga and will speak on the topic of 'Australians in England'.
Hagan is well qualified on the subject after having a lengthy stint with Halifax and seeing hundreds of Aussies ply their trade in the Old Dart during his successful playing and coaching career.
The Livermore Lecture is staged by the QRL history committee, which is now chaired by Suncorp Stadium Hall of Fame sports journalist Steve Ricketts following the retirement of Kevin Brasch.
Hagan will kick-off his address at 10am at Queensland Rugby League Central, Castlemaine Street, Milton on Saturday, May 18. Admission is free and includes morning tea.
The QRL asks that people email email@example.com to inform attendance for catering purposes.
GRIFFIN HAS EYES ON KNIGHTS JOB
ALL sorts of rumours fly around the NRL but one that won't go away is the possibility of former Broncos mentor Anthony Griffin one day coaching Newcastle.
The Knights have had a poor start to the season and it has implications for coach Nathan Brown, who last year signed a unique, performance-based deal. Brown must meet certain KPIs. It is understood a top-eight finish is not among them but a bottom-four placing would put Brown under pressure.
Ironically, Griffin withdrew from the race for the Knights job in 2015, opening the door for Brown to clinch the post. Griffin was sacked by Penrith last year in terrible circumstances but he has not given up hope of coaching in the NRL again.
LODGE'S PARTNER MISSES SYDNEY
THE rumblings continue at Red Hill.
Sydney media reported on Tuesday that Broncos prop Matt Lodge was homesick and could be eyeing a return south of the border.
Blindside understands Lodge contacted his former coach Wayne Bennett in December to discuss his off-field situation. Lodge is happy at the Broncos but his partner Jessica O'Sullivan has been missing Sydney.
The couple have a young son and Lodge's better half has support networks in Sydney with her family.
Lodge has previously said he would one day consider a return to Sydney but at this stage remains contracted to Brisbane until the end of 2020. Lodge has been outstanding since he joined the club and the Broncos cannot afford to lose him.
ULTIMATE SHOW FOR MAROONS FANS
STATE of Origin is just around the corner and Queensland fans can whet the appetite with the best tales from the best combatants.
On Tuesday, June 4 - the day before Origin I - Maroons and NSW legends will gather at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) to entertain fans with stories from the glory days. The Magnificent Seven legends include Darren Lockyer, Allan Langer, Paul Vautin, Shane Webcke, Mark Geyer, Andrew Johns and the man Queenslanders love to hate, Paul Gallen. Don't be surprised to see notorious prankster 'Alfie' Langer sneaking through the crowd shooting fans with a water pistol. Tickets available at qpac.com.au
VILIAME KIKAU: What a blockbusting performance against Souths. Cowboys official must be shaking their heads wondering how on earth the back-row powerhouse escaped their clutches.
KALYN PONGA: Back in the winner's circle with a Knights victory against the Eels. Queensland coach Kevin Walters will be hoping he hits his straps at the perfect time for Origin I.
MAHE FONUA: Can be heart-attack material at times but the rampaging winger thoroughly deserved his hat-trick against the Titans.
SIO TAUKEIAHO: Up there with Jason Taumalolo as the code's most destructive middle men. The Roosters prop charged for 272 metres to destroy the Dragons on Anzac Day.
JAKE FRIEND: What a bittersweet week for Friend. He was so good against the Dragons on Anzac Day he had a Queensland Origin debut sewn-up, only to tear his bicep in the same game.
PAUL GREEN: The Cowboys coach is facing another top-eight failure and was then rocked by claims of player unrest. Green insists he has the support of his Cowboys players.
ASH TAYLOR: Twelve months ago, the Titans halfback was being talked about as a possible bolter for Origin III. Now he is miles away from the Queensland conversations.
DALY CHERRY-EVANS: Sidelined for at least a month with an ankle injury that could cost him the Queensland halfback spot and a dream captaincy debut in Origin I.