Queensland young gun Brendan Piakura chased by seven rival NRL clubs
Queensland young gun Brendan Piakura chased by seven rival NRL clubs

The teen NRL coaches are falling over themselves to meet

A teenager from Queensland has become the most-wanted signature in the NRL with Canterbury leading the race to secure the huge talent.

The Bulldogs are one of eight clubs - half of the NRL competition - vying to sign 18-year-old Brendan Piakura, widely regarded as a future Queensland State of Origin force.

Big, raw and a left-edge backrower, Pikura is on-contract at the Broncos until the end of 2021, but under NRL rules, he is free to plan for his future with a rival club.

 

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Brendan Piakura in action for the U18 Maroons in 2019. Picture; Robb Cox/NRL Photos
Brendan Piakura in action for the U18 Maroons in 2019. Picture; Robb Cox/NRL Photos

 

 

 

And the interest in the Australian Schoolboys talent is extraordinary.

The Roosters, Eels, Storm, Titans, Raiders, Knights, Bulldogs and Broncos have either submitted a contract offer, or informed of their legitimate interest in signing Piakura.

The other eight clubs in the competition would also be interested if their salary cap or current roster structure would allow them to make a play.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson has spoken to Piakura via Zoom call, while Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett recently took time out from his family holiday on the NSW north coast to meet the teenager in-person.

Melbourne are attempting to have Storm coach Craig Bellamy meet with Pikaura this week.

A Tweed Heads local junior, Piakura spent 2020 training inside the Broncos' first-grade bubble after representing at Australian Schoolboys level.

 

Palm Beach Currumbin rugby league player Brendan Piakura. Picture: Jerad Williams
Palm Beach Currumbin rugby league player Brendan Piakura. Picture: Jerad Williams

 

 

He was also chosen in the Queensland under-18's side last year alongside current NRL players Tesi Niu, Xavier Coates and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow.

Against the NSW under-18's last year, Piakura ran for almost 100m in the back row and made 25 tackles in the 34-12 win.
Piakura is also close friends with Maroons under-18's teammate Sam Walker, who is on a collision course with the NRL at the Sydney Roosters and Bulldogs 2020 clubman of the year and Australian Schoolboys teammate, Jackson Topine

Piakura was believed to be impressed with Barrett's clear intent to build a young and talented side for future success.
The Broncos also see Piakura as their future.

However, working against Brisbane is the long-list of quality backrowers and lock-forwards in front of Piakura, including Tevita Pangai, Jordan Riki, Patrick Carrigan, Alex Glenn, Ben Te'o, Corey Oates and Keenan Palasia.

 

 

Brendan Piakura (2R) with (L-R) Toby Sexton, Reece Walsh and Josh Bevan following the Australian School Boys victory over New Zealand. Picture: SMPImages.com/Newscorp
Brendan Piakura (2R) with (L-R) Toby Sexton, Reece Walsh and Josh Bevan following the Australian School Boys victory over New Zealand. Picture: SMPImages.com/Newscorp

 

 

The Eels believe Piakura could pressure their current starting backrow for an immediate elevation to the NRL, while the Raiders and Knights have also pitched strongly.

Piakura also has ties to the Gold Coast.

He grew up idolising Broncos legend Corey Parker, but was born in Newcastle and raised on the Gold Coast.
The Titans are considered outsiders to win the race for Piakura given they unwittingly let him escape their nest to Brisbane as a 16-year-old.
In a Sunday Telegraph interview about Piakura last July, respected player agent Allan Gainey said Piakura's future will be determined largely by where he will receive the greatest level of tutelage.

"There's no denying Brendan could have a very successful career in front of him,'' Gainey said.
"But what's important is what he does with that talent and how we can help him receive the best opportunity to enhance his development under the right coaching.''

Originally published as The teen NRL coaches are falling over themselves to meet



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