Posted August 06, 2018 06:16:49There’s a big question mark over the future of the North Brisbane Broncos after the NRL announced the team was likely to lose one of its key players for the remainder of the season.
In a press conference in Melbourne on Friday, NRL general manager of football operations Todd Greenberg said the Broncos were not in the best position financially but he could not give any other details as the club had not formally agreed to a new contract.
He said the club was still negotiating with the Queensland Government for the next two years, but there were still “some discussions going on” and the club wanted to “continue to have a good relationship with Queensland Government”.
“There’s some discussions going ahead that are ongoing and I can’t give you a timetable or anything else on that at the moment,” Greenberg said.
He declined to comment on whether any other club in the NRL would be affected.
North Queensland’s relationship with the NRL is fraught with controversy.
The North Queensland Government last year voted down a proposal to establish a regional division, with the Broncos then saying the proposal would undermine the state’s NRL aspirations.
In July, North Queensland Cowboys owner Todd Greenberg announced his retirement after a nine-year stint in the industry.
Mr Greenberg said he was “deeply saddened” to see the Broncos leave the NRL, and he was confident the club would stay in the game.
“There is a lot of talk about the next generation of players coming through the Broncos organisation and I think it is very important to have those players,” he said.
“But obviously it is not a given that North Queensland will be able to maintain a stable and long-term relationship with any NRL club.”
However, Greenberg acknowledged that the Broncos had a “very strong and loyal” relationship with their state government.
“The fact is that we are in a very strong and supportive relationship with North Queensland,” he told reporters in Melbourne.
“They are our biggest supporters in the state.”
We have a very positive relationship with our state government and we’re working very hard to make sure we continue to build our relationship with them.
“That’s a very important relationship.”
The Broncos have lost two key players in the past week, with centre Michael Morgan and halfback Benji Marshall both retiring.
The pair signed lucrative deals to stay with the club and were paid their $1 million salary, but they will both be ineligible to play for the NRL until next season.
Marshall’s departure from the club comes after the Broncos’ season was disrupted by the deaths of two of its players, centre Josh Dugan and centre Luke Lewis.
The Broncos said Dugan died at his home in Brisbane on Sunday, while Lewis was killed in a motorbike accident in Brisbane.
Morgan also left the club last year, after a decade in the business.
He played 11 games for the Broncos this season, scoring one try.
Greenberg said there was “no way” the Broncos could afford to lose both of its stars.
“At the end of the day, the best thing for us as a club is to keep Josh Dugas and Luke Lewis,” Greenberg told reporters.
“Luke was a big part of the team, he played in every game for us and he played a major part in our success this year.”
He was a real part of what we achieved in our NRL career and we want him back.
“But the Broncos said they were still negotiating over a new deal.
Greenburg said the team would continue to look at other options for players, but it was too early to tell if they would be able for a new season.
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