Bronco for life: Walters’ plan for young star

Broncos coach Kevin Walters has brought respected old boy Dale Copley back to the club and will now move to try and lock down emerging champion Kotoni Staggs long term.

Copley, who is completing a law degree, recently parted ways with the Titans on the best of terms and will now likely see out the rest of his NRL career at his former club.

He is due to start pre-season training on Monday.

The 29-year-old returns to the Broncos after he was squeezed out of the club back in 2015 to accommodate former centre James Roberts.

The backline signing moves are at the extreme ends of the contract pay scale with Copley linking up with the Broncos at a bargain basement, while Staggs could become one of the highest paid players at Red Hill.

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It comes as Walters appears to be taking a leaf out of super coach Craig Bellamy's playbook by bringing premiership-winning quality to the club at a bargain price, following his interest in Albert Kelly and David Mead.

Staggs is off contract at the end of the 2021 season but has an option in his favour to remain at Red Hill for 2022.

The 22-year-old has attracted plenty of attention from his home state of New South Wales but Walters has hit back, revealing Staggs is part of his plans long term.

"He'll be a priority for us moving forward," Walters said.

"He's been through our system and he's been here a couple of years now so we want to keep him long term.

"We love what he brings and he's got the right attitude to me of what a real Bronco looks like.

"He's got a real desire to win and get better.

"That's what I like about him.

"He's always competing and he's always wanting to win."

 

Staggs is currently recovering from a serious knee injury he sustained in the Broncos' final game against the Cowboys this year.

He will miss the opening rounds of the 2021 season, but Walters said his recovery was on track for a mid-year return.

"Everything is going as per plan with him and his knee which is good," he said.

"He's doing all of his upper body weight but his lower body stuff hasn't started yet."

Staggs was a standout in an otherwise forgettable season with the Broncos, finishing as the club's top try and point scorer.

Walters praised the youngster's work ethic and attitude at Red Hill and believed he was a key part of the Broncos future.

"It's really good to have him around the place," he said.

"He's a really popular fella around the group and very well respected.

"He's found a home here in Brisbane even though some of his family are still back in Wellington.

"That's what we want the Broncos to be is a second family to them and Kotoni is certainly part of that extended family and we want him to remain here.

"He's got great leadership skills.

"He's still only young, but we'd like to think he'd be a one-club player without getting too far down the track."

Originally published as Bronco for life: Walters' plan for young star



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