The Brisbane Broncos have lost yet another rising star.
Young halfback Tom Dearden has signed with the North Queensland Cowboys on a three-year deal and will join the rival club next season.
According to a NewsCorp report, the contract was worth $1.1 million.
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“Tom Dearden confirmed to the club this morning that he has signed for the Cowboys from next season,” Broncos coach Kevin Walters said on Monday morning.
“Obviously we are disappointed, but we have clear priorities on who we are targeting to strengthen our roster going forward.
“We will continue to work through that process in the weeks and months ahead.”
Tom Dearden during a Brisbane Broncos training session.Source:Getty Images
Brisbane have mustered one victory in the opening seven rounds of the 2021 premiership, defeating wooden spoon favourites the Canterbury Bulldogs in round three.
The only Bronco likely to be featured in the Queensland Maroons squad for this year’s State of Origin series is winger Xavier Coates, which greatly irritates club founding father Barry Maranta.
“Why have we got four guys who could play for NSW and just one who is a real chance of playing for Queensland? That, to me, is turning the Broncos upside down,” Maranta told the Courier-Mail.
“That wasn’t part of our growth pattern in the first 25 years of the club. Queensland State of Origin selection is not the be-all and end-all, but it is a litmus test.
“Clearly we have failed in our recruiting. It happened on someone’s watch.
“We have only got one player (Coates) who is really in contention, whereas in the old days we would have nine or 10.”
Two years ago, Brisbane chiefs missed out on signing schoolboy phenom Sam Walker because they believed Dearden was shaping as a future superstar.
Following Walker’s impressive debut for the Sydney Roosters earlier this month, the Broncos have been left with egg on their face.
Sam Walker of the Roosters.Source:Getty Images
“I look at someone like Sam (Walker) who has Broncos blood running through his veins and it gives me indigestion that he is playing for the Roosters. Where did that come from?” Maranta asked.
“We should be out in Charleville and Roma looking around like we used to be.’’
Queensland teenager Reece Walsh also made a promising start to his NRL career on the weekend — albeit while representing the New Zealand Warriors.
Walsh impressed with 14 runs for 89m, one linebreak assist, two try assists and five tackle breaks in the 42-20 loss to the Melbourne Storm.
Reece Walsh of the Warriors.Source:Getty Images
Speaking on Sky Sports’ Big Sports Breakfast, Canberra Raiders great Laurie Daley argued Brisbane can’t afford to continue losing promising young talents.
“They are losing some of the best talent in the game and they can’t afford to continually do that because this is the Broncos that never lost a player,” Daley said.
“They would keep players for unders. This is a different Broncos to what it was five to 10 years ago. They’ve lost that lust.
“The impact he (Walsh) had straight away for this Warriors team. He’s an 18-year old kid that is going to be brilliant if he stays injury-free from what I saw last night. I’ve seen all the highlights on YouTube of him.
“I can’t believe the Broncos have let those two (Walker and Walsh) go. They are the future of the Broncos right there and they’ve let them go.
“I don’t know how they’ve missed them.”
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