Broncos stars in hot water over controversial picture
Former Broncos prop Joe Ofahengaue posted a photo on his Instagram account this week following the rendezvous among old Brisbane teammates.
The Broncos have been based in Sydney for the past fortnight after fleeing Brisbane during the recent COVID outbreak.
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Hopoate made his NRL debut for the Broncos last year and played 12 games, but was not offered a new contract for 2021.
He was at the centre of domestic violence allegations last December following an incident involving partner Shae Beathe in Port Macquarie.
Court documents alleged Hopoate spat on security guards and his partner inside Club Panthers before striking her outside the venue.
Hopoate fled the scene and was later arrested by police and charged with mid-range drink driving.
In February, Hopoate pleaded guilty to seven charges stemming from the incident and he will be sentenced on April 29.
Hopoate has already spent time in prison after he was jailed for a year following an assault in 2014.
He got his rugby league career back on track in Queensland with the Redcliffe Dolphins before being offered an NRL deal with the Broncos.
The Broncos declined to comment about Glenn and Milford's meeting with Hopoate, but Sport Confidential understands club figures were not impressed about the photo being made public.
WIDDOP TO SAVE BRONCOS?
NRL premiership-winning playmaker Gareth Widdop has been offered to the Broncos to help solve Brisbane's halves conundrum.
Sport Confidential can reveal Widdop has been shopped to Brisbane, with coach Kevin Walters to decide whether he wants to bring the England Test star on board.
Widdop has been carving up for Warrington in the Super League and is desperate to return to Australia after his partner and children left England.
Just turned 32, Widdop is far from a spent force and would not be an expensive signing for the Broncos.
He played five-eighth in Melbourne's 2012 NRL premiership team and could be the senior playmaker the Broncos have been searching for.
Walters has struggled to find his best halves combination in the opening rounds of the season, with Anthony Milford, Tom Dearden and Brodie Croft producing patchy form.
Widdop played 195 NRL games for the Storm and Dragons before heading home to England last year.
OATES ROLLS WIDE
Out-of-favour Bronco Corey Oates has abandoned his dreams of being a back-rower.
A former State of Origin winger, Oates has been languishing in the Intrust Super Cup after being overlooked by Broncos coach Kevin Walters in the early rounds of the NRL season.
After years of agitating, Oates made what was thought to be a permanent move to the forwards in the pre-season, but he has been playing on the wing for Souths-Logan.
Walters said Oates asked to be moved back to his best position out wide and the selection of Richie Kennar for Thursday night's Rabbitohs game wasn't a sign that he was on the outer.
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"Corey came to me and said he'd like to move back to the wing and I'm not going to stand in any player's way," he said.
"They need to play where they feel most comfortable and will play their best football.
"Corey feels that is on the wing so 'away you go son, you're back on the wing'.
"He's not well out-of-favour. I'm not a big fan of shuffling players around. We lost a centre (Herbie Farnworth) so we thought the best thing to do was replace him with a centre."
HOLY MOSES, TEVITA IS GONE
Broncos forward Tevita Pangai Jnr has secured a new manager after severing ties with the NRL's most powerful agent Isaac Moses in the wake of his deregistration from the NRL.
Moses has been the code's No.1 agent for some time but his future in the game is uncertain after the NRL stripped his accreditation in February, leaving more than 100 NRL stars in limbo.
It is understood many are staying loyal to Moses, who represented Storm champion Cameron Smith, but Pangai Jnr has defected to sign with rival agent Matt Desira.
The Sydney-based Desira has a number of NRL players on his books, including Souths veteran Benji Marshall and Titans young gun Jayden Campbell, the son of Gold Coast legend Preston.
STORM WARNING ON MUNSTER AND 'PAPS'
New Melbourne chief executive Justin Rodski has vowed to fight hard to keep Cameron Munster amid fears the Storm sensation could be lost to a second Brisbane team.
Rockhampton product Munster last month told News Corp he will consider a return home to Queensland for family reasons if the NRL introduces a second Brisbane team to rival the Broncos in 2023 or 2024.
Munster is contracted to the Storm until the end of 2023. Should a second Brisbane team be added, Munster could potentially seek an early release, or see out his Melbourne deal before joining Queensland's fourth club the following year.
Prospective NRL team the Brisbane Jets have identified Munster as their first marquee signing, but Rodski is determined to retain a player who joined the Storm as an 18-year-old.
"We would like to think we can keep Cameron," Rodski said.
"He is a great player, an incredible talent and he is loving his time at Melbourne.
"He has been an important player for us, particularly in the transition period from Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater and Cam Smith into this new era with Jahrome Hughes, Ryan Papenhuyzen, Harry Grant and Brandon Smith.
"We are building a really exciting core of our team and Cam is a huge part of that. We love having him around the club and hopefully he stays long into the future."
Rodski feels the same way about Papenhuyzen, who is off-contract at the end of next year. The fullback ace is in talks on a long-term extension with the Storm.
"'Paps' is not only a super talent but a quality person," Rodski said.
"He is a future leader of our club, he has so much talent and is very courageous on the field, but he also has great character off the field.
"He is what the Storm is all about as a person and as a footballer. We would love to see him for the long-term at the Storm and we are working towards that."
HOW BRONCOS MISSED BENJI
The Broncos could have had the services of veteran playmaker Benji Marshall, who was named at five-eighth for Souths' clash against Brisbane on Thursday night.
Marshall was offered to Broncos coach Kevin Walters in pre-season at the cut-price rate of $200,000 as the 36-year-old seriously considered a second coming at Red Hill.
Marshall played 13 games for the Broncos in 2017 and relished his time at Brisbane, admitting his 12-month stint under Wayne Bennett helped him rediscover his passion for the game.
The Broncos desperately need experience at the scrumbase and the former Kiwi Test captain was offered to Brisbane to help mentor halfbacks Brodie Croft and Tom Dearden this season.
But Brisbane said a polite no thanks due to salary-cap pressures, opening the door for Bennett, now at South Sydney, to throw a lifeline to the 328-game premiership playmaking legend.
BENNETT GIVES MULLET THE TICK
South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett has explained the reasoning behind his decision to allow prop Keaon Koloamatangi to sport a mullet haircut.
Bennett has long been against outlandish hairstyles, warning Titans recruit Jai Arrow last year to lose his mullet before he arrived at Redfern.
But Koloamatangi appears to have slipped through the cracks, rocking a decent "party at the back" haircut in the opening rounds of the NRL.
Bennett told Sport Confidential Koloamatangi's haircut was an "acceptable mullet - there is a difference".
Bennett maintained Arrow's shocking mullet from 2020 would not have been accepted at the Rabbitohs.
WORLD CUP A GO
Rugby League World Cup organisers are confident the year-ending tournament in England will go ahead despite the lingering threat of COVID.
General tickets went on sale this week and the tournament is less than 200 days away.
The double-header final at Old Trafford is already nearly sold out, with only a limited range of tickets available.
Tickets can be resold at a later date on an official platform for fans that can no longer attend the tournament.
Tickets can be purchased at rlwc2021.com/tickets
BRONCOS RAFFLE SUCCESS
The Brisbane Broncos and 50-50 have surpassed the $2 million mark in prize money donated since the charity raffle's inception in 2013.
The first ever raffle was held during the Round 6 game at Suncorp Stadium against the North Queensland Cowboys and the partnership has gone from strength to strength since then.
Of the 99 raffles the Broncos have held at home games in conjunction with 50-50, the average winner took home over $11,000 - with the remaining funds assisting countless deserving Queensland charities.
The milestone was achieved during the first home game of the season on March 12, with Wesley Mission Queensland the lucky charity to tip the fundraising total over $2 million.
The 50-50 Charity Raffle is a major contributor to the Brisbane Broncos Charities Fund and allows charities to fundraise while promoting their worthy cause to the fans at Suncorp Stadium.
UNDER-20s RETURN UNDER FIRE
Ipswich Jets chairman Steve Johnson has expressed grave concerns about the prospect of the ARL Commission bringing back the National Youth Competition.
ARL Commission chief Peter V'landys has flagged the idea of resurrecting the under-20s competition, which was scrapped at the end of 2017 after a 10-season existence, largely due to the financial burden on clubs. It is estimated some clubs spent up to $1 million to field a team in the NYC.
But Johnson has urged the ARLC to bury the competition for good, expressing fears around the pressure on emerging stars, as well as the poor conversion rate of under-20s players who kicked on to graduate to the NRL.
"The NYC failed a whole generation of kids playing our game and it affected grassroots development," Johnson said.
"The truth is the NYC was a terrible standard. The scores were blowouts and the games were like touch football. The kids weren't playing against men and the competition didn't teach any resilience or the mindset required to play NRL.
"Emerging players get a better education playing in a competition like the Intrust Super Cup.
"We saw a number of suicides during that time involving under-20s players and a factor in that was the pressure to succeed. Many young kids felt if they didn't make the NYC, they had failed at a young age.
"I hope the comp doesn't return because there are more prudent ways to encourage participation and grassroots development."
NRL clubs are becoming paranoid in protecting their best young emerging talents. One club has begun ferrying their best 15-year-olds on buses to secret locations for games, even banning parents from attending to watch their teenage sons. The club in question is determined to keep agents and talent spotters from rival NRL teams well away from their next generation of young guns.
Originally published as Broncos stars in hot water over controversial picture