Broncos looking to lock away stars - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Broncos looking to lock away stars

By Wayne Heming 21/02/2009 01:50:14 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane Broncos will hope to kick-off its 2009 NRL season opener next month on a major high with stars Karmichael Hunt and Sam Thaiday committing to new deals.

And they would dearly love to complete the picture by adding captain Darren Lockyer to the package.

However, securing the trio could depend on the club's financial restraints under the NRL salary cap and whether there is any truth in rumours of a lucrative offer to Hunt from rugby union interests in Japan and France.

Hunt and Thaiday could sign new contracts before Brisbane's season opener against the North Queensland Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium on March 13.

Lockyer has given strong indications he'll reject overseas offers to see out his career with the Broncos but the fact he still hasn't re-signed suggests he is keeping his options open.

Brisbane chief executive Bruno Cullen said he was "very relaxed" where negotiations were with all three players.

He said he did not want to discuss player negotiations "through the media".

"I'm very relaxed where we are with all their negotiations," Cullen told AAP.

"I think it's possible by (season) kick-off we will certainly have a good idea about things."

Brisbane, hamstrung by the NRL's $4.1 million salary cap, will splurge around $2 million over a period of three years to retain Lockyer, Hunt and Thaiday if the trio elect to stay beyond 2009.

According to his manager, 22 year-old Hunt has been the target of massive rugby union offers, reported to be a million dollars a season, from free-spending French and Japanese clubs who are also chasing Kiwi international Benji Marshall whose efforts to play in Japan are being blocked by the NRL.

Hunt, who has played for Queensland and Australia, is also in the sights of the Australian Rugby Union and several NRL clubs who'd love to pry him away from Brisbane.

Thaiday, 23, recently spoke about captaincy aspirations at the Broncos, suggesting he is staying put.

He said last Wednesday he'd prefer to have his future decided before the season kicked off rather than have it drag on and be a distraction to him and the team.

Hunt and Thaiday will return to action for Brisbane in a trial against Canberra at Redcliffe on Saturday night.

Lockyer, who had minor knee surgery during the off-season, may play in next weekend's final hit-out against Melbourne on the Sunshine Coast.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2024 AAP

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