Broncos sign two more young NRL hopefuls - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Broncos sign two more young NRL hopefuls

Wayne Heming 12/05/2011 03:13:45 PM Comments (0)

Justin Hodges has taken star billing this week but Brisbane NRL coach Anthony Griffin is equally excited by the low-key re-signing of youngster Dale Copley.

While Hodges' three-year deal was announced to a packed media conference in the club's boardroom on Wednesday, Copley's new two-year arrangement was worked out with far less fanfare by Griffin and Broncos operations manager Andrew Gee.

"We've got Dale and Dunamis Lui as well as Hodgo, so it's been a pretty good week for us," said rookie Griffin, already preparing for life after Darren Lockyer.

"We're continuing to build from within and we see big futures for both those boys.

"Dale is a big boy, he's still growing. He's up to 96 kilos and he could still play under-20s.

"He's still a baby in football terms."

Copley, who could one day take over Hodges' centre spot, had a painful introduction to the NRL, pitched into his debut in difficult circumstances against Cronulla in 2009 just after turning 18.

"I'm really enjoying watching him develop," admitted Griffin in a fatherly tone.

"When he first came into first grade, he was on the end of a few hidings after being thrown in the deep when we were way down on staff.

"It wasn't an enjoyable experience for him playing NRL but now he's playing in a team that's going good.

"It's helped his confidence and we're seeing more and more out of him every week."

The deals with Copley and Lui are part of the club's vision to retain the exciting talent coming through their under-20 ranks and help adjust to life after Lockyer.

Jharal Yow Yeh completed a dizzy journey from Brisbane's colts side in 2008 to Test footballer this month and possibly Origin football in coming weeks, and boom young backline utility Gerard Beale was named in New Zealand's Test squad.

Ben Hunt, Andrew McCullough, Josh Hoffman and Corey Norman are the next generation of Broncos and part of the club's blueprint for the future.

Griffin, who'd already had a lot to do with many of the youngsters, having coached the colts in their 2008 grand final loss to Canberra, said the work put into the young players was starting to reap some rewards.

"They're starting to evolve now and Locky's only got six months left so that will be another spot that will open up," he said.

"The players have been patient and they'll be rewarded for that patience in 18 months to two years' time.

"They've all got good attitudes, there's no idiots among them and they all feel safe here.

"They know the people they're playing with and the people who are looking after them and they know they're in a really good environment."

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