Broncos playmaker plans on brink of collapse
BRODIE Croft's planned move to the Broncos is on the brink of collapse, with salary-cap pressures set to force the halfback to remain in Melbourne in a blow to Brisbane's scrumbase overhaul.
The Courier-Mail can reveal Croft wants to be a Bronco in 2020 but the prospect of him arriving at Red Hill is looking increasingly slim as Brisbane's financial issues, coupled with Melbourne's hardline approach, threaten to thwart the deal.
Broncos coach Anthony Seibold held informal talks with Croft last month with a view to snaring the out-of-favour Storm No.7 and providing depth to Brisbane's most problematic area - their misfiring halves.
Croft's shift to the Broncos was regarded as a fait accompli, but the 22-year-old now faces seeing out the final two years of his Storm deal as his intended transfer to Brisbane reaches stalemate.
Seibold had visions of Croft orchestrating Brisbane's attack as his No.1 halfback next season but admits there is currently no room for him as the Broncos prepare to use funds from Matt Gillett's retirement to re-sign veteran utility Alex Glenn.
"We haven't offered Brodie a contract. We've had conversations with him and that's as far as it's gone," said Seibold, who is in America on a study trip.
"It's no secret I caught up with him when I was in Sydney to have a chat about where he's at and why he's not playing first grade at the Storm.
"As it stands, we don't have a spot in our squad to fill. Matt Gillett's retirement allows us to try and retain Alex."
Croft stands to earn around $400,000 a year at the Storm over the next two seasons and the Broncos were hoping a Melbourne subsidy could help finance his immediate switch to Red Hill.
The Dalby product is viewed as the game manager who could bring some direction to Brisbane's scrumbase, but it is understood the Storm have no interest in financially supporting Croft's defection to the Broncos.
Seibold insists he is not hitting the panic button over his halves, with the Broncos coach prepared to back teenager Tom Dearden, whose 2019 rookie season was marred by ankle surgery.
"Everyone feels as though we're short in the halves but Tom Dearden showed a lot of potential in his four games last year," Seibold said.
"Brodie Croft has another two years at the Storm."
Croft's manager Chris Orr said the Australian under-23s star has not given up hope of reclaiming his No.7 jumper at the Storm after being dropped on the eve of last season's finals.
"Brodie would bring a tremendous amount of skills to the Broncos if he were to join the club," Orr said.
"Brodie also has a tremendous working relationship with all Storm coaching staff and players. If he needs to stay and work hard on his game and see out his two-year contract then that's fine by him as he is extremely confident in his ability."