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Broncos SOS to fill leadership void

The Broncos have sent an SOS to club legend Darren Lockyer to fix the leadership void plaguing Brisbane's desperate bid to break a 14-year premiership drought.

The Sunday Mail can reveal Lockyer has been hired to provide leadership training to select Broncos players as coach Anthony Seibold leaves no stone unturned in pursuit of Brisbane's first title since 2006.

The move has been formalised with Broncos shareholders notified that Lockyer has been appointed as a leadership consultant on a two-year deal.

Lockyer, rated a future NRL Immortal, is one of the greatest players in the Broncos' 32-year history. He remains the club's most-capped player with 355 appearances, winning four premierships and the 2000 Clive Churchill Medal during his stellar 16-year NRL career.

More appropriately, he is one of the code's finest captains, having led Brisbane, Queensland and Australia displaying the nerveless cool head, class and courage that Seibold believes can inspire a new generation of Broncos.

Brisbane fielded the youngest team in the NRL last season and the club has been crying out for a natural leader since Lockyer retired in 2011, a view that intensified after the Broncos were flogged 58-0 by Parramatta in the finals last September.

That prompted Seibold to reach out to Lockyer, who has been privately working with the club's leadership group. The contingent includes Alex Glenn, Pat Carrigan, Payne Haas, Alex Glenn, Darius Boyd, Matt Lodge, Tevita Pangai Jr and Brodie Croft.

Lockyer, a Broncos board member, yesterday confirmed the arrangement, insisting Brisbane's future is in good hands.

"I am enjoying it - the proof will be in the pudding," said Lockyer, who skippered the Broncos to their last title in 2006.

"There are seven guys and I'm mentoring them to try and develop them as leaders.

"We agreed there was a need for it and I wanted to take the role on.

"I'm doing it for 12 months with a review at the end of the year to see if we are getting results."

Lockyer began the role in November and was meeting with the group on a weekly basis. The mentoring was put on hold during the coronavirus pandemic, but with the Broncos returning to training last week, Brisbane will ramp-up the leadership-training program.

Lockyer has previously been working privately with the club’s leadership group. Picture: AAP.
Lockyer has previously been working privately with the club’s leadership group. Picture: AAP.

Now 43, Lockyer has acquired skills post-retirement in the corporate and business worlds. He also speaks to the group about the on-field accountability and personal standards that saw

Lockyer amass a staggering 36 Origin matches and 59 Tests for Australia.

"I want to help them feel more empowered to lead on and off the field," he said.

"I'm imparting my knowledge from my time captaining the Broncos, Queensland and Australia, as well as using some external leadership-program concepts that can be appropriate for the group.

"I want them to lead with their actions but leadership is very much about helping others around you."

Asked to nominate standouts, Lockyer said: "They all bring their own qualities. I've been impressed by all of them.

"Patty Carrigan is very mature for his age, he is well-educated.

"Brodie, down the track, has good credentials, he is a good talker and a professional with his preparation.

"Lodgey' shows a lot of good leadership qualities, he's had an injury lately but he has come a long way as a person. He's learned a lot through adversity."

Broncos prop Lodge lauded Lockyer's input and influence.

"Working with 'Locky' is great," he said.

"We don't have that established kind of legend in our roster, so if Locky was still playing he would be captain of our club.

"When he walks in the room, he has our instant respect because of what he has achieved and what he has done in rugby league.

"We're soaking up everything he knows. He has been voted in the top three best players of all-time so to have someone like him come in and work with us, he has our attention all the time."

Broncos CEO Paul White says the young team needs some experienced leaders like Lockyer. Picture: Annette Dew.
Broncos CEO Paul White says the young team needs some experienced leaders like Lockyer. Picture: Annette Dew.


Broncos chief executive Paul White conceded the club needed to address a leadership void.

"Locky has done everything in the game. He is an asset to the club, he sits on our board and he is heavily invested in our club," White said.

"We have a young core of players and we've always articulated the need to grow some leaders.

"Locky is within our club and we would be silly not to use his knowledge and experience. He is the most appropriate person to mentor the players in conjunction with the football department staff.

"We have to invest in our young men if we want to develop, improve and challenge them.

"Locky is one of the greatest captains of the modern era and we're fortunate that he is keen to work with the group."

Originally published as Broncos SOS to fill leadership void