‘It’s been destroyed’: Broncos greats mourn club’s lost ‘aura’
Former Broncos players believe the aura they worked so hard to construct has been destroyed by Brisbane's "diabolical'' list management that has cost the club David Fifita.
Fifita's defection to the Gold Coast Titans is seen as a watershed moment in the life of both clubs.
For the long-suffering Titans it brings hope of a brighter world but Broncos old boys president and former Test centre Chris Johns claims it is a sign the Broncos traditional marketplace pull had been ripped the shreds.
"The aura has gone,'' Johns said. "Those generations where every kid wanted to be the next Allan Langer and play at the club … it's been destroyed.
"I get that its harder to get your recruiting right outside the club with players like Cam Smith and Cam Munster because some just slip through the net, but the Broncos cannot even get it right inside the club.
"They have five or six of the best young forwards in the competition and David Fifita should have been the first one signed, not the last. They left their best forward until last. That's diabolical.''
Fifita, who will join the Titans on a three-year deal, would have had to sacrifice around $1 million to stay at Brisbane but Johns said the issue was broader than money.
"They say the chequebook beat us. No it didn't. You don't have the right environment with the coach and the recruitment. Don't give me excuses about management problems with Fifita. That's why CEO's get a million dollars.
"I don't blame Fifita. Until the club gets an independent reviewer to come in we are going to go nowhere.
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"When we started the Melbourne Storm we modelled ourselves on the Broncos and not Manly who would get the cheque book out and would try and buy a premiership.
"The Broncos were never like that. They were a club where players would take unders and that environment thrived. It's all about roster management and the Broncos have got it horribly wrong.''
Another foundation Bronco, hooker Kerrod Walters, sensed the loss of Fifita could provide Brisbane with more challenging times.
"Players talk and I know the money was much bigger at the Titans but over the years many players have taken smaller deals to stay with the Broncos,'' Walters said.
"Players will ask "why did he want to go?'' What else was there at play? It's a big thing.''
Former Broncos winger Jharal Yow Yeh tweeted: "This is bullshit … WTF have we come to, to lose a great kid like David Fifita''.
Former Broncos captain Gorden Tallis, a Titans ambassador, told Triple M radio on Sunday he had phoned Fifita on Sunday morning and said the youngster was excited by and comfortable with the decision.
"It wasn't just about the money - it was the package,'' Tallis said.
Originally published as 'It's been destroyed': Broncos greats mourn club's lost 'aura'