The Brisbane Broncos took steps today to ensure their future; locking up prominent rookies for the next era at Brisbane under Ivan Henjack. The Broncos confirmed their gun halfback Peter Wallace, the exciting Steve Michaels and current Wests Tigers forward Ben Teo are all on the books for 2009.
Rising halfback Peter Wallace – who broke into State of Origin football for the first time after only a few NRL games was always going to be the prized scalp for the Broncos; but Brisbane went further and have locked up a further 9 players for their future roster.
Wallace performed admirably in both Origins but was a forced replacement for Game 3 earlier this month by 19-year-old Pearce after rupturing his testicle in game two.
The 22-year-old former Penrith junior said Brisbane’s half-back “brains trust” had been a factor in his decision to extend his contract with the Broncos through until 2012.
“I didn’t expect any of this, I was just happy to get a game,” said the red-haired half, pitched into the deep end when Darren Lockyer’s persistent knee problems sidelined him for most of the first half of the NRL season.
Wallace will have some of the best in the business shaping his career and advising him in Allan Langer, Ivan Henjak who takes the coaching reins from Wayne Bennett next season, and Paul Green, who wore the No.7 for Queensland.
Wallace and Pearce are headed for some tremendous battles in future years and Wallace is happy to launch his representative claims with a club as successful as Brisbane.
“I couldn’t think of a better club to do it from.” said Wallace.
“They’ve got some great players around here and some great ex-players as well.”
Peter Wallace, exciting outside back Steve Michaels and Wests Tigers forward Ben Te’o topped chief executive Bruno Cullen’s 10-man list which included seven promising youngsters from the club’s Toyota Cup squad.
Michaels re-signed for two years while Te’o, who Cullen sees as a possible replacement for retiring lock Tonie Carroll, has a one-year deal to test the waters for both parties.
The under-20 players signed were impressive utility Gerard Beale, fullback Josh Hoffman, half-back prospect Ben Hunt, hooker Andrew McCullough, highly-rated young prop Josh McGuire, Aucklander Will Tupou and flyer Jharal Yow Yeh.
Cullen said apart from negotiations with Origin winger Darius Boyd and utility David Stagg, Brisbane’s books were now “closed”.
“That’s about it, the (25 man) roster is about full,” said Cullen whose next challenge will be securing the services of full-back Karmichael Hunt to a long term deal when his contract expires at the end of next season.