The Brisbane Broncos have taken to their playing list with ruthless abandon as they axe almost a third of the squad from this season.
After a dismal finish to the season which saw them miss out on the NRL finals by finishing ninth on the ladder, the Broncos axed 11 players.
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Jake Turpin, Ryan James, Albert Kelly, Brenko Lee, Tyson Gamble, Rhys Kennedy, Zac Hosking, Tyrone Roberts, Te Maire Martin and David Mead have departed the Broncos while Jamayne Isaako was released mid-year.
Coach Kevin Walters is entering his third season in charge and remains on the hot seat as the club attempt to break their premiership drought.
“It’s been another year where we’ve had to let go of some players and others are moving on for different reasons,” Walters said to the Courier Mail.
“I wish all those guys all the best in their future careers. They’ve been great servants at the Broncos.
“We’ve identified where we need to improve. I love working with these guys. They’re a great group of young fellas and a couple of older ones that joined us this year.
“We are on the right path and trajectory. I know where we need to go and how to get there. I’ve got great support around the club to make it happen.
“It wasn’t the best of finishes for us, but we surprised a lot of people with the football we played. It’s now about getting that consistency with our footy in years to come.”
Isaako and Lee are set to join the NRL’s new franchise, the Dolphins. Martin is joining the New Zealand Warriors.
Three players have yet to announce their playing futures with Turpin, Kelly and Roberts. Veterans Mead and James announced their retirements from the game.
Hosking is joining the Grand Final bound Panthers with Gamble set to join the Knights. Kennedy is leaving the NRL after signing a deal to join Hull FC in the Super League.
The stunning list axe leaves the Broncos with plenty of spots to fill ahead of the 2023 season with the club linked to multiple players.
Broncos fans were left up in arms after the club lost five of their past six games and eventually missed the finals race.
Walters however, despite the capitulation, is confident the club can turn it around and get back into finals contention next season.
“We are all disappointed with how the season ended, but we have done our review and identified where we need to be better,” he said.
“It was a disappointing finish, I won’t hide behind that, but the review part has been one of identifying why that happened and how that happened and two making sure it doesn’t happen next year.
“The contents of the review we will keep in-house with the staff and players. Blind Freddy can see some of the areas that need to be better, but too much information gets leaked out of our place so we will share the information with the staff and players when they come back.
“The goal next year is not just finals, I want a premiership next year. There will only be one winner this year and all the other 15 clubs will do their reviews and come back next year wanting to have a crack at winning it.
“The finals is a good stepping stone, but we have to work towards winning a premiership.”