NRL 2022 Key Changes: Brisbane Broncos

10 Feb 22, 3:07PM 0 Comments

Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk

Photo by Colleen Edwards

The name Brisbane Broncos certainly does not have the same fear-inducing impact on opposition fans that it once did.

In the 1990s, only the very best teams had a chance of beating the Broncos, as the NRL’s first Queensland based club dominated the decade, winning four premierships.

A fifth premiership to kick off the new millennium was a statement from the club that they were going to remain one of the NRL’s top teams and do that they did by consistently finishing in the finals and contending for a Provan-Summons trophy until they eventually won their sixth Grand Final in 2006.

Despite not winning the league again to this date, the Broncos at least remained one of the NRL’s better sides throughout most of the 2010s, that is until everything changed in 2019.

The 2019 NRL season would mark the beginning of Brisbane’s “nightmare era”, with the once-dominant Broncos being poor throughout and just sneaking into the top eight at the end of the regular season, only to be hammered 58-0 in the first week of the finals against the Parramatta Eels, marking the exact day that the aura around the name Brisbane Broncos died.

We would then see the club hit rock bottom as they won their first-ever wooden spoon in 2020 and finished in the bottom four in 2021.

However, there were significant signs of improvement towards the end of the season as the Broncos won three of their last six games and did not lose by more than eight points during that period.

Brisbane is finally in rebuild mode after being able to make minimal changes of substance to their squad between 2019 and 2021, with multiple high profile signings for this season and a team on paper that has the potential to start rebuilding the aura around the Broncos name and make them contenders again.



Since Ben Hunt left the Broncos at the end of 2017, the club has not had a game controlling half in their side which has ultimately become their biggest problem.

Attempts to rectify this were met by a revolving door of players donning the club’s number seven jersey, with no one able to hold down a spot in the halfback position.

The Broncos don’t need to worry about that any longer as on the 12th of May 2021 the Broncos officially made a statement of intent when announcing the signing of South Sydney Rabbitohs halfback and captain Adam Reynolds.

Reynolds has arguably been the game’s most consistent game controlling half for the past decade and will look to continue performing at a high level as he takes on the role of captain in Brisbane.


A couple of weeks after announcing the signing of Adam Reynolds, the Broncos confirmed the rumours that they had nabbed 2020 NRL premiership-winning centre, Brenko Lee, from the Melbourne Storm.

Lee reinvented himself at the Storm and Brisbane will look to reap the rewards of that, as the 26-year-old significantly strengthens the club’s options at centre.


Kurt Capwell is coming off a premiership win with the Penrith Panthers in 2021, with the 28-year-old a key component in that side.

His consistent effort and work ethic will be valued in a Broncos forward pack that until his signing lacked experience.

The Queensland representative is also the first second-rower that Brisbane has had in their squad at the peak of their powers for several years.


Former Cowboys Rookie of the Year Corey Jensen will add further depth to Brisbane’s forward pack, as the 28-year-old joins from the club’s arch-rivals.

He is unlikely to start for the Broncos when season 2022 commences but will be relied upon to be an impact player off of the bench and inject energy back into the forwards when they start to fatigue.


Jordan Pereira’s addition to the Broncos is a welcome one indeed after the club lost their star winger Xavier Coates to the Melbourne Storm.

While he is unlikely to start the season in first grade, Pereira is an experienced winger that is sure to put pressure on both Corey Oates and Jamayne Isaako to perform well or lose their spot in the side to the 28-year-old.


Finally, we have the veteran Ryan James, who joins the Broncos after a short stint at the Canberra Raiders and the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs on loan.

James’ experience will be invaluable to a forward pack brimming with potential superstars who can learn off of the 30-year-old.

His role off the field as a leader will be just as important as playing well on the field.


Former Knights, Titans and Warrington half Tyrone Roberts is coming off of a big year in the Intrust Super Cup with the Norths Devils, who won the competition for the first time since 1998.

This earned Roberts a train and trial deal at the Broncos as he looks to make a return to the NRL.



The biggest question concerning the Broncos ahead of the 2022 NRL season is just who will partner Adam Reynolds in the halves, with Tyson Gamble and Albert Kelly seemingly the top contenders for the number six jersey.

Both played well throughout 2021 and deserve the spot, but Kevin Walters decision will be made all the more harder with the recent acquisitions of his son Billy and former New Zealand International Te Marie Martin, both of whom are experienced five-eighths.


Centre Kotoni Staggs will be returning from an MCL injury sustained in Brisbane’s round 20 win over rivals the North Queensland Cowboys last year after recently returning from a ruptured ACL sustained in late 2020.

Once tipped to be Brisbane’s long-term five-eighth, Staggs’ unfortunate run of injuries has Broncos fans hoping he will still be as effective in the centres and do so without any time spent on the sidelines.


Selwyn Cobbo burst onto the scene in the NRL last year and was one of the top performers for the Wynnum Manly Seagulls who lost the 2021 Intrust Super Cup Grand Final 16-10 against the Norths Devils.

Brisbane fans are understandably excited to see Cobbo grow as a player and one day be a star for their club, but the question is whether or not he’ll be able to break into the side consistently in 2022.


Brisbane is currently favoured by most to finish above the bottom four for the first time since 2019, with many also having them as contenders for the top eight, but what if they do not meet expectations?

The club has invested so heavily in improving the squad this season that a failure to capitalise upon that would leave many wondering where they go from there and likely cost Kevin Walters his job as head coach.


1. Tesi Niu
2. Corey Oates
3. Kotoni Staggs
4. Herbie Farnworth
5. Jamayne Isaako
6. Tyson Gamble
7. Adam Reynolds ©
8. Payne Haas
9. Jake Turpin
10. Thomas Flegler
11. Kurt Capewell
12. Jordan Riki
13. Patrick Carrigan

14. Kobe Hetherington
15. TC Robati
16. Cory Jensen
17. Keenan Palasia

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