Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
After an injury-riddled few years, Ryan James finally overcame the odds and reinvented his NRL career when he joined the Canberra Raiders from the Gold Coast Titans at the beginning of this season.
James would go on to play 14 games for the Green Machine in 2021, scoring three tries, making 15 tackle breaks, 378.2 post-contact metres, averaging 72.9 run metres per game and making 315 tackles for an efficiency rate of 96.35.
He also played two games for the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs on a loan deal.
It seems that the 30-year-old’s stay in the nation’s capital has come to an end, with the Courier Mail reporting that the Brisbane Broncos have signed James pending a release from Canberra.
This news will largely come as a shock to fans of his former club the Titans, as James was once their captain when he was in State of Origin form and played in 144 games their NRL side, and the fact that he has now reportedly signed with their local and arch-rival must be a hard pill to swallow for the Titans faithful.
Brisbane has seemingly had this deal for James in the pipeline for a while, with reports emerging last month that the club was looking to bring in an experienced forward to bolster their pack and was deciding between James and Dylan Napa from the Bulldogs, a move that club legend Gordan Tallis was all for when speaking to the Courier-Mail.
BREAKING: Former @GCTitans captain Ryan James to sign a two-year deal with @brisbanebroncos in coming days once release from @RaidersCanberra is finalised. #NRL @cmail_sport @badel_cmail https://t.co/N1upkBpiT3
— Travis Meyn (@travismeyn) September 21, 2021
“They are probably one big guy short in the middle,” Tallis said.
“They have Pat Carrigan to come back from injury and have some talent there, but they need to lift a bit. Carrigan can play long quality minutes in the middle.
“There are enough Queenslanders out there for them to look at.
“When the Broncos were at their best they had Glenn Lazarus and Andrew Gee, then Webcke and Petero off the bench,” the former skipper said.
“The front row is a crucial spot for the Broncos to get right. The Roosters have an old head in Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, that’s where you get your confidence from.
“Every pack has a leader, it’s important.
“Payne Haas is a leader but he needs a great partner to lean on.”
Time will soon tell if James is that partner Haas has needed.