In 2022 Tesi Niu was the first-choice fullback at the Brisbane Broncos until a mid-season injury ruled him out for a large chunk of the year.
This injury caused a huge blow to Niu’s chances of retaining the number one jersey for next season as Selwyn Cobbo was having a breakout season for the club on the wing and had his sights set on the fullback position, as did England International Herbie Farnworth.
Late last season the Broncos announced the signing of Reece Walsh from the New Zealand Warriors in a move that puzzled many due to how stacked the competition for the fullback role was already.
By doing this Brisbane had all but given themselves two options.
Upgrade the contracts of one of their existing young guns who they are desperate to keep but don’t want to use at fullback to keep them happy or release at least one of their rising stars.
It seems that the Broncos are going with the latter option as The Courier Mail’s Peter Badel is reporting that Niu has been permitted to negotiate with rival clubs about an immediate move.
“News Corp can reveal Niu may have played his last game for the Broncos after his management sought permission to explore the open market immediately — a request authorised by Brisbane hierarchy,” said Badel.
One club has been rumoured to be looking at Niu for a while now and that is none other than the Broncos local rivals and the NRL’s newest franchise The Dolphins.
BREAKING: Tesi Niu’s Broncos career is all but over.
Brisbane have given him permission to negotiate with rival clubs immediately, opening the door for the Dolphins and Knights. Full details 👇 @travismeyn https://t.co/7SiltZ9ZQ5
— Pete Badel (@badel_cmail) November 19, 2022
These rumours have been all but confirmed as Dolphins head coach Wayne Bennett recently spoke to Badel and reacted to this news.
“I didn’t realise Tesi had been given permission to negotiate with other clubs, but if he is available, yes we’re interested in him,” Bennett said.
“I haven’t seen a lot of Tesi but what I have seen of him, I have liked.
“I didn’t know Brisbane were prepared to let him go but we’ll have a talk internally and make a decision on whether to sign him.”
The Dolphins have been desperate for outside backs and a starting fullback in particular.
While Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow could fulfil that role he is much better used as a centre with a more out-and-out fullback on his inside.