In a blow to the Broncos’ 2019 prospects, the Broncos have today announced the immediate departure of forward Josh McGuire to the North Queensland Cowboys.
The small forward has been consistently productive for the Broncos over a number of years, regularly producing in excess of 100 run metres per game. That said, McGuire’s lack of offloads per game and higher than desirable missed tackle count, coupled with the emergence of Haas, Carrigan, Lodge, Ofahengaue, Pangai Junior, Fifita and Fai, all of whom were more productive than McGuire during last season, makes McGuire’s departure somewhat more palatable.
While Broncos’ decision to cut ties with McGuire in order free up salary cap space to re-sign the likes of Oates, Lodge, and Pangai Junior to long term deals, is understandable at face value, the club’s decision to sacrifice one of their top 8 rotational forward in McGuire but re-sign the substantially less productive and defensively liable, Gillet, to a lucrative long-term contract, is down right baffling.
While Gillet missed the majority of last season due to injury, when he was fit and playing at the start of the season, his per game production of 77 run metres, 3 missed tackles and 0 offloads, was far inferior to that of McGuire (118 run metres, 3 missed tackles and 0 offloads).
In light of that, McGuire’s departure is another disappointing moment for the Broncos’ recruitment and retention team.
Obviously salary cap restraints mean the Broncos can’t retain all players. That said, the inferior on field performances this past season from the likes of Matt Gillett, Alex Glenn, Miles Taueli, Thomas Flegler, Patrick Mago, and even recently re-signed Sam Tagataese and Jayden Su’A, means the Broncos should have sought to move a number of those players on first before contemplating releasing any of their 8 most productive forwards, which includes McGuire.
The Broncos now face the problem of not only needing to re-sign the likes of Oates, Lodge and Pangai Junior, but also needing to find a direct replacement for McGuire, who possesses a proven track record of on field production equivalent to that of Moose.
The Broncos may want to start by looking at the likes of Nat Neale or Ben Shea (Ipswich Jets), Luke Page (Burleigh Bears), Oshae Tuiasau (Norths Devils), JJ Felise (not contracted) and Tui Kamikamaca (Melbourne Storm), to name a few.