Parker to end Broncos’ Hunt for next skipper?
WHEN Wayne Bennett left the Broncos at the end of 2008, giant photos of six former club captains adorned a wall in the foyer of the leagues club.
On his return six years later, three additional images had been hung.
While not suggesting a succession plan for the retirement of Darren Lockyer had been disregarded, three different skippers in three years following his departure was not a good look for a club admired for its decision making. And Bennett was not impressed by the leadership shemozzle.
With 28 days until the Broncos kick-off season 2016 against the Eels, Bennett is yet to name his new skipper.
It is the same process he adopted last season on his return, so members and fans should not be alarmed.
But if the mail coming out of Red Hill is on the money, the old coach may be backtracking. Word is that the club's elder statesman, Corey Parker, is to be in the driver's seat again.
In a decision that was way out of left field for an organisation that prides itself on being resolute, Parker and Justin Hodges were appointed co-captains by Anthony Griffin for the 2014 season. Abandoning that confusion was the first swipe at the old brigade that Bennett took when he returned.
The Broncos captaincy is one of distinction in Queensland sport, and no doubt the foundation coach felt it had been somewhat tainted during his six-year absence. Since Lockyer - a Bennett appointee - retired at the end of 2011, Hodges, Parker and Sam Thaiday had held the prestigious position.
Bennett gave Hodges the solo job last season with Parker and Andrew McCullough deputising when the skipper was unavailable. But the consensus was that Ben Hunt, the 2014 player of the year and last season anointed best back, would be the 2016 skipper.
Now it appears 323-NRL game veteran Parker has the inside running, and that may surprise many close to the club. While still a wonderful player - a current Test and Origin star and 2015 Broncos player of the year - his personality can ruffle teammates' feathers.
The names of Hunt, McCullough and Darius Boyd, as well as Thaiday and Parker, have been bandied about as possible successors, with Bennett giving no indication - publically at least - of who will be ordained.
But Parker, who covets the role, is apparently now much more amiable among his peers. And while he may turn 34 in May and be in the final year of his current deal, he is set to sign an extension.
So it seems Hunt, who waited three years for his No.7 jersey, has been wait-listed yet again. And the wall in the leagues club foyer won't need another upgrade.