Brisbane have put one piece of their contract jigsaw in place, re-signing Queensland winger Corey Oates to a one-year extension.
Oates has been a surprise packet for the Broncos during the past two NRL seasons after being shifted to the wing full-time.
He has agreed to a short-term extension until the end of the 2018 NRL season.
It is one less headache for Broncos chief executive Paul White, who has more than half of the club’s starting side off contract at the end of the year, including skipper Darius Boyd, Anthony Milford, Josh McGuire, Andrew McCullough and Adam Blair.
The 22-year-old is expected to be shifted into the back row later in his career but has made a fist of the outside backs after coach Wayne Bennett moved him to the flank in 2015.
That year, he played in the Broncos’ grand final loss to North Queensland and, last season, appeared in all three State of Origin games for the Maroons, his first taste of representative football.
“I really was shocked when I was told I was playing wing for the Broncs the first time,” Oates said.
“I’d never played on the wing. The closest I’d played was at centre and that was at school. I really had no idea what to do.
“For the first couple of years, I did struggle. I was on the bench, I was in the middle, I was in the back row, then I was thrown back on the wing. I wasn’t getting consecutive games in the same position, I was always getting thrown around.
“Back then, I really thought I was going to be a back-rower or a prop or somewhere in the forwards. The last couple of years have been a big surprise.”
Since then, not only has he nailed down a wing spot, he’s cemented himself as one of the most damaging ball runners and finishers in the game.
He said his debut Origin series had been a difficult learning curve but credited it with making him a better player.
“The boys always talk about the Origin period and how hard it is and you never really realise it until you play it,” Oates said. “Even on the wing, I was buggered afterwards.
“And I think those four games after the Origin period showed how much of a toll it did take on me. You’re just buggered.”