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Star centres need to stay at Broncos but pay an issue: Walters

Kevin Walters says Brisbane must find a way to keep strike centres Selwyn Cobbo and Kotoni Staggs long-term, even if it means the pair take less money than they are offered elsewhere.

Kotoni Staggs in action during an NRL Brisbane Broncos training session. (AAP Image/Darren England)

Kotoni Staggs in action during an NRL Brisbane Broncos training session. (AAP Image/Darren England)

Cobbo and Staggs both become free agents on November 1 and are central to the Broncos’ future plans to challenge regularly for NRL titles.

Cobbo has been a shining light in his positional switch to centre in 2024 and has shown he can cover all positions in the back five.

The 22-year-old starred off the bench for Queensland in the 38-10 win over NSW in the opening clash of the State of Origin series.

Staggs, 25, has represented NSW and has been a Broncos regular since his debut in 2018. Both have represented Australia.

Broncos coach Walters said he had no intention of standing by and watching either of the duo carve up for opponents.

“I’d expect to hang on to both,” Walters said.

“We have got to find a way to make it happen. They are two quality players who have both been through the (Broncos) academy.

“They are both going to demand a lot of money, but what we need to do is find a compromise with both those players where they are staying here and playing in a great side and a great club, and taking a little bit less money possibly, but staying here and being successful.”

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Walters, who won five titles as a player at the Broncos, was part of an outfit in the 1990s where teammates took pay cuts to keep a formidable squad together. He said the star duo may be prepared to do the same.

“I believe so, if you have got the right environment for them. Kotoni is a Bronco to the bone and so is Selwyn,” Walters said.

“That’s the target, to keep both. That’s what I want to do as the coach. It is going to be difficult, but rugby league is difficult. We’ve got to find a way.”

The Broncos will be without winger Corey Oates for Friday night’s away clash with South Sydney.

The veteran succumbed to  a knee injury and will be replaced in the starting side by Josiah Karapani, who can play both wing and centre.

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