Broncos young gun Karl Oloapu has become involved in a bitter contract standoff, going public with his displeasure over ‘broken promises’ from the club.
The teenage sensation, who captained the Australian Schoolboys and was Player of the Tournament in the recent U18s National Championships, signed on with Brisbane until the end of 2025 after coming through their junior ranks.
Oloapu had high hopes of playing five-eighth for the Broncos in the coming years, but on Tuesday told WWOS that he was unhappy with his current situation and has not been attending pre-season training.
“My dream for as long as I can remember has been to play NRL and I have shed a lot of tears over how things have ended up,” he said.
MORE: Seibold announced as new Sea Eagles coach
“I was in between managers when I signed with the Broncos and only went in to see them with my older brother Joe for advice. They gave me a document that was more than 60 pages long and told (me) to sign it.
“I tried to read it and understand it all in 30 minutes but without a manager or legal advice it was very hard.
“The club told me I would be in the top 30 full-time players next year and that I would be playing at my preferred position of five-eighth and that I would meet Kevin Walters.
“Since then I have been told I am not part of the full-time squad and they want me to play at lock or hooker and change the shape of my body.
“I’ve never met Kevin and barely heard from the club. When my new manager asked to see their letter of offer to me, the club told him they had lost it… how does that happen?”
Oloapu has a bright future in the game, but his agitation prior to even beginning his three-year deal at Red Hill is not a good sign of things to come.
Brisbane have since responded to the allegations from Oloapu, with head of recruitment Simon Scanlan explaining the club underwent due process and have been cleared by the NRL and RLPA.
“The facts are that Karl is a quality young man who has been in the Broncos Academy system since he was 13 years old and in January this year he willingly committed to a contract with our club for three years from 2023-2025,” he said.
“Prior to signing that contract, we worked from late November 2021 with Karl, his family and his then-manager to reach an agreement on a contract extension.
“The day before the final contract was signed in late January this year, Karl and his family chose to part ways with that manager. It was not until June this year – shortly after Karl and his family engaged a new player manager – that we received a request for a substantial upgrade to his three-year contract which had not even begun.
“We denied that request but committed to reviewing it during the 2024 season. Subsequently, a player release was requested. Both the NRL & RLPA have reviewed the situation at the request of the player agent and no wrongdoing by the club was found.
“In recent months we have done our utmost to work with his new agent to reach a way forward but multiple attempts to meet with Karl have been rejected.
“It is disappointing to learn that Karl feels the way he does, but the door is most certainly open at the Broncos for him to re-join training with our NRL Squad.
“Karl would be welcomed with open arms and would be fully supported by all our staff.”