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NRL 2023: Brisbane Broncos season preview

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After missing out on finals footy again last season, 2023 represents an opportunity for the Brisbane Broncos to continue their rebuild.

Kevin Walters will have a talented squad at his disposal this year, headlined by the arrival of gun fullback Reece Walsh.

The Sporting News previews the Broncos’ upcoming season below, including their best 17, the key to their success and predicted finish for 2023.



1 Reece Walsh
2 Corey Oates
3 Herbie Farnworth
4 Kotoni Staggs
5 Selwyn Cobbo
6 Ezra Mam
7 Adam Reynolds
8 Payne Haas
9 Billy Walters
10 Tom Flegler
11 Kurt Capewell
12 Jordan Riki
13 Patrick Carrigan
14 Cory Paix
15 Martin Taupau
16 Keenan Palasia
17 Brendan Piakura

NOTE: Kobe Hetherington (biceps) will miss the start of the season through injury.



Logan Bayliss, Jock Madden, Ethan Quai-Ward, Tyson Smoothy, Martin Taupau, Reece Walsh 


Tyson Gamble, Zac Hosking, Jamayne Isaako, Ryan James, Rhys Kennedy, Brenko Lee, Te Maire Martin, David Mead, Tesi Niu, Jake Turpin


Whilst there are a few notable names in the Broncos’ departure list following last season, the team still has very solid depth heading into 2023.

They have maintained their impressive depth in the forwards department, with the likes of Pat Carrigan and Payne Haas leading the line. Importantly, their forward pack features plenty of versatility, meaning front row and edge positions can be covered. Kobe Hetherington does come into the season with a bicep injury, but there are no major concerns when it comes to filling his spot.

There is also promising depth at fullback, with Reece Walsh set to be the first choice No. 1. Selwyn Cobbo and potentially Herbie Farnworth will likely provide competition.

In the halves, the experience of Adam Reynolds will likely continue to rub off on an exciting, young five-eighth in Ezra Mam.

As for outside backs, Corey Oates, Herbie Farnworth, Kotoni Staggs and Cobbo form an electric quartet. With one spot remaining in the top 30 squad, an extra outside could be a smart addition to cover for injuries, although Jordan Pereira is a suitable replacement.

Hooker appears to be the position with the least depth for 2023. Billy Walters and Cory Paix will likely battle it out for the starting position, but neither is amongst the top No. 9s in the game. Blake Mozer, therefore, is a player to keep an eye on should he get a chance at dummy half.


WEAKNESSES: Hooker/outside backs

RATING: 7/10

Brisbane are loaded with strong forwards for this campaign which will be a major boost if injuries hit. There is still room to improve at hooker, and whilst their starting backline is strong, there are also some concerns there depth-wise.


Brisbane’s new signing Reece Walsh will have plenty of eyes on him as he looks to push the Broncos into the finals this season.

His talent – particularly his speed and skill – is clear to see. Te Maire Martin was a very solid and well-rounded fullback for them last season, but Walsh is undoubtedly an exciting replacement.

There are still plenty of question marks surrounding his defensive abilities and potential lapses, but if those weaknesses can be improved, he could be a highly influential player for Kevin Walters’ side.


As referenced in the Broncos’ depth rating, there is certainly room for improvement at the hooker position.

Therefore, fans should keep a close eye on Blake Mozer this season, with the teenage hooker signed to Brisbane’s top 30 roster this year.

Known for his toughness and craftiness at dummy half, the Maroons U19s State of Origin player has a contract through 2025 at Red Hill.

Billy Walters and Cory Paix are both solid options at No. 9, but there may be an opportunity for Mozer this season.

MORE: NRL 2023 – Every club’s rookie to watch


Rounds 8-12: Eels [A], Rabbitohs [H], Sea Eagles [A], Storm [A], Panthers [H]

This run of games speaks for itself.

All the above sides are strong top four contenders (bar the Sea Eagles), so this will be a stiff test for Kevin Walters’ side.

They will start the period with a clash against the Eels, who hold an exceptional record at home.

The Rabbitohs are up next, before a trip to what will likely be a raucous Brookvale Oval atmosphere.

Even if the Storm have lost some key personnel this season, a game in Melbourne is never easy.

Finally, the Broncos will face the reigning premiers in the Panthers, but the home-ground advantage should give them some hope.


It’s hard to predict how the Broncos will fare this season.

If Walsh integrates smoothly, their backline remains healthy and their forward pack keeps up their physicality, there is no reason why they can’t finish in the top four.

However, since the team is still a relatively young and in-progress side, seventh place seems more reasonable.

Last season we saw some flashes of brilliance, but some inexcusably sloppy performances saw them miss out on finals footy.

Top eight is absolutely achievable in 2023 and should be the standard for a team of their quality.

Execution will be the difference, though.


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