Broncos veteran Corey Oates has indicated he's willing to take a pay cut to stay in Brisbane, despite being dumped for Friday night's qualifying final against the Storm. Jesse Arthars has been preferred to Oates on the wing for the Broncos as they aim to snap a 14-game hoodoo against the Storm, having not beaten them in Brisbane since 2009.
Oates has played all his career at the Broncos, featuring in 201 games and scoring 118 tries since making his debut in the NRL in 2013. The 28-year-old has had an injury-plagued 2023 though, with Arthurs taking his chance with both hands after scoring eight tries in 17 matches this season, while averaging a respectable 97 running metres per game.
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In the nine games that Oates has played, however, her averages a much more impressive 185m per game but is yet to cross for a try this season. It had been reported earlier in the season that Newcastle were among the clubs interested in potentially signing Oates amid suggestions he felt "a bit disrespected" by the $450,000 per season salary the Broncos were offering.
According to the Courier Mail, however, Oates has accepted that as an "older player" he's willing to accept a pay cut and forgo a potentially bigger payday at another club, by committing his future to the Broncos. “Those are the things you have to do (cop a pay cut) when you are an older player and you have been here for long enough,” Oates said this week. “I’ve always known that, but that’s the way it happens when you want to keep a great team together."
Corey Oates keen to stay with Broncos despite 's**t' year'
Oates admits 2023 has been a "s**t year" for him but is reportedly set to scrap a clause in his contract that gives him an option for next year and begin fresh contract negotiations with Brisbane. The 28-year-old knows that it could ultimately see him pushed out of the club, but the former Maroons winger is keen to stay and his experience and attitude would surely be beneficial for coach Kevin Walters' side.
“The way it works these days, if you have to move on, you have to move on,” he added. "But I have made it pretty obvious in my career that the Broncos is always my place.I will wait and see what happens the next few weeks, but I’m just enjoying playing back-to-back footy.
"I have been injured a lot this year and I want to go out and prove that I'm still worth it and I can still put the performances in and do my job. It's not hard being off-contract. I've done it five times, so it's alright." The Broncos will field a full-strength side against the Storm for the first of a blockbuster set of fixtures to kick off the NRL finals on Friday night.
Livewire fullback Reece Walsh has been in a typically confident mood in the build-up to the Suncorp Stadium showdown, and insists the Storm's hoodoo on his side will count for nothing on Friday night. "We are not the same team that has (lost) whatever it is... the past 14, or whatever everyone is tossing up," he said.
"We know the team we are and the footy we can play. We know we are one of the best in the comp. Do I fear the Storm? I don't. We have got an awesome squad here. We have shown that throughout the year and it is just about building on what we've done and taking it to another level."
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