Brisbane legend Gorden Tallis has doubled down on his criticism of veteran Broncos halfback Adam Reynolds, in the wake of last season's heartbreaking NRL grand final defeat to Penrith. Reynolds copped plenty of flak for his part in the gut-wrenching 26-24 defeat after gifting the Panthers eight points through two unsuccessful short drop-out attempts.
Penrith famously overturned a 24-8 deficit to snatch their third straight premiership in one of the great NRL grand final comebacks, with Tallis particularly critical of Reynolds in the aftermath of the Brisbane defeat. Speaking to foxsports.com.au ahead of the new season, the Broncos legend says he stands by the criticism and has warned the club about rushing into offering the halfback a contract extension for 2025.
“The fact is they bought Reynolds to win them a title so that’s what you’re judged on," Tallis said. “There would be moments of that game where he would think ‘God I would like to have that moment again’. If Nathan Cleary’s first half was his second half and Brisbane won, he’d have the same demons. Cleary scored the winner in the 77th minute so if that game ends three minutes earlier, do we carve up Nathan Cleary? We do. Because every time they win it’s ‘how good is Adam Reynolds’ or ‘how good is Nathan Cleary’. They get all the praise, so they’ve got to take the good with the bad."
Tallis' swipe comes with Reynolds in the process of negotiating a one-year extension that would tie him to the Broncos until the end of the 2025 season. The 33-year-old revealed this week that the club and his management is close to finalising the new deal and "pretty certain it’ll be done before Round one". The Broncos travel to Las Vegas to take on the Roosters in the second match of the NRL's season-opening double-header in the United States on March 3 (March 4 AEDT).
Reynolds' contract situation comes amid numerous reports star halves partner Ezra Mam has agreed a four or five-year extension with the club, worth at least $3 million. News Corp says the Broncos are in the final stages of rubber-stamping the deal for Mam, before turning their attentions to securing the future of Reece Walsh.
Broncos keen to tie down Reece Walsh long-term
Walsh only made $450,000 last season but is also looking at a monster upgrade that will likely see him earn over $1 million per year on his next deal. The 21-year-old starred for Queensland in last year's State of Origin series win and was pivotal in the Broncos' run to the NRL grand final.
The Broncos have felt the effects of a salary cap squeeze after offering prop Payne Haas the richest deal in the club's history in 2023 and also re-signing representative forward, Patrick Carrigan. The club has offloaded the likes of Kurt Capewell, Thomas Flegler, Herbie Farnworth and Keenan Palasia to free up salary cap space. Tying down Walsh to a long-term deal at Red Hill is seen as the final piece of the puzzle at the Broncos.
Tallis says while Farnworth and Fleger are especially big losses for the Broncos, he's backed Maroons star Selwyn Cobbo to step up into Farnworth's role in the centres in 2024. Tallis says Cobbo reminds him of Rabbitohs great Greg Inglis and reckons he has all the attributes to make a successful transition from the wing. “It’s going to be new for him and he’ll make some mistakes but there’s no doubt he’ll end up slotting into that position well, without a doubt," Tallis added.
The Broncos premiership great has also tipped young middle forward Xavier Willison as his candidate to replace Flegler at prop. Tallis says he was impressed by what he saw of Willison against the Bulldogs last year and believes the 21-year-old can "wreak a bit of havoc" in the NRL in 2024, provided he puts in the work in pre-season.
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