Ben Ikin steps down from key Broncos role amid dramas with Kevin Walters

The Brisbane Broncos great has made a big decision amid an uncertain future at the club.

Kevin Walters and Ben Ikin, pictured here at the Brisbane Broncos.
Kevin Walters and Ben Ikin haven't seen eye-to-eye during their time together at the Broncos. Image: Getty

Ben Ikin has reportedly stepped down from his role on the Brisbane Broncos recruitment and retention committee in a move that has surprised NRL fans and pundits. The club great recently had his job title change from head of football to head of football operations following the departure of Steve Walters.

Rumours have been rife that Ikin could be leaving the club, but he recently rejected suggestions he should be the new CEO of Queensland Rugby League. On Thursday, the saga took a new turn with News Corp reporting that Ikin has quit his position on the panel that looks after retention and recruitment at the Broncos.

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Brisbane recently lost youngsters Herbie Farnworth and Thomas Flegler, who both signed with the Broncos' new Queensland rivals the Dolphins - coached by Ikin's father-in-law Wayne Bennett. However they did get a huge boost this week with Patrick Carrigan re-signing.

The 46-year-old Ikin, who played 150 first grade games and 17 State of Origin matches for Queensland, reportedly informed Broncos CEO Dave Donaghy of his decision to stand down from the role before the 2023 season. The other members of the panel are Donaghy, coach Kevin Walters, salary-cap manager Louise Lanigan, academy chief Simon Scanlan and board member Darren Lockyer. In his role as head of football operations, Ikin reports to Walters, who in turn reports to Donaghy.

Penrith Panthers great and former Queensland Origin player Scott Sattler told News Corp he was "totally surprised" to hear the news about Ikin. “Especially someone who has played Origin and Test football and has won at the highest levels of the competition," Sattler said.

“Ben might be executing some things quietly, because he’s not a guy who craves attention. He is happy to slide along in the shadows and get the job done. “The great thing about Ben is he is selfless and would no doubt put the Broncos first to ensure ‘Kevvie’ (Walters) gets all the support he needs.

“But the head of football has to be involved in the club’s roster and succession planning. As the head of football, he should have input into recruitment and an understanding of the club’s salary cap position. There’s a lot of moving pieces and Ben should have a direct say in who the club signs and whether they fit the Broncos’ standards."

Ben Ikin, pictured here watching on during a pre-season game between the Broncos and Cowboys.
Ben Ikin watches on during a pre-season game between the Broncos and Cowboys. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Ben Ikin and Kevin Walters have clashed before

Ikin and Walters haven't exactly seen eye-to-eye in the 18 months in which they've been working together at the Broncos. Walters - also a club legend - admitted last year that there had been times in which they didn't agree on certain things.

“Ben is new to the club, he came in at the back end of last year and we are working well together," Walters said. “Can things be better with him? Yes, everything in the club can be better. I need to be better myself and Ben needs to be better.

“I don’t have a major issue with him. I’m very clear on what needs to happen and I’m very clear on wanting to take the club forward.

“The NRL head coach is the hub of a football department. In my 20 years of working at successful football clubs like the Broncos, Storm and even Canberra when I won a premiership there, the coach, CEO and chairman carry the load of the club.”

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