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Broncos legend revives youthful Mr Fix-It days

When Brisbane Broncos veteran Corey Oates was young, he forged a reputation as a "do anything, anywhere and any time" kind of football player in multiple positions, which is bearing fruit now.

The 29-year-old Queensland representative found a home on the wing to become the fourth highest Broncos try-scorer of all-time, with 119 in 202 games, but is now embracing the new role coach Kevin Walters has given him.

Oates, who had a knee injury earlier in the season, came off the bench in the forwards for his first NRL game of the season on Friday night to score a try and wreak havoc in the 38-12 win over the Cowboys.

It is a utility position Walters has said he wants to maintain for now as a contingency against losing an outside back during a match.

"When I first started coming through, I can't remember who said it to me, but they said, 'You're so mobile in the utility role, so it could possibly be the reason why you're on the bench a lot and always helping backing up'," Oates said.

"Then I found the wing as my home for so many years, and I guess it's now come to help me. I can play multiple positions.

"Wherever I get the opportunity to get on the field and help the team out, I've got to go out and do my job. I've played all the positions before, so it's nothing new for me."

Oates, who had an injury-riddled 2023, missed out on a starting wing spot this year to young gun Deine Mariner, but has taken it in his stride.

Corey Oates
Corey Oates drives forward after coming off the bench at Suncorp Stadium. (Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS)

He didn't play Queensland Cup for Burleigh early this season for the simple reason that he was rehabbing a knee injury, despite what had been written about him in some quarters.

"(The knee) gave me a bit of grief and I didn't give it a rest. When I didn't get picked, I kept trying to push and push and push and it did me no good in the end," Oates said.

"I had to get a couple of needles to settle it down and that's the reason I was training away from everyone for the last few weeks. But at the moment it feels the best it's felt for a long time, so I'm pretty happy.

"I've been playing for a long time. When you start getting older you get the young kids coming through. They push for your position and something's got to give eventually.

"There's always going to be change and a new wave coming through. I'm just doing my part at training."

When Oates came off the bench at Suncorp Stadium against the Cowboys he received the biggest cheer of the night. He's previously won the Broncos' fan favourite award on presentation night, so it was no surprise.

"That was crazy. It gave me massive chills. I don't know if they got it on camera, but I couldn't help it, I had this smile and it made me very happy," he said.

"The crowd and the fans is the big reason why I've always stayed at the Broncos. I love the club so much."