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Corey Oates in ugly Broncos situation amid uncertainty surrounding his NRL future

The veteran winger has fallen down the Broncos pecking order.

Corey Oates' Broncos career is becoming more uncertain by the day as the veteran winger has fallen down Kevin Walters' pecking order. The 29-year-old has scored 118 tries in 201 games but only managed nine appearances last year. In the nine times he did play in 2023, Oates was a run-metre machine, averaging a career-best 184 metres per game.

Jesse Arthars, Selwyn Cobbo and young gun Deine Mariner are currently preferred to Oates, who has suddenly become on the outer at the NRL club despite starring for Queensland in their State of Origin series win less than two years ago. As tensions continue to simmer at the Broncos, Oates has decided against playing for Brisbane's feeder clubs after once again being left out of the team to face South Sydney on Thursday night.

Pictured Corey Oates
Corey Oates’ Broncos career is at a crossroads after repeatedly left out of the Brisbane side, with Kevin Walters preferring Jesse Arthars and young gun Deine Mariner. Image: Getty

Oates has been allocated to the Burleigh Bears for the 2024 season and according to The Courier Mail, the winger is reportedly filthy that he is being forced to travel 110km from his house in Brisbane for their games. The veteran has also reportedly sat down and had a chat with Walters about the current situation.

"Corey didn’t play on the weekend (for Burleigh) and I don’t think he will play this weekend either," Walters said. "We are just keeping him fresh. I just feel at the moment I want to go with our other two wingers in Deine and Jesse (Arthars).

"It’s hard for Corey, he’s not playing at the moment, but that’s not to say he won’t be back for us at some stage this season." When asked if Oates will feature for the Bears Walters said: “He will get his opportunities, but he just has to be patient."

Oates' current contract runs until the end of 2024 and it remains to be seen whether he will earn an extension to remain at the Red Hill club. He is the only player left from the Broncos' 2015 grand final team and is ranked fourth on Brisbane’s all-time try scorers list.

Dean Ritchie believes Corey Oates has no claim on the Broncos jersey

Dean Ritchie says the winger feels hard done by but believes he doesn't have a claim on the jersey. "He (Oates) had a broken jaw and a few other injuries. He came back and got dropped for the finals. He missed both finals and missed the grand final. Selwyn Cobbo and Jesse Arthars were the wingers," Ritchie said on NRL 360. "I'm just curious to know what makes Corey Oates think that he should walk straight back into that side?"

While James Hooper believes the reason that Oates is on the outer is because the Brisbane coach views speed as the most important asset. "Kevvie has gone on the record several times and said I’ve told Corey what the issue is and it’s speed," Hooper said. "Arthars and Mariner are lighting quick. Cobbo has switched to the centres. Where are you going to fit Oates in the starting side?"

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 25: Corey Oates of the Broncos has this try disallowed due to a forward pass during the round 17 NRL match between Brisbane Broncos and Gold Coast Titans at Suncorp Stadium on June 25, 2023 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
Corey Oates is the only player left from the Broncos’ 2015 grand final team and is ranked fourth on Brisbane’s all-time try scorers list. (Bradley Kanaris via Getty Images)

Paul Kent says Corey Oates doesn't fit into a Kevin Walters team

Paul Kent believes Oates won't get back into the Broncos team unless there are injuries, noting that the Broncos' success last year came from their rapid attack. "The issue is the Broncos are a dangerous team. They are a point-scoring team primarily. It is attack over defence and it is built around the speed," he said on NRL 360.

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"Corey Oates doesn’t have the speed. That’s what the other guys have got. The good sides in the competition right now have got speed. You can’t coach speed. It is born in players and you can’t find it if it is not there. The Broncos have got it and they use it to their advantage. Last week you look at some of the sides and the quicker teams on the paddock were the ones that won the game.

"Obviously it didn’t happen for the Broncos, but you have got to sit there and if you have got speed there you don’t leave it out when that is such a big part of your game plan."

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