Farnworth 'tunnels' way to new NRL deal

Off-contract Brisbane centre Herbie Farnworth is set to be one of the most sought-after players in the NRL, and the England international's dedicated off-season training regimen in an 80-metre tunnel in Lancashire is just one reason why.

After starring in the World Cup on his return from a biceps injury suffered mid-season in 2022, the 23-year-old spent time with family in England before beginning his own personal off-season preparation on his official break.

The only problem was a fierce winter had left all training facilities in the Bronco centre's home village of Blacko and surrounds blanketed in snow and ice.

Blacko village green was ruled out. The athletics track he usually uses for his speed work was closed off. Burnley College's outdoor field where he conducts game-specific work was frozen over.

His England-based uncle, life-long mentor and technique trainer Brian Foley - also a former legendary Wigan recruiter and development coach - told AAP from Lancashire what he did next.

"The weather turned so bad that we had to find a linking tunnel under a motorway flyover where Herbie trained as a young kid," Foley said.

"The tunnel is 80 metres long and on a slight incline and ideal for our training, so when everything was under ice Herbie went to work.

"He worked on his footwork, speed, agility and endurance in regular sessions.

"No matter what the obstacles, he still finds ways to get better. No excuses. He just does it."

How the duo found the tunnel in sleet and snow to start with is revelatory.

"When Herbie was 12 we were driving to Wigan to train and there was a pile-up on the motorway," Foley recalled.

"Herbie said, 'Surely you can find a way through', but I had to explain to him that wasn't possible. We turned around and came off the motorway and found this tunnel.

"I said to Herbie, 'We can try this'. He said, 'Yes, we will train here'. We've gone there in the worst of winter ever since."

The Broncos want to keep Farnworth beyond this season. Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett said last month he was interested. There have been feelers out from other NRL clubs and rugby union outfits.

"Obviously there is a lot of interest but we are not going down that path just yet," Foley said.

"Herbie is totally focused on what he has to do at the Broncos."

Veteran Broncos winger Corey Oates, who forged a successful combination on the left edge with Farnworth last year, said there was better to come.

"Herbie is going to be a massive talent," Oates said.

"He has done that well the last 18 months and has been a really big improver for us. He has a lot more to offer.

"Herbie is talking a lot more and he is confident too. (The World Cup) was a great experience for him."

Oates, who has signed a one-year extension for this season himself, hopes Farnworth stays.

"You can't keep them all, but if we do it is a massive bonus," he said.