Reece Walsh's $6 million move that could force Broncos teammates into brutal NRL decision

Kevin Walters doesn't want to lose Selwyn Cobbo or Kotoni Staggs to rival NRL teams.

Kevin Walters has admitted Selwyn Cobbo and Kotoni Staggs will probably have to take pay cuts in order to remain at the Brisbane Broncos, with Reece Walsh on the cusp of signing the biggest deal in club history. Cobbo and Staggs are both free agents as of November 1, while Walsh is expected to sign a new deal worth a reported $6 million.

Gun centres Cobbo and Staggs are both central to the Broncos' future plans to challenge regularly for NRL titles, but they might be forced to settle for less money than they can get on the open market. On Wednesday, Walters said he had no intention of standing by and watching either of the duo move to another club. But he was well aware of the reality of the situation.

Reece Walsh, Selwyn Cobbo and Kotoni Staggs in action for the Broncos.
Reece Walsh's new deal might forced Selwyn Cobbo and Kotoni Staggs to take pay cuts. Image: Getty

"I'd expect to hang on to both," Walters said. "We have got to find a way to make it happen. They are two quality players who have both been through the (Broncos) academy. They are both going to demand a lot of money, but what we need to do is find a compromise with both those players where they are staying here and playing in a great side and a great club, and taking a little bit less money possibly, but staying here and being successful."


Walters won five titles with the Broncos as a player and was part of an era of dominance for the club in the 90s. Central to the success was players taking pay cuts to remain at the club, and Walters said Cobbo and Staggs might be prepared to do the same.

"I believe so, if you have got the right environment for them. Kotoni is a Bronco to the bone and so is Selwyn," Walters said. "That's the target, to keep both. That's what I want to do as the coach. It is going to be difficult, but rugby league is difficult. We've got to find a way."

Reece Walsh, Selwyn Cobbo and Kotoni Staggs.
Reece Walsh, Selwyn Cobbo and Kotoni Staggs in action for the Brisbane Broncos. Image: Getty

The situation surrounding Walsh's contract extension makes it tricky for the Broncos to offer much money to other players. Payne Haas, Patrick Carrigan and Ezra Mam have all signed big-money extensions in recent times, and with Walsh commanding $6 million there's not much else to go around.

Discussing the situation last month, Walsh said he was "one hundred per cent" going to re-sign. "The Broncos are a massive part of me being here (in Origin) and I love the club," he said. "I want to be here for a long time and all that (contract) stuff will get sorted. I love the club and I love the people involved at the club and what they stand for. They have amazing values ... and we've got some decent (players) too and that plays a factor."

But Walsh's new deal could have an unwanted domino effect on the likes of Cobbo and Staggs. "A lesser club unlike a Broncos might dangle seven figures at [Cobbo] and say we want you to be our No.1 (fullback)," Broncos great Corey Parker said last month. "(Playing fullback has) highlighted him again in the shop… I don’t see how they could keep those players (Cobbo and Staggs) for the money that someone like a Cobbo would be offered on the open market because he can play fullback."