Broncos young gun just can’t catch a break

Broncos centre Kotoni Staggs is “unlikely” to play again this NRL season after picking up an MCL injury in Friday’s win over the Cowboys.

The 22-year-old went in for scans on Saturday, which confirmed he had suffered a high-grade MCL injury in the same knee that he injured last season.

“We expect it to be a straightforward recovery over coming weeks and Kotoni is keen to get into his rehab as soon as he can,” Broncos head of performance Dave Ballard said in a statement released Saturday.

The outlook isn’t as bleak for Staggs’ Broncos teammate Jake Turpin, who is set to miss “a few weeks” with an ankle sprain.

The Brisbane hooker is still a chance to feature again in the side’s 2021 campaign.

After enjoying a strong season in 2020, Staggs has managed only four games for Brisbane this year.

While recovering from an ACL injury suffered late last season, Staggs signed a four-year deal to remain at the Broncos until at least the end of 2025.

He knocked back interest from rival clubs to ink a new deal with Brisbane worth a reported $700,000 per season.

Staggs’ hotly anticipated comeback from injury was delayed by a suspension for “disreputable conduct” relating to an incident at a public venue in April.

He finally returned to the fray in round 16, more than nine months after he had last played in the top flight.

The Broncos have won two of the four games Staggs (R) has played this season. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images

Despite his limited appearances in season 2021, Staggs has earned the admiration of new Broncos coach Kevin Walters, who praised the star centre after Friday’s win over the Cowboys.

“He’s been very good for us. He just brings a lot of confidence to not only the players but also the coaching staff as well. He’s just a good player,” Walters told reporters on Friday night.

There has been speculation Staggs could line up in the halves alongside marquee recruit Adam Reynolds next season.

Earlier this year, Staggs said he would likely need a full pre-season at five-eighth in order to switch into the role but given the strong form of recently re-signed playmaker Tyson Gamble, a shift to the halves is no certainty for the gun centre.

The Broncos put in their best performance of the season on Friday night as they outmuscled intrastate rivals North Queensland to the tune of 37-18.

The win has all but ensured that Brisbane will not finish as wooden spooners for a second-year running; the cellar-dwelling Bulldogs would have to win at least half of their remaining games to avoid that most undesirable piece of silverware.

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