The Broncos have been accused of playing mind games with Tom Dearden and “kicking him from pillar to post” in the wake of the deviation of Queensland’s arch-rival Brisbane Playmaker.
As North Queensland prepares to list club champion, Jonathan Thorson, as a mentor to the Rocks, his manager Sam Ayoub has broken the silence over the deal that led to Dearden’s demise at Red Hill.
Dearden will join Cowboys on a three-year deal worth $1.1 million from next season, but the Toowoomba-born playmaker ended his career as the one-club champion in the Broncos if he so wished.
Just last week, Broncos coach Kevin Walter insisted that Dearden was part of his future and not about losing him, but Ayoub claimed the 20-year-old had never been given a chance to show his loyalty.
Ayoub said that “Tom would have stayed in the Broncos all his life but they did nothing but kick him from pillar to post.”
“I read somewhere that the Broncos didn’t want to go to a bid battle with the Cowboys for Tom’s services.
“If you don’t make an offer to a player, you can’t stay in the bidding war – and the Broncos never put him an offer.
“I spoke with Pete Nolan (head of Broncos football operations) and he said he was waiting for the ‘Kevvie’ (Walters) to decide what he wants to do.
“We gave Brisbane every chance to hold him. Tom is a loyal child of the country’s values, but in the end, the Cowboys were determined to get him.
Since he joined the Broncos as a 15-year-old, the Brisbane Scouts have rated Dearden one of the most talented playmakers in their development system, but the alarm bells have started ringing internally.
The former Australian schoolboy has won four of his 22 NRL games with a success rate of 18 percent.
As the start of the Brisbane halfback, Dearden has not won a match in almost two years, losing 15 matches in a row, after leading the Broncos to an 8-2 loss to the Warriors on May 25, 2019.
While the Walters provided seemingly mixed messages about where the halfback stood in the Broncos, Job said the Cowboys were determined to get their man after the initial meeting in February.