New era as Green dumps key Maroon
Queensland coach Paul Green has wasted no time putting his stamp on the Maroons after axing the high-performance chief who helped Wayne Bennett pull off an Origin miracle last year.
Sport Confidential can reveal Green has severed ties with Alex Corvo, the respected strength-and-conditioning coach who has been a trusted trainer for former Queensland coaches Kevin Walters and Bennett over the past five years.
Corvo is regarded as one of the best high-performance chiefs in the code. He worked at the Storm during the emergence of Billy Slater, Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk and provided the fitness program that turned the Warriors into a finals team in 2018.
Corvo first joined the Maroons in 2016 when Walters ascended to the post and played his part in three of five series wins, including Queensland's epic 2-1 boilover of the Blues under Bennett last November.
But Green has opted for a new voice, opting for the highly-regarded Andrew Croll, who was his strength-and-conditioning coach when the Cowboys broke through for the first premiership in 2015.
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Croll returned to the Broncos two years ago before being elevated to the club's head of performance this season after Walters stepped into the head-coaching role at Red Hill in November.
Green contacted Corvo two weeks ago to advise him of the change. Interestingly, Corvo is now back at the Broncos himself, working alongside Croll as athletic performance coach of Brisbane's elite development pathway squads.
Green has brought a fresh feel to Camp Maroon, also adding Queensland legend Johnathan Thurston as his assistant as he looks to bring down the Blues in his maiden year as Origin coach.
FANS BUCK THE BRONCOS
The Broncos have rubbished claims their fans have abandoned them on the back of last year's wooden spoon season.
The usual sea of maroon and yellow jerseys isn't expected to be seen at Cbus Super Stadium in Friday night's derby against the Gold Coast Titans.
The Titans have had record low interest from Broncos members and fans wanting tickets for the game.
In contrast, Titans registered fans have been buying tickets at a record high, sensing their club is on the rise after finishing ninth last year.
The lack of interest from Broncos fans could be attributed to daylight savings meaning the game kicks off at 7pm instead of 8pm, making the Friday evening commute to the Gold Coast tougher.
But the Broncos' Round 1 crowd of 28,313 was nothing to write home about for an NRL season-opener on a Friday night at Suncorp Stadium.
A Broncos official told Sport Confidential the Round 1 crowd was around 3000 better than the average crowd drawn for Parramatta games over the past three years.
The Broncos rolled over their 2020 members into this year, ensuring they had around 26,000 members to build on.
If the club shows some improvement in their performances they can expect crowds to increase.
LODGE COULD TRADE BLOWS WITH TAUMALOLO
Negotiations are underway for Cowboys hulk Jason Taumalolo to take on Broncos rival Matt Lodge in an NRL heavyweight blockbuster.
Sport Confidential can reveal promoters are lining up Lodge to trade blows with Taumalolo in the second instalment of the NRL All Stars fight night, which is scheduled for October or November this year.
The inaugural event in Townsville in February was a smash hit and organisers believe a clash between the 115kg Taumalolo and 118kg Lodge would ignite front-row fireworks.
Lodge has been doing some sparring for the past 18 months at a Brisbane gym and it appears only a matter of time before he tests himself in an amateur fight.
Lodge's Broncos teammate Payne Haas is also keen to jump in the ring and could be pitted against Titans rival Tino Fa'asuamaleaui after their Origin fisticuffs last November.
The manager of Haas and Taumalolo, Chris Orr of PSM, said his hulking duo would be a ferocious sight with the gloves on.
"Payne will consider fighting, so will Jason," Orr said.
"Jason wanted to fight in Townsville earlier this year but due to the timing of the event, in NRL pre-season, it made it quite difficult.
"Another fight night after the season is over would work better for Payne and Jase.
"Jase against Lodge would be enormous. I'm not sure if Jase can box, but I wouldn't want to jump in the ring with him."
'BEAVER' STILL HAS THE MAGIC - WITH PIC PROVIDED
He turns 48 this December but Manly legend Steve 'Beaver' Menzies remains in fine shape.
The former NSW and Test star played a starring role for the Sydney Scorpions in their 5-4 defeat of Brisbane City Cobras to win the National Touch League championships in Coffs Harbour last Sunday.
Playing in the over-45s division, the 349-game NRL great put his smarts to good use and impressed onlookers with his footwork, fitness and agility to help the Scorpions to title glory.
Menzies' Brisbane City rivals also featured Brisbane Broncos media-communications chief Steele Tallon, an Australian over-45s rep whose hat-trick in a pool game propelled the Cobras to the decider.
GOWER APPEALS FOR DALLY M MEDAL
Penrith legend Craig Gower has broken his silence to urge NRL bosses to belatedly award him the Dally M Medal.
ARL Commission boss Peter V'landys has ordered an investigation into Gower potentially being awarded the prestigious gong after he was cruelly denied almost 20 years.
Gower was superb in Penrith's charge to the 2003 premiership and was a shoo-in for the Dally M, only for the award to be put on ice that year due to an industrial dispute with the Rugby League Players Association.
Now 42, Gower said he holds no grudges towards the game, but is hopeful of being formally recognised for dominating the NRL in 2003.
"I would love to get the Dally M Medal awarded to me," he said.
"From what Peter V'landys said to me, it was under investigation, I don't know how it will end but I would really appreciate the award, especially as I've gotten older.
"You don't play for individual accolades, you play to win as a team and when you have a winning year like we did, winning a medal tops it off.
"It would be great to add to the resume.
"I was actually at the races last year and it just so happened I bumped into Andrew Abdo (NRL CEO) and Peter V'landys in a private box on the day.
"I had a quick chat to Pete and I went to congratulate him for what he has done for rugby league.
"He has been amazing for the game and Pete told me he was looking at the Dally M Medal issue. I didn't approach him about that, but Pete seemed like a good guy and hopefully they rule in favour of me.
"If it falls on deaf ears, then no dramas, but it would be nice to have the award."
DON NOT DONE
Titans cult hero Anthony Don has not ruled out playing on in 2022.
Don will make his 144th NRL appearance in Friday night's derby against the Broncos at Cbus Super Stadium.
He turns 34 in September and is off-contract this season, with many believing Don was set to hang up the boots.
But the try-scoring winger has enjoyed playing under Titans coach Justin Holbrook so much he is considering going around again next year.
"If I'm playing a good standard and the body feels good I'd like to keep going," Don said.
Don was dropped to the Intrust Super Cup by former coach Garth Brennan, but he has found a new lease on life under Holbrook.
Broncos prop Payne Haas is working up an appetite during his time in NRL suspension. The NSW Origin hulk was spotted at leading Robina eatery Cafe Campanile during the week ripping into a big breakfast as he prepares for his return against Melbourne in round four at AAMI Park.
BRISBANE JETS REVEAL TRUE COLOURS
The NRL expansion race is hotting up with the Brisbane Jets working on a colour scheme as they look to win the tender process to become the code's fourth team in Queensland.
Sport Confidential can reveal the Jets will wear jerseys with navy and bottle green if they are added to the NRL as Brisbane's second team to rival the Broncos in 2023.
The Jets are considering a predominantly navy blue strip to be complemented by a shade of green, a tribute to the Ipswich region's links with the military, which includes an RAAF base at Amberley.
The Brisbane consortium have also moved to ease tensions with the Sydney-based Newtown Jets, insisting they are not out to hijack their famous brand.
Newtown officials last month expressed fears the Brisbane-based Jets would use their traditional blue-and-white colours but the parties have since held promising talks.
"I have great respect for the history of Newtown and I've reached out to the Jets people in Sydney to work on a relationship," Brisbane Jets bid chief Nick Livermore said.
"From the outset we've said the last thing we want to do is try to damage any existing brands in the game.
"Just because Newtown aren't playing in the NRL, it doesn't mean their brand shouldn't be respected.
"There is a tremendous opportunity for us to work together.
"If Newtown have no plans to return to the NRL, then perhaps we can have an alliance of some sort so when there is a heritage round in the NRL, we play in the Newtown strip for an away game in Sydney.
"It would be great to have a Jets supporter base in Sydney with 8972 members (a tribute to Newtown's last-ever premiership crowd).
"If there is a way we can keep the flame flickering for the Newtown Jets in the NRL, then we are more than open to having some discussions with them."
NRL'S UNLUCKIEST PLAYER
He is considered to be a SuperCoach gun in waiting, but Titans back Greg Marzhew must be one of the unluckiest players in the game.
Marzhew would have been in the mix to make his long-awaited NRL debut on Friday night after the Titans lost centre Brian Kelly (broken hand).
However Marzhew picked up a rare triceps injury in an Intrust Super Cup trial last week and was not available.
At 23, Marzhew has been toiling away for years trying to get a crack at the NRL but he will have to wait a little longer.
THE AXE'S BIG DAY
Trevor Gillmeister will be clocking up the kilometres this weekend.
As an ex-Broncos premiership winner and Titans assistant coach, "The Axe" will brave the M1 traffic for tonight's derby for Seven News.
It is the shortest price the Titans have ever been to beat the Broncos in a derby, Gold Coast sitting around $1.43 with TAB to topple the Broncos ($2.85).
Gillmeister will then tee off for a round of golf at Redcliffe on Saturday morning, headline TAB's Big Day of Play at Carina Leagues club around lunch time, before heading to Club Pine Rivers that afternoon and guest speaking at Eagle Junction state school's sportsman's dinner that night.
TAB launched the Big Day of Play after recognising tomorrow as one of the busiest days on the sporting calendar for their venues with the Golden Slipper and four other Group One races, Super Saturday in the NRL, the opening round of the AFL plus NBA and A-League fixtures.
They're putting on a range of promotions, competitions and exclusive offers through Venue Mode to go with the sporting feast at over 4,000 TAB's across the country.
Gilly's tip is to book a table.
NOT HANGING THE BOOTS UP YET
Broncos skipper Alex Glenn has revealed he may not be headed for retirement just yet.
The 32-year-old Glenn is off-contract at season's end and is widely expected to pull the pin in the coming months, but the former Kiwi Test star says he has not ruled out playing on.
Glenn plays his 269th first-grade game in Friday night's derby against the Titans and would surge past the 300-match mark if he extended his career into 2022.
But the Broncos captain is adamant he won't play on for the sake of it.
"I'm not going to be selfish," he said.
"I don't want to be that person. I need a good start to the year because of the injuries I had last year. If I am consistent every week, then I will probably play on again. But I don't want to make promises I can't keep.
"Mentally I believe I can play for another two years but physically it's how I handle things.
"I will play the first half of the season and then see whether I decide to play on."
Originally published as Sports Confidential: New era for QLD as Green dumps key Maroon