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Ben Ikin vows that the Broncos will "get better" at keeping young stars


Newly appointed Brisbane Broncos head of football Ben Ikin says the club “wants to get better” at keeping its young talent.

After losing teenage stars Reece Walsh and Sam Walker to NRL rivals, Ikin says systems are being built to ensure the club doesn’t see potential first-graders leave in the future.

While he wasn’t employed at the club when Walsh and Walker left, Ikin explained what he knows of why the pair opted to move to rivals.

“I don’t know if it was unbelievable money (from the Warriors) in a sense for Reece Walsh,” Ikin said on SEN’s Pat and Heals.

“He was just in a hurry to play first-grade, and I think the club perhaps felt like it was being measured, and he took the decision to go.

“I think the week after he left, he was playing first-grade with the Warriors, and it turns out he was doing a pretty good job.

“Sam Walker’s been another example where they had an idea of what they wanted to pay Sam and how long they thought he’d take to develop.

“The Roosters had a different idea, and what the Roosters offered Sam was more appealing than the Broncos’ (offer).

“There’s this whole assessment process that you go through when you look at the player, you make a value judgement on how good they are, how quickly they’re going to get where they need to be, and what you’re going to pay to get them there.

“If what you offer isn’t as attractive as the next club then you can sometimes get burned.”

Ikin believes the club’s main issue has been their evaluation of talent, instead of forming it with the Broncos having a strong track record of producing NRL stars.

“The one thing the Broncos do well is develop this great young talent,” Ikin explained.

“They’ve got this academy system over that’s run by Simon Scanlan who’s now been elevated to be in charge of our NRL list.

“It just produces great young players, year after year.

“We’ve just got to make sure with our roster management process that those guys are being identified earlier and being accommodated on the NRL list.

“(We need to get them) appropriate coaching so we don’t have a Sam Walker or a Reece Walsh leave.

“We want to get better at that, and we will.”

Brisbane Broncos

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