live Infotainment Factory: Johns: How much Broncos young gun is worth

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Friday, 30 August 2019

Johns: How much Broncos young gun is worth


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Andrew Johns recently unveiled a list of seven players he would be prepared to pay $1 million-a-season.

Just three of them - Cameron Smith, Jason Taumalolo and Jake Trbojevic - were forwards but come November 1 there will likely be several clubs prepared to put that value on a teenager with less than 40 NRL games under his belt.

According to The Courier-Mail the Eels are at the front of the queue of clubs hoping to poach 19-year-old Broncos gun David Fifita when he comes off contract and will come with an offer of as much as $4 million for a four-year deal.

Broncos v Eels preview: Round 24

It's an incredible sum of money to offer a teenager and would smash the previous record for a player yet to turn 20, with Kalyn Ponga getting a $600,000-a-season deal from the Knights when he was Fifita's age.

Fifita has been described by one senior talent scout at the best rugby league junior ever and there's been plenty of evidence in his 2019 campaign to back that statement.

However, even a talent as rare as Fifita's isn't worth paying seven figures for at his tender age, according to Johns, who currently values the highly-rated back-rower at around the $600,000-a-season mark.

"There's that argument that he's worth whatever a team is prepared to pay him but if I was the CEO (of a club) I would be paying David Fifita at most, over the next couple of years, about $600,000," Johns told Wide World of Sports' Immortal Behaviour.

"But he'll get more from clubs because they're buying on potential and potentially he could be a once-in-a-generation back-rower which there's all signs he will."

Paying over the odds for potential is a necessary evil in the NRL but almost every club has at least one cautionary tale.

If the Titans could rewind two years would they have locked Ash Taylor away on a million dollar-a-year deal? Almost certainly not.

Likewise, the Broncos have probably never got value for money out of Anthony Milford, albeit that he was arguably the best player on the field in the club's losing grand final in 2015.

Johns is one of the many critics who sees the deal the Dragons did to sign then Broncos star Ben Hunt as a dud, with the halfback on $1.2 million-a-season despite rarely managing to string together 80 minutes of elite level halfback play.

Which is what makes the Fifita case so fascinating. The Broncos are determined to keep him and the same Courier-Mail story that reported the Eels' stunning interest in the teenager also claimed the Broncos were still favoured to keep him.

This despite huge chunks of the salary cap going to ageing skipper Darius Boyd, Milford and Jack Bird as well as upgraded deals for Fifita's fellow forwards Payne Haas and Matt Lodge.

However, should the Eels be joined in the queue with multimillion dollar offers that entice Fifita to leave he will likely get paid up to $400,000-a-season more than he's worth according to Johns' valuation.

Freddy & Joey's Tips: Round 24

"One or two clubs will pay higher than that but if I was the CEO I think next year $5-600,000 for him," Johns said.

And that's likely what it will take to pry him out of Brisbane with his manager indicating as much as he kicked off the bidding war.

"I've told clubs if you are going to have a crack at Dave, you will have to have a big crack," he said.

"They will have to pay a fair bit more to lure Dave away from Brisbane. Clubs will have to go a lot harder. There's no use being around the same figure as the Broncos.

"The Broncos are a good club and Dave is a very level-headed kid. He still lives at home with his family and his family were a big part of the deal last time.

"It's my job to create and present opportunities for him and at the end of the day it will be Dave's decision what he wants to do."

Andrew Johns recently unveiled a list of seven players he would be prepared to pay $1 million-a-season.

Just three of them - Cameron Smith, Jason Taumalolo and Jake Trbojevic - were forwards but come November 1 there will likely be several clubs prepared to put that value on a teenager with less than 40 NRL games under his belt.

According to The Courier-Mail the Eels are at the front of the queue of clubs hoping to poach 19-year-old Broncos gun David Fifita when he comes off contract and will come with an offer of as much as $4 million for a four-year deal.

Broncos v Eels preview: Round 24

It's an incredible sum of money to offer a teenager and would smash the previous record for a player yet to turn 20, with Kalyn Ponga getting a $600,000-a-season deal from the Knights when he was Fifita's age.

Fifita has been described by one senior talent scout at the best rugby league junior ever and there's been plenty of evidence in his 2019 campaign to back that statement.

However, even a talent as rare as Fifita's isn't worth paying seven figures for at his tender age, according to Johns, who currently values the highly-rated back-rower at around the $600,000-a-season mark.

"There's that argument that he's worth whatever a team is prepared to pay him but if I was the CEO (of a club) I would be paying David Fifita at most, over the next couple of years, about $600,000," Johns told Wide World of Sports' Immortal Behaviour.

"But he'll get more from clubs because they're buying on potential and potentially he could be a once-in-a-generation back-rower which there's all signs he will."

Paying over the odds for potential is a necessary evil in the NRL but almost every club has at least one cautionary tale.

If the Titans could rewind two years would they have locked Ash Taylor away on a million dollar-a-year deal? Almost certainly not.

Likewise, the Broncos have probably never got value for money out of Anthony Milford, albeit that he was arguably the best player on the field in the club's losing grand final in 2015.

Johns is one of the many critics who sees the deal the Dragons did to sign then Broncos star Ben Hunt as a dud, with the halfback on $1.2 million-a-season despite rarely managing to string together 80 minutes of elite level halfback play.

Which is what makes the Fifita case so fascinating. The Broncos are determined to keep him and the same Courier-Mail story that reported the Eels' stunning interest in the teenager also claimed the Broncos were still favoured to keep him.

This despite huge chunks of the salary cap going to ageing skipper Darius Boyd, Milford and Jack Bird as well as upgraded deals for Fifita's fellow forwards Payne Haas and Matt Lodge.

However, should the Eels be joined in the queue with multimillion dollar offers that entice Fifita to leave he will likely get paid up to $400,000-a-season more than he's worth according to Johns' valuation.

Freddy & Joey's Tips: Round 24

"One or two clubs will pay higher than that but if I was the CEO I think next year $5-600,000 for him," Johns said.

And that's likely what it will take to pry him out of Brisbane with his manager indicating as much as he kicked off the bidding war.

"I've told clubs if you are going to have a crack at Dave, you will have to have a big crack," he said.

"They will have to pay a fair bit more to lure Dave away from Brisbane. Clubs will have to go a lot harder. There's no use being around the same figure as the Broncos.

"The Broncos are a good club and Dave is a very level-headed kid. He still lives at home with his family and his family were a big part of the deal last time.

"It's my job to create and present opportunities for him and at the end of the day it will be Dave's decision what he wants to do."

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