Brisbane have devised a blueprint on how to get the best out of their strike centre Kotoni Staggs next year and it involves the return of club legend Steve Renouf to Red Hill.
The Broncos hope Renouf can mentor the Tongan international, while possibly safeguarding him against future injury with an altered approach which could make him one of the most prolific outside backs in the game.
“I’d love to work with Kotoni around his hole-running and running into space, maybe he wouldn’t get so busted,” Renouf told the AAP.
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Staggs has a reputation for loving the physical contact and although it makes for plenty of highlight reel clips when he bulldozes his way over an opponent on the way to the line, Renouf believes his all-action displays could be the cause of some of the injury problems that have plagued him recently.
“Kotoni doesn’t mind running over people and wanting contact,” he said.
“He reminds me of Justin Hodges. I pointed out to Hodgo that he’d have had fewer injuries and been more effective if he ran holes.
“Kotoni loves the contact too, but if you run thirty centimetres either side of the defender, you give yourself more space and are pushing through the line.”
In the past, Renouf has voiced his concern at turning Staggs into a five-eighth, instead favouring having him as a strike weapon in the Brisbane backline.
“I think it would be a waste moving Kotoni into the halves,” Renouf wrote last year on NRL.com.
“Keep him and Herbie Farnworth as the centre pairing but work on using them better.
“What they really need to focus on with Kotoni isn’t moving him into the halves, it’s getting him some more quality ball.
“Half the time with those guys they’re just giving them the ball and asking them to do their best.
“They do that too often. It’s not good ball and putting them into holes but just dishing it out to them, asking them to stand and deliver, show us your strength and bowl someone over.
“Kotoni can do that, but they need better service to them as well.”
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Meanwhile, Kevin Walters has given his tick of approval for Renouf to come and help Staggs, citing how the partnership between his centre and Adam Reynolds has the capacity to grow as a result of a greater understanding of hole-running.
“Pearl was one of the great exponents of the out-ball, so he knows what he is talking about and is most welcome to share his knowledge with Kotoni,” the Brisbane coach said.
“It’s part of Kotoni’s artillery but doing more of it will never go astray because Kotoni has good speed and a nice fend.
“We have Adam Reynolds who has a nice pass…so I look forward to that relationship developing next year.”