Brisbane Broncos veteran Sam Thaiday has hinted this may not be his final season in the Telstra Premiership.
The 32-year-old forward is off contract at the end of 2018 and it’s a safe bet this will be his last season, but the man himself was entertaining other ideas when he spoke to reporters at the Story Bridge Adventure Climb in Brisbane.
Thaiday was one of six Broncos to climb the bridge with several groups of people who had paid a total of $5000 at auction to join them, with all the funds going to charity Ronald McDonald House.
It was hard to gauge just how serious he was, but when asked about how he was feeling about climbing into his “last hurrah” on the rugby league arena, Thaiday left the door ajar.
“We’ll wait and see,” Thaiday said.
“You never know. Miracles happen in rugby league. Contracts are thrown around willy nilly these days.
“In the back of the mind there is [the thought it is the last season] and probably in the last couple of years I have been setting up for life after footy.
“I just want to make sure my transition is good, whether that comes this year or next year.”
When asked whether he would stay a one-club man if he did play on, Thaiday said: “that’s the plan.”
“Can you have a chat to Whitey [CEO Paul White] and rustle up a contract?
“Something that was taught to me at a young age was to be loyal and stay with one club, so I could never put on a different jersey and play against the Broncos.”
Former Test prop Greg Dowling has backed Thaiday to have a massive season and believes his fate is in his own hands.
“It is up to him,” Dowling told NRL.com.
“None of us can tell him if he can [go on], but the only way he can do it is by performance. It’s a simple criteria.
“As we get older it gets harder and harder to get out of bed after games, especially with injuries.
“The only way he can do it is by playing the house down and proving he can play another year, which I am sure he will.
“It was a kick in the guts for him getting dropped from State of Origin last year and Wayne Bennett probably said this was to be his last Broncos year and he’s not in his plans beyond this season.
“No one likes to hear that because you always want to go out on your own terms, so I have no doubt Sam will train the house down and have a big year.”
Thaiday, who started his Broncos career playing for the Toowoomba Clydesdales, will captain the Broncos against the Gold Coast Titans in their trial at Toowoomba on Saturday night.
Thaiday and Darius Boyd are the only survivors of the 2006 premiership-winning side and he said winning another title was still a driving force. Thaiday said the personnel was there to challenge, but the team needed to be “more ruthless” when the game was on the line.
“We have always been a team that was built on success, from day one,” Thaiday said.
“We’ve got the brand new [$27 million training and administration] facility now and we’ve got zero excuses, so we have to try and convert all the good things that are happening to us off the field to some good results on the field.
“I am sure over the next few years with some of the youth we’ve got coming through we are going to be a real threat in the competition.”
Dowling said Thaiday’s honesty was a mark of the man.
“Sam has always been honest and says things from the heart. What you see is what you get and he’s as honest as they come,” Dowling said.
“It is a hard competition to win … but if they are to do it then Anthony Milford has to stand up and take control. He is the one that can deliver them that premiership.”
Brisbane Broncos: 1. Jamayne Isaako, 2. Jonus Pearson, 3. James Roberts, 4. Tom Opacic, 5. Jordan Kahu, 6. Sam Scarlett, 7. Kodi Nikorima, 8. Matt Lodge, 9. Todd Murphy, 10. Sam Thaiday (c), 11. Alex Glenn, 12. Jaydn Su’A, 13. Tevita Pangai Jnr. Interchange: 14. Sam Tagataese, 15. Joe Ofahengaue, 16. Korbin Sims, 17. David Fifita, 18. Gehamat Shibasaki, 19. George Fai, 20. Shaun Nona, 21. Corey Oates. Coach: Kevin Walters.