Brodie Croft has been offered a new contract by Salford as they attempt to fend off reported interest from clubs in the NRL after the former junior Kangaroos representative enjoyed a stellar debut campaign in the UK.
“He’s contracted for 2023 and we’ve now formalised the deal. The offer is with his agent and hopefully he’ll make the decision that pleases our fans, which would be to keep the Man of Steel as a Red Devil in the years to come,” Salford’s Director of Rugby, Ian Blease, told the Examiner Live.
The halfback endured a nightmare spell with Brisbane, which brought a premature end to his time in Australia. Croft visibly struggled to manage the responsibilities of guiding an inexperienced Broncos outfit around the park, having accumulated minimal experience as a commanding general up until that point at Melbourne.
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Croft had burst onto the scene with the Storm, leading to comparisons to club great Cooper Cronk. Yet the heir apparent quickly came crashing back to earth when he was unable to cement his spot in the halves due to the rise of Jahrome Hughes.
A move to Brisbane followed, with Anthony Seibold hoping to build his attack around the promising No.7.
However, Croft and Siebold failed to live up to expectations as a disastrous spell came to an end for both men in a short space of time.
The halfback following the former Dally M Coach of the Year out of the door at Red Hill, having made just 26 appearances for the club across a two-year period.
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Croft was offered a lifeline by Salford and he finished his maiden season in the UK with 32 try-involvements from 26 games to underline his attacking threat.
“I’ve been speaking and discussing extending Brodie’s deal for some time now,” Blease revealed, with Croft due to come off-contract at the end of next season.
His impressive fightback from the NRL scrapheap is a far cry from what Andrew Johns predicted Croft’s future would hold when he left in 2021.
“At the Broncos he didn’t fire a shot,” Johns said on Freddy & the Eighth.
“He looks down on confidence after getting hooked and he doesn’t know what his job is.
“I think it’s the last we’ve seen of Brodie in the NRL. I think he’ll go to the Super League and stay there.”
However, after claiming the most prestigious individual award in the Super League, Croft has rebuilt his reputation and has at least given himself the opportunity of treading a similar path to the one Jackson Hastings has walked.
The current Newcastle halfback was exiled to England after his unceremonious departure from Manly.
Although he bounced back in style, scooping the Man of Steel award and guiding Salford to a grand final appearance before returning to Australian shores.
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“Not many come back,” Brad Fittler said, agreeing with Johns’ assessment of Croft’s future prospects.
“Ben Murdoch-Masila recently. George Burgess has come back. Albert Kelly obviously came back. There are a few that come back and filter into teams but not many come back and star.”
Upon the confirmation of his exit, Brisbane’s coach Kevin Walters was far more optimistic.
“There’s been a lot of pressure unfairly on Brodie since his arrival here two years ago,” he said.
“He hasn’t, for whatever reason, been able to play the football that he’s capable of.
“We’ve seen it in the past with other players when they go to England they rejuvenate their career, and then come back in the NRL. So, that’s what I see in the future for Brodie.”