Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
Motu Tony understands the role he is expected to play for the Brisbane Broncos, but don't expect him to let the cat out of the bag.
Coach Wayne Bennett is poised to place Golden Boot winner Darren Lockyer into an attacking five-eighth position for the 2004 National Rugby League season.
The plan is for Lockyer to revert to his customary fullback role in defence, alternating spots with the former NZ Warriors utility Tony.
"Wayne has told me where I'm going to play and I'm quite happy with that but I can't say at this stage," Tony said today.
"I still have to earn my spot in the team and it's unfair if I say where I'm going to play without working to get that spot.
"Even though he's told me where I'm going to play I'm still training my butt off to get that spot."
Tony started training with the Broncos yesterday following his honeymoon on the Gold Coast with newly-wed partner Kesia.
But he has already text-messaged former Warriors teammate Ali Lauiti'iti to tell him how much tougher training is under super coach Bennett. "It's really different to what I'm used to back home - a lot more intense throughout the whole sessions," said Tony, who was a member of New Zealand's victory over Australia in the October 18 Test at North Harbour Stadium.
"But it's all positive and I'll get used to."
Tony likes the small-town feel of Brisbane, saying it's similar to his home city Auckland.
He hopes to settle down in the Queensland capital and secure a long-term deal with the Broncos.
"I have to make pay because I'm only signed up for a year and I'd like to get something more secure for myself and my family," said Tony, who's living in Red Hill - a stone's throw from Brisbane's training base and Ikin's home.
"I've been quite impressed with Brisbane the city. I'm enjoying Brisbane and so is the wife." Tony described Brisbane's late-season slide as "un-Broncos like" but said Bennett stepping down as Maroons coach and skipper Gordie Tallis announcing his retirement from representative football would help the club.
"I think Benny is a fantastic coach and he doesn't have to come to me to find the recipe to beat the Warriors but I certainly know what they'll be doing to beat the Broncos," he said. "I'm always open to let in a few secrets, I guess."