Prince may stay with Broncos after all

Despite suffering two broken legs since joining the Brisbane Broncos in 2001 from the Cowboys, Scott Prince is at a crossroads in his career. Heralded as the heir-apparent to the then retired Allan Langer, Prince has played only 23 games in the past two and a half seasons with the Broncos. During that time, he has been unable to secure a regular first grade spot in Wayne Bennett?s squad, let alone emulate Queensland?s best ever halfback. Still, at only 23, he has 76 first grade appearances since debuting in 1998, so Prince is hardly untested at the NRL level.

It is the form he has on the board from his days in North Queensland that has rival NRL clubs itching to sign him. The Wests Tigers in particular are keen to acquire the exciting playmaker to energize their attack, and considering the Salary Cap space the Tigers will have to spend after June 30, Prince will have to weigh up a sizeable offer to change addresses for the second time in his career.

However, as June 30 fast approaches a rumour out of Brisbane could provide Prince with a chance to make his career with the Broncos after all. Incumbent Queensland and Brisbane five-eighth Ben Ikin is currently in the last year of his deal and the buzz up north indicates that 2003 may be his last season in the NRL. Ikin suffers from a serious degenerative condition with his knees (the byproduct of two reconstructions) and it was no surprise he did not back up from Origin II on Friday night. If Ikin did retire, or at the very least take a year off, the door would be open for Prince to jump into the Broncos starting side.

Clearly, with cap constrictions, the Broncos won?t be able to offer Prince a deal approaching the contract signed in 2001 that lured him away from the Cowboys. But Prince came to Brisbane to further his career and with all due respect to the Tigers, if he can start in Brisbane his future representative chances will be strengthened. This new development could seriously hamper the Wests Tigers recruitment plans for season 2004, but with money to burn don?t count them out making a marquee signing after June 30.

If money talks, Prince will become a Tiger, but if opportunity knocks, Prince may remain with the Broncos on a one-year incentive based deal.

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