The Brisbane Broncos’ questionable recruitment strategy has paid tiny dividends in 2014, but the club’s drive to bolster its squad with quality young talent has resulted in the acquisition of boom Melbourne Storm prop Mitch Garbutt on a three-year deal from next season.
The Broncos ousted half a dozen rival clubs to snare the 25-year-old’s signature, which will provide much-needed front-row depth and is likely to end Martin Kennedy’s dismal tenure in Brisbane.
Boasting incredible footwork and pace for such a big unit, the 115kg Garbutt could prove a belatedly astute signing, following the underwhelming first-up campaigns of Kennedy, Ben Barba and Todd Lowrie this season.
The bearded Newcastle product has managed just six interchange appearances for the Storm in 2014, but it was nevertheless a tough decision for Garbutt to leave Melbourne.
“It was hard to tell Craig (Bellamy) but he was honest with me and supported my decision,” Garbutt said.
“It’s good to know you are in demand with clubs. The system at Melbourne is awesome, but Bellyache (Bellamy) understood I had to do the best thing for my career.”
Ironically, Garbutt played all over Kennedy in a man-of-the-match performance for the Storm’s Intrust Super Cup feeder side Easts Tigers – an effort that no doubt caught the Broncos’ attention.
Garbutt rose to prominence in the pre-season after scoring this spectacular 50-metre try for Melbourne against St George Illawarra during the inaugural Auckland Nines, holding the ball like an apple while swatting away defenders and showing remarkable speed to dive over in the corner:
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