The Brisbane Broncos have unveiled Corey Parker as their captain for 2016, just six days out from the NRL premiership opener against Parramatta.
A veteran of 323 games for the club, the Test and Origin lock was widely tipped to get the duties ahead of fellow leading contender – and another former skipper – in Sam Thaiday, although Ben Hunt, Alex Glenn and Darius Boyd were mooted as possible future-proofing options.
The 33-year-old Parker has led the Broncos into 39 first-grade games previously – including the entire 2014 season as co-captain with Justin Hodges, who was installed as sole skipper by the returning Wayne Bennett last year.
“It is the greatest honour of my career. It is top of the tree,” Parker said today at the Broncos’ Red Hill headquarters.
“When I was a young kid all I wanted to do was play for this club.
“To be able to have done that for 17 years and then get the opportunity to lead the club solely is certainly a cherry on top.”
Parker paid tribute to a couple of his previous club and representative captains – two of the all time greats – who he said had helped shape his style as skipper.
“I think some of the greatest attributes of captains and leaders of life is not what you say – saying less is more at times,” he said.
“Darren Lockyer was certainly a good example of that and certainly Cameron Smith does that pretty well.
“We’ve got a great group of guys this year. The side isn’t very different to last year so I won’t need to change much at all.
“We’ve got a wonderful playing group and a senior playing group that will help me throughout the year. There are some exciting times ahead.”
Parker is one of seven new captains at NRL clubs for 2016, including the Newcastle Knights, who are set to announce a three-man captaincy model under incoming coach Nathan Brown – believed to be Jeremy Smith, Trent Hodkinson and Tariq Sims.
NRL 2016 CAPTAINS
Broncos: Corey Parker
Raiders: Jarrod Croker
Bulldogs: James Graham
Sharks: Paul Gallen
Titans: Nathan Friend and William Zillman
Sea Eagles: Jamie Lyon
Storm: Cameron Smith
Cowboys: Jonathan Thurston and Matt Scott
Eels: Kieran Foran
Panthers: Matt Moylan
Dragons: Gareth Widdop and Ben Creagh
Rabbitohs: Greg Inglis
Roosters: Jake Friend
Warriors: Ryan Hoffman
Tigers: Aaron Woods