Bronco Staggs eyeing mid-2021 NRL return

Injured Brisbane centre Kotoni Staggs believes he’d given himself a great chance to earn a maiden NSW State of Origin call-up in 2020.

Staggs is still awaiting surgery on the ACL he tore in the Broncos’ NRL round 20 loss to North Queensland at Suncorp Stadium.

Doctors are holding off until swelling subsides on the injured joint before Staggs goes under the knife, with the 21-year-old eyeing off round 13 next year as his return date.

While the Broncos endured a horror 2020, Staggs was touted as a Blues prospect after scoring 10 tries in 14 matches.

The fact his injury will cost him any chance of playing in this year’s Origin series added to Staggs’ pain.

“I was playing consistent footy and I was looking for that Blues jersey so it was devastating when I went down,” Staggs said at Wednesday’s Broncos end-of-season awards function, where he was named the club’s back of the year and his round 15 try against St George Illawarra won the play of the year prize.

“But there’s always next year and it makes me work harder for next year as well.”

When Staggs does return to the football field, it will be under the watch of new Broncos coach Kevin Walters.

Staggs briefly worked with Walters during his rookie season when the six-time premiership winner was an assistant to Wayne Bennett.

He believes the club legend will rectify what Staggs felt was a playing group that at times last year lacked leadership.

“Kevvie’s been at the club, he’s played at the club, he’s a face there … he’ll pick the right leaders at the club as well,” Staggs said.

“The leaders that we had they were doing their job but there were some stages that you know we could have had someone step up and say something.

“With Kevvie coming, he can do the job.”

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