Renouf Cobbo
Brisbane legend Steve Renouf (L) wants Selwyn Cobbo (R) to resist any Sydney Roosters offers. Image by Russell Freeman/AAP PHOTOS
  • rugby league

Renouf rejected Roosters, backs Cobbo to follow suit

May 3, 2024

Brisbane legend Steve Renouf knocked back a $1 million per season offer from the Roosters to stay at the Broncos and is tipping young gun centre Selwyn Cobbo to follow in his footsteps.

Cobbo, contracted with the Broncos until the end of 2025, was chased by the Roosters when he signed his last deal.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson was asked if the looming exit of strike centre Joseph Manu to rugby union would mean another quest for an x-factor player like Cobbo.

“Yeah, obviously. As soon as he came onto the scene, you could see what a quality player he was and will be,” Robinson said.

Cobbo can’t be made an offer until November 1 and Robinson admitted “that’s not on the radar at the moment”.

“But we’re always looking at high-quality players. His ability to play a few different positions is key,” he said.

Robinson will get to see Cobbo up close when his Roosters take on the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night, with the 21-year-old up coming against Manu.

Cobbo has already represented Queensland and Australia on the wing and has continued to shine since being switched to the centres for Brisbane this year.

 Selwyn Cobbo has impressed since switching to the centres this season. Image by Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS 

“I am confident Selwyn will stay at Brisbane where there are more positives than going to Sydney,” Renouf told AAP.

“There is a salary cap Brisbane have to work around but the Broncos are a winning club again under Kevin Walters.

“That is why in the 1990s we took less to stay at the Broncos throughout our careers. Selwyn is young and has family support here, and is close to his home town of Cherbourg.

“Having that support base close is important for young Indigenous boys, as it was for me.”

Renouf’s loyalty was tested in the mid-1990s when he had signed a $2 million four-year deal with the Broncos during Super League.

Federal Court proceedings were under way and there was still doubt whether the breakaway competition would get off the ground.

The Roosters chased Renouf throughout his career around contract time, but this was different.

Roosters supremo Nick Politis flew to Brisbane and met Renouf and his ex-wife in secret in his suite at the Stanford Hotel.

“Nick said, ‘I’ll go in the next room. You write down on a piece of paper what you want for the next three years and we’ll go from there’,” Renouf told AAP.

“It was virtually an open cheque, so we went for broke. I wrote down $1 million a season for three years.

“Nick came back in and said, ‘this can be done’.”

“It went as far as me and my ex-wife looking at a house down around Cronulla. It wasn’t long after that Super League got the green light.

“I could have got a release to join the Roosters but I wanted to stay loyal to the Broncos.

“I was on $500,000 a year at the Broncos, so Nick was doubling it, but we were a winning team and at the time the Roosters weren’t that strong.”

Renouf, one of the modern game’s great centres, and Cobbo are in regular contact and the four-time premiership winner often sends him positive messages.

“Selwyn has already shown that he can be a great centre. He is an instinctive player, backs himself with the ball and his defence has been great,” Renouf said.

Broncos coach Kevin Walters was not concerned by a potential Roosters threat to poach Cobbo.

“No, he will be staying here,” Walters said.

“Look at the environment here. It’s a beautiful place to play rugby league.”