Clubs take aim at Broncos’ ‘Iceman’
NRL rivals are circling Broncos winger Jamayne "The Iceman" Isaako in the wake of his golden-point heroics.
Isaako is off-contract at season's end and the cool customer from Christchurch has fielded formal interest from two NRL clubs impressed with his match-winning display in last week's 9-7 defeat of the Tigers.
Mindful of a poaching threat, the Broncos are keen to table a new deal and are in the box seat to retain Isaako, who is relishing life in Brisbane since arriving from Cronulla three years ago.
The 21-year-old goalkicking whiz will take part in his first M1 derby against the Titans this Sunday - his fifth NRL game - and his management confirmed "The Iceman" is in demand.
"We haven't been out searching, a few clubs have come to us actually," said his manager Jim Banaghan.
"The Broncos have indicated they are very interested in discussing an extension and they are ready to go when we are.
"He's been a great talent since I saw him as a schoolboy in New Zealand. Jamayne is a great athlete but also a very polite young man.
"Jamayne has some interest from a couple of clubs but the Broncos have shown confidence in him so I can't see any reason to change addresses at this stage of his career."
Isaako, who landed the 77th-minute penalty goal to keep Brisbane alive before adding another two points to break the Tigers' hearts in extra-time, is keen to extend his career at Red Hill.
"I hope my future lies with the Broncos for as long as it can," he said. "They have given me the opportunity I've got at the moment and I'm very grateful for that.
"I love life here so hopefully I can sign a long-term deal if the opportunity comes."
Isaako is no stranger to life in the NRL in Sydney.
As a 14-year-old, he left New Zealand to take up a scholarship with the Cronulla Sharks, who spotted him at a schoolboy carnival in Christchurch.
The Sharks put a roof over his head in a development house for out-of-town teenagers, with Isaako rooming with a youngster called Valentine Holmes, now a Test and Origin star.
Isaako recalls his struggles living away from family, and the desperate phone call that paved the way for him to find happiness at the Broncos.
"I first moved over to Australia when I was 14," he said.
"It was tough. I had no family. I was put into a Sharks house with other players including Valentine. We roomed together and he helped me out a lot, but it wasn't easy living in Sydney at such a young age."
Isaako persisted for four years at the Sharks but had relatives living in Brisbane. He reached out to his manager for a fresh start.
"He just indicated to me that he liked Brisbane, he had family in the area, so I rang Wayne Bennett," Banaghan said. "Wayne was returning to the Broncos (in 2015) and I said, 'I have a young fella who would like to be coached by you'.
"Wayne got him on the phone and two weeks later Jamayne had a deal with the Broncos."
Isaako, who made his NRL debut against Newcastle last year, says he is already comfortable with the pace and pressures of the NRL.
"I have adapted to it pretty well," he said.
"My debut last year, there were a lot of nerves going into the game, but I feel more comfortable now. It's good to be playing outside guys like James Roberts and Kodi Nikorima, they have given me a lot of advice."