Flegler locks sights on Broncos’ No.13 jersey
THOMAS Flegler has declared that he wants the Broncos' No.13 jersey, and the firebrand forward is set to launch his bid for the starting lock position on home soil this weekend.
The Tully 20-year-old has been named to start Saturday's trial against the Cowboys in Cairns from the bench, but will let his performance do the talking as he sets his sights on becoming the Broncos' first-choice lock in 2020.
The 105kg forward has been a revelation for the Brisbane forward park since earning a surprise debut against the Storm in Round 1 last season and going on to play 23 NRL games in his first year as a member of the top 30 squad.
After starting six games at lock in 2019, Flegler said he wanted to build on his debut season and make the jersey made famous by his idol and former Broncos' workhorse Corey Parker his own.
Parker was a regular off the bench and in the second row in the first half of his career, but a shift to lock in 2009 triggered the start of his dominance in the position.
Even three seasons after his retirement, Parker's name is synonymous with the jersey, and that's a path Flegler wants to follow as he enters his second NRL campaign.
"I suppose it was a good debut year but I've got to work on that this year," he said.
"Ideally, I'd love to get the No.13 jersey.
"I've got a few little goals this year, but that's a big one.
"I played at the Nines last week but this will be the first 13-versus-13 game for the season and I've had a good pre-season so far, so I'm keen to have a run and see how we go.
"I'm not too sure about minutes, I'll just get on there and play my usual game, play with the team and take it as it comes."
Flegler knows he'll be up against some tough competition for the lock spot, with Queensland Maroons forward Joe Ofahengaue and fellow young charge Patrick Carrigan also putting their hands up for the position.
However, if he's not running out in the No.13 come Round 1, he will only be more determined to make it his own by season's end.
"I'll just go out there week in, week out and try my best to get that jersey," he said.
"It's not going to hinder my performance if I don't get it - it'll be going to a player that's stuck in - but I'll just have to work harder.
"Whoever gets the jersey has got to perform consistently, otherwise we've got boys right up their clacker to take their spot."
Flegler said regularly going up against some of the game's top forwards, such as Payne Haas, Tevita Pangai Junior and the recently injured Matt Lodge, on the training paddock would stand him in good stead.
"They give you a run for your money, you give them a run for their money," he said.
"It's healthy competition."
Not too long ago, FNQ footy kids looked up to homegrown heroes such as Billy Slater, Nate Myles and Justin Hodges.
Now, they look up to Thomas Flegler and Jake Clifford.
"It's pretty special to know that a lot of people look up to you and you're a role model for a lot of other people," Flegler said.
"It gives them hope - anyone's capable of (playing NRL), it's just whether they're willing to work hard and be persistent."