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Oates inks short-term Broncos NRL deal

NZN 8/03/2017 Steve Zemek

Brisbane have put one piece of their contract jigsaw in place after re-signing Queensland winger Corey Oates to a one-year extension.

Oates has been a surprise packet for the Broncos over the past two NRL seasons after being shifted to the wing full-time.

He has mutually agreed to a short-term extension until the end of the 2018 NRL season.

It's one less headache for Broncos chief executive Paul White who has more than half of the club's first-pick XIII off contract at the end of the year including skipper Darius Boyd, Anthony Milford, Josh McGuire, Andrew McCullough and Adam Blair.

The 22-year-old is expected to be shifted into the back row later in his career but has made a fist of the outside backs after coach Wayne Bennett had moved him to the flanks in 2015.

That year, he played in the Broncos' grand-final loss to North Queensland and, last season, appeared in all three State of Origin games for the Maroons, his first taste of representative football.

"I really was shocked when I was told I was playing wing for the Broncs the first time," Oates said.

"I'd never played on the wing. The closest I'd played was at centre and that was at school. I really had no idea what to do.

"For the first couple of years, I did struggle. I was on the bench; I was in the middle; I was in the back row, then I was thrown back on the wing. I wasn't getting consecutive games in the same position - I was always getting thrown around.

"Back then, I really throught I was going to be a back-rower or a prop or somewhere in the forwards. The last couple of years have been a big surprise."

Since then, not only has he nailed down a wing spot, he's cemented himself as one of the most-damaging ball runners and finishers in the game.

He said his debut Origin series had been a difficult learning curve but credited it with making him a better player.

"The boys always talk about the Origin period and how hard it is and you never really realise it until you play it. Even on the wing, I was buggered afterwards," Oates said.

"And I think those four games after the Origin period showed how much of a toll it did take on me. You're just buggered."

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