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Tesi knocks back rivals for Niu deal and long-term No.1 shot

Tesi Niu has backed up his claims to be Brisbane's long-term No.1 with a two-year extension after rejecting interest from rival NRL clubs.

Niu is understood to have fielded approaches from NSW-based rivals on the back of his impressive form in recent weeks, but committed to his junior club on Friday afternoon until the end of 2023.

As recently as a fortnight ago Brisbane had yet to formally table the youngster an offer due to salary cap restraints and freight being paid to move the likes of Matt Lodge and Tevita Pangai jnr on.

But further shifts in the transfer market and the Broncos roster – including early exits for Brodie Croft (Salford in 2022), Dale Copley (Roosters immediately) – eased negotiations ahead of Friday's clash with the Roosters.

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Niu turned 20 this week and will once again start at fullback after an early-season shift to the centres proved underwhelming and eventually saw him dropped for five games in the InTrust Super Cup.

Within a game of being restored to Brisbane's No.1 jumper, Niu played a starring role with two tries to upset Cronulla.

His averages of 166 running metres and five tackle busts in five fullback outings since round 16 have thrown down the gauntlet to fellow backline contenders Selwyn Cobbo, Jamayne Isaako and Herbie Farnworth to keep the No.1 jumper beyond this year.

It's understood Brisbane have not necessarily abandoned an eventual move to the frontline for Niu pending several factors including; Kotoni Staggs shift to five-eighth, the development of highly-rated teen Cobbo and a mooted play for Roosters star Joey Manu should he hit the open market in November.

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Manu's slew of likely suitors continues to grow by the day given his potential to be even more influential as a fullback or five-eighth.

While the Roosters are desperate to keep Manu, All Blacks coach Ian Foster did not dismiss talk of a potential code-switch being entertained by New Zealand Rugby when quizzed on the 25-year-old this week.

"I’m a Tokoroa man, he’s a Tokoroa man, he might as well come back and try," Foster said of Manu.

"He is a quality league player and like always happens at times like this, it is up to the player to figure out where his dream is.

"It is not up to us, to persuade or coerce, so if he wants to play rugby then I guess we are pretty keen to talk."

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For the Broncos and Niu, his new deal continues a near-complete retention drive that added young prop Xavier Willison (re-signed for another two years) on Friday to more than a dozen extensions already locked in this season.

"Tesi has been part of our pathways since his early teens and it is great for the club that he chose to stay with us beyond this year," football manager Ben Ikin said.

"He clearly has great natural ability, and his work ethic and attitude are top shelf.

"Tesi has a bright future in the NRL and we are all looking forward to seeing his continued development as a player and a person."

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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