Why Broncos star owes career to late grandmother

Brisbane Broncos star Kotoni Staggs has paid tribute to his grandmother for keeping him on the right path as he prepares for Brisbane’s preliminary final against the Warriors on Saturday night.

Staggs’ nan Dawn, who died at the end of 2019, took care of the Broncos centre when his mother was in jail, creating a bond the 24-year-old still leans on in his football career years later.

“If it wasn’t for her, I probably wouldn’t be in the position that I am right now,” Staggs said on Thursday.

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“Footy was everything back when I started growing up, I played since the age of five. She made sure I was there and made sure I was at school.

“She looked after me through my whole childhood.”

Staggs plays for his nan even now, wearing tape with her name on it during all his matches.

“Every time I go out, she’s always on my wrist and always in my heart as well,” Staggs said.

“Every time I score a try or something like that, I always kiss to my wrist.”

Staggs has notched up 13 tries already this year, the most in his six seasons at the elite level, but he wasn’t always on the path to success.

He has Dawn to thank for pulling him into line when he was on the edge of a sour exit from the Broncos early in his career.

“I was probably in the deep part of my life too when I had a contract to sign here, or go, when we were in the lows,” Staggs said.

“But I decided to stay because I knew there was something there (at the Broncos).”

As for the next generation, Staggs has promised to carry on his grandmother’s wisdom, advice and support as his nieces and nephews grow up.

“They’re a big part of me, of what I do too,” he said.

“Obviously I want to set a good example for them growing up. I’ve got a couple of them that are getting a bit older, that are understanding footy and what I do for a living.

“They’re all big Broncs fans. It’s crazy because we’re from New South Wales, but their uncle’s out there playing for the Broncos.”

Staggs has a tattoo of the 18th birthday card message he received from Dawn on his right arm.

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