Brisbane are facing prospect of Karmichael Hunt enjoying a rugby union sabbatical before resuming his NRL career with the Broncos.
And the man the Broncos fear is poised to snatch the star fullback away for up to two years is the Japan-based former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones.
Chief executive Bruno Cullen has indicated he is virtually resigned to losing Hunt after withdrawing a three-year contract offer, reportedly worth $1.2 million.
He believes Hunt is seriously exploring the option of playing rugby in Japan or Europe as he tries to cope with the fall-out from last September's sexual assault allegations.
Hunt was never charged over the incident, which also involved teammates Sam Thaiday and Darius Boyd.
But Cullen says Hunt's been a "slightly different character" since.