Tevita Pangai Jr is one of the Broncos' up-and-coming forwards. (AAP Image/Glenn Hunt)
Tevita Pangai Jr is one of the Broncos' up-and-coming forwards. (AAP Image/Glenn Hunt)

Young Broncos have to prove they want it

BRONCOS hooker Andrew McCullough says it's time for the club's young forwards to step up and deliver for Brisbane.

The injury-ravaged Broncos will be forced to make more changes on Friday for their clash with the Roosters following the loss of Kiwi international Alex Glenn (knee) and young gun Payne Haas (shoulder).

With Josh McGuire (ankle) and Matt Gillett (neck) already on the sideline, their forward pack depth is being greatly tested.

 

The losses of Glenn, McGuire and Gillett leave McCullough and Sam Thaiday as the most experienced players in the pack and coach Wayne Bennett admitted that his younger forwards were struggling with the weekly rigours of the NRL.

But McCullough believes this is a chance for the likes of Matt Lodge, Jaydn Su'A, Tevita Pangai Jr and Joe Ofahengaue to prove they can deliver when the team need it most, saying the responsibility shouldn't fall solely on the shoulders of him and Thaiday.

Alex Glenn (left) has joined Brisbane’s growing injury list.
Alex Glenn (left) has joined Brisbane’s growing injury list.

"We'll be relying on those guys throughout the year and that's why they train with you from the start of November," he said.

"That's footy and that's what our depth is about. It gives young guys opportunities. We'll work out what we're meant to do.

"Regardless of who's going to play there, it's up to everyone from 1 to 17 to look at their performance (from Saturday's loss to Manly) and be honest and know what we did wrong.

"We have to move forward in a good, positive way ... we have a good strong team here with good depth and some young kid is going to step up for us."

Can Lodge deliver now the controversy has died down? (Matt King/Getty Images)
Can Lodge deliver now the controversy has died down? (Matt King/Getty Images)

One of the most obvious choices for Bennett is premiership-winning prop Sam Tagataese, who has spent the majority of the season with feeder club Norths, while former Cowboy Patrick Mago has also been impressive for Souths Logan.

Another contender is exciting prospect Patrick Carrigan, who plays for Wynnum Manly in the Intrust Super Cup and is one of the most promising young forwards in Brisbane's system.

Whoever Bennett chooses however faces a massive task, as the Broncos prepare to come up against the Roosters on Friday night.

The Roosters put in their best performance so far against the Warriors on Saturday and were sparked by forwards Dylan Napa and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.

But McCullough said Brisbane could not focus on Sydney's improved form, only on themselves after their Saturday loss to the Sea Eagles.

"There's no easy forward packs," he said.

"They'll get some confidence out of that win (in New Zealand). But we have to hang tough.

"It wasn't pretty or good in any way (on Saturday) but there's no point in bagging each other. We have to get on with it."