BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – MAY 28: Matthew Lodge of the Broncos takes on the defence during the round three NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Parramatta Eels at Suncorp Stadium on May 28, 2020 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – MAY 28: Matthew Lodge of the Broncos takes on the defence during the round three NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Parramatta Eels at Suncorp Stadium on May 28, 2020 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Seibold lays down gauntlet for Broncos forwards

Anthony Seibold has turned up the heat on props Matt Lodge and Joe Ofahengaue to step up and lead the Baby Broncos against the star-studded Sydney Roosters.

The injury and suspension ravaged Broncos are facing a brutal encounter at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday night when they run into the high-flying chooks.

The Roosters got their quest for a three-peat of NRL titles back on track with a commanding 28-12 win against South Sydney last Friday, after initially starting the 2020 season in slow form.

After a 2-0 start to the year, the Broncos came crashing back to earth last Thursday night when they were trounced 34-6 by Parramatta to restart the premiership.

 

Joe Ofahengaue gets his shot as the Broncos battle injuries. Photo: Peter Wallis
Joe Ofahengaue gets his shot as the Broncos battle injuries. Photo: Peter Wallis

 

The Broncos have been decimated with captain Alex Glenn (cut leg), David Fifita (knee), Jack Bird (knee), Tevita Pangai (suspended), Kotoni Staggs (suspended) and potentially Jake Turpin (knee) sidelined.

Seibold will field an incredibly inexperienced forward pack against the Roosters, with prop Payne Haas potentially the most experienced starting forward with only 27 NRL appearances.

The likes of Tom Flegler (26 games), Ethan Bullemor (two games), Jamil Hopoate (three games) and co-captain Pat Carrigan (22 games) will confront Roosters representative stars Boyd Cordner, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Angus Crichton in what shapes as a giant mismatch in experience.

Seibold could yet mix up his starting side, but admitted Lodge and Ofahengaue had to stand up after mediocre performances against the Eels in their first hit-outs for 2020.

 

The Broncos need Matt Lodge to become the dominant force. Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images
The Broncos need Matt Lodge to become the dominant force. Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

 

"It's a wonderful challenge for our guys - I know they're really looking forward to that challenge to test themselves," Seibold said.

"If you look at the experience across both teams - we're at opposite ends of the spectrum.

"We know having guys like Payne Haas, Tom Flegler and Pat Carrigan (will be beneficial to us) … the way they've started the season has been really solid.

"We need Matt Lodge and Joe Ofahengaue to be better off the bench and I think they will be. It's their second start back from a spell.

"It's a really big challenge for us and we're excited.

"I doubt anyone has got us as favourites to win this one but we've got a great belief in our group and are excited about the opportunity to test ourselves against a really experienced team."

Injuries and suspensions have exposed Brisbane's lack of experience in the early rounds of the season.

The young players performed admirably in the opening two games - wins against the Cowboys and Rabbitohs - but premiership contenders like the Eels and Roosters are different prospects.

 

Ben Te'o could be in town soon. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images
Ben Te'o could be in town soon. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

 

The Broncos will look to beef-up their depth by signing 2014 Rabbitohs premiership winner Ben Te'o once he finalises a severance agreement with Super Rugby's Japan Sunwolves.

"There's a really big chunk of our salary cap missing, they are significant losses for us," Seibold said.

"We've got some players who I've got great belief in but they're at the very beginning of their careers.

"We've got two positions to fill (in our roster). Everyone knows Ben Te'o's name has been tossed up.

"The Sunwolves have been excluded from the Super Rugby, so we'll make contact with Ben at some stage to see how interested he is in playing rugby league.

"We've got two spots to fill. They're two minimum salary spots. We'll fill them at some stage.

"The cavalry comes back in a couple of weeks' time. We get Tevita and Kotoni back from suspension. Alex Glenn will hopefully only be out for two weeks. David is about five weeks away. There's a few guys there who will reinforce the group."

Originally published as Seibold lays down gauntlet for Broncos forwards



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