Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett has seemingly been unimpressed with the trial form shown by the Broncos, demoting several players including boom prop Dave Taylor from the first grade squad. Such a bold move could only mean lack of focus at training or potentially even off-field incidents that have gone unreported.
Anticipation of the big clash between Dave Taylor and former BroncosÂ mentor Petero Civoniceva in the round 1 blockbuster against Penrith have nosedived following the 19-year-old’s shock demotion to Rockhampton-based Central Comets.
Taylor has paid the price for a lacklustre display against Canberra at Orange last weekend, with Sydney imports Joel Clinton and Ashton Sims chosen in the front row for the club’s final trial against Redcliffe at Dolphin Oval on Saturday night.
Nick Kenny is the other prop in a 19-man squad that will be captained by second-rower Corey Parker in the absence of injured stars Darren Lockyer and Justin Hodges.
Another captaincy candidate, Karmichael Hunt, will start at five-eighth for the first time with Darius Boyd at fullback.
Taylor, who recently signed a 12-month contract extension with the Broncos, has been widely tipped to play State of Origin for Queensland as early as this year.
But the Broncos are not going to rush the 115kg Blackwater product, who can expect to play regularly for the Comets until he improves his consistency.
How far Taylor has fallen in the pecking order is highlighted by the fact Ben Hannant will miss the Redcliffe game with a sternum injury.
The Broncos’ lack of depth out wide has also been exposed by the naming of a three-quarter line that includes only one player with NRL experience – centre Steve Michaels.
The other centre is 17-year-old Gerard Beale, who is expected to play wing in the round 1 clash with Penrith at Suncorp Stadium. The wingers are Cronulla signing Reece Robinson, 20, and rugby union recruit William Tupou, 17.
Three members of the club’s NRL elite squad – Denan Kemp, Nick Emmett and Craig Frawley – were overlooked and are set to play Queensland Cup this weekend.
St George Illawarra wing recruit Tom Hewitt has been named on the Broncos bench which also includes Joel Moon who has been quiet in earlier trials.
Moon, 19, has been regarded as one of the most talented youngsters in the NRL but he could not find a place in the Broncos backline despite the absence of Lockyer, Hodges and halfback Peter Wallace (hip).
Test fullback Hunt said yesterday his selection at five-eighth could be a sign of things to come.
“I guess playing five-eighth is something that could happen down the track and I see this as a perfect chance to gain more experience at taking control of a game,” he said.
Corey Parker said it was a “big challenge” captaining the side and that he was keen to retain his goal-kicking role after finishing the club’s leading points scorer last year with 106 from 45 goals and four tries. Lockyer and Michael Ennis were the other kickers.