Broncos’ suffer injury blow for Dragons clash
THE Broncos have suffered a playoffs blow with veteran back-rower Alex Glenn ruled out of Sunday's sudden-death final against the Dragons at Suncorp Stadium.
But Broncos coach Wayne Bennett is adamant Origin star Corey Oates will not join Glenn in the casualty ward, saying the Maroons ace will take his place on the left wing despite a calf injury.
Glenn was named in the starting side but failed to participate in Saturday's captain's run at Red Hill. The former Kiwi Test back-rower had strapping around his calf and was restricted to light duties in the gym.
There was also some concern around Oates, who started the session before finishing early, but Bennett insisted the Queensland ace would back up after his four-try heroics against Manly last week.
In the absence of Glenn, teenage sensation David Fifita will join Tevita Pangai Jnr in the back row. Rookie utility Kotoni Staggs has been added to a bench that also comprises Patrick Mago, Joe Ofahengaue and Dragons-bound Korbin Sims.
"Alex won't play, so David will come up into the starting side," Bennett said.
"Corey has a bit of tightness in his legs but it's nothing major, he will play tomorrow.
"Tevita (hamstring) will be OK, he has done four weeks of training."
The Broncos are chasing four consecutive wins for the first time this season and are raging favourites to kill off the spluttering Dragons' premiership hopes at Suncorp.
While Bennett warned the side against complacency, he was confident his troops had the self-belief to make a statement in the finals.
"Our priority is to play well tomorrow," he said. "After that, if we don't play well tomorrow we don't have to worry about anything else, we will be on Mad Monday.
"But there is a lot of good signs there, they are playing for each other and they have been through a fair bit this year.
"They have managed to make sure the last three weeks have been good so they can show what they can do."Asked if he agreed with Dragons coach Paul McGregor's assessment that the pressure was on Brisbane, Bennett said: "I don't feel that, the players don't feel that.
"All the pressure is off us, we are playing in a home semi-final, we're in the position we want to be."
Bennett backed the 18-year-old Fifita to handle a Dragons baptism in just his 11th top-grade game.
"He started last week and had a big game," Bennett said.
"The kids are much more mature today because of the systems we have. He is as good a kid as I've coached at that age, he is one of the good ones, he has wonderful qualities. He has been well prepared in his life with schoolboy football to get him here.
"David has played all the major games we've played in the last two or three months so he won't be out of his depth, he won't be a liability for the team."
While the Broncos had an intense training run at Red Hill, the Dragons relaxed with a light session across town at Langlands Park.