New Broncos player Ben Te'o at Red Hill . Pic Annette Dew
New Broncos player Ben Te'o at Red Hill . Pic Annette Dew

Broncos rush Te’o in amid mass changes

BESIEGED Broncos coach Anthony Seibold has issued an SOS for Ben Te'o with the new recruit to play his first NRL game in six years in Thursday night's away trip against Manly on the NSW Central Coast.

Seibold has taken the axe to his side in the wake of last week's 59-0 drubbing against the Roosters with former Queensland Origin hit man Te'o to appear in the NRL for the first time in 2076 days.

The 33-year-old has appeared in the NRL since winning the 2014 grand final at Souths, but Seibold is calling on Te'o's premiership-winning experience to bring some mongrel and seniority to Brisbane's pack.

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Te'o will come off the bench, while winger Corey Oates will be moved into the back row with Seibold dropping his starting second-rowers, Ethan Bullemor and Jamil Hopoate, in the wake of the Roosters debacle.

 

Te'o played 75 games for the Broncos between 2009-12 and only signed with the Broncos last Thursday after securing a release from Japanese rugby outfit the Sunwolves.

The 112kg forward has been keeping fit during the COVID-19 saga by training at Red Hill and while he hasn't played NRL for six years, Seibold believes Te'o can add some impact against the Sea Eagles.

"Ben Te'o will come into our 17," Seibold said.

"It's another opportunity to have a bigger body in our group and he has a lot of experience.

"We didn't have Ben train with us last week, but he has trained a couple of times now, we only need him to play a small role off the bench for us.

"I just think having him part of the group is important. He has played in the biggest games in both codes around the world (having played for England in rugby).

Te’o will come off the bench for the Broncos. Picture by Annette Dew.
Te’o will come off the bench for the Broncos. Picture by Annette Dew.

"To add a big body, ideally it would have been great for Ben to play a game of Queensland Cup but we don't have that luxury this year.

"I thought long and hard about it, he trained really well on Sunday and although he hasn't been in league for some time we feel he can do the job for us."

Oates has played 146 games for Brisbane, almost exclusively on the wing, but the Maroons flanker has always craved a return to the back row position in which he was graded by the Broncos.

"We need to look at adding some experience to the back row," Seibold said.

"'Oatesy' has come through as a back-rower, he has always wanted to play back row so I feel he can do the job there this week.

"We need to turn our performance around this week and we will make some positional changes. Corey Oates will spend some time in the back row with the injuries we've got to our starting back-rowers."

In other team changes, Jesse Arthars has been dropped, with young gun Xavier Coates to start on the right wing. Herbie Farnworth will play on the left flank with Darius Boyd and Kotoni Staggs training in the centres on Tuesday morning at Red Hill.

Seibold has kept faith in halves Anthony Milford and Brodie Croft with back-up halfback Tom Dearden training with the Renegades. Hopoate or Bullemor are expected to make way for Te'o.

Te’o’s last game of rugby league was the 2014 grand final. Photo by Renee McKay/Getty Images.
Te’o’s last game of rugby league was the 2014 grand final. Photo by Renee McKay/Getty Images.

"There's no changes to the halves," Seibold said. "After the first two games, Brodie and Anthony combined really well."

Seibold challenged the Broncos to hit back after slumping to their worst loss in the club's history last week.

"In a week where you get beaten as badly as you do, you would think there is a list a mile long, but that's not the answer in my experience," he said.

"I have been coaching for 15 years in regards to what needs to be done in the short term. We are focusing on a few critical things, if we narrow our focus to Thursday night's game against Manly and that's the best way forward for us.

"I wanted the group to come in hurting a bit over the weekend and have to put in some hard work, that's the reality after the first two weeks.

"People can't forget we are 2-2. We have been really poor the last three halves of footy, but I have belief in the group and we are narrowing the focus to two or three things and if we focus on this week we will give a good performance."