Alex Glenn. The Brisbane Broncos training at Re Hill. Pic Peter Wallis
Alex Glenn. The Brisbane Broncos training at Re Hill. Pic Peter Wallis

Broncos skipper battling for starting spot

Broncos skipper Alex Glenn is the NRL captain facing a fight for a starting spot.

The Courier-Mail can reveal Glenn is locked in a three-way battle for two edge back row spots at the Broncos this year.

Glenn, 31, was last month crowned captain of the Broncos, taking over the duties from Darius Boyd.

But there is no guarantee the 259-game NRL veteran will make Brisbane's starting team every week as the next generation of Broncos forwards emerge.

Glenn has spent the bulk of the pre-season training on the edge along with Tevita Pangai Jr and David Fifita.

Brisbane's starting props will be Matt Lodge and Payne Haas, while Joe Ofahengaue is favoured to play lock as the third middle forward.

 

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Pangai Jr, 24, has the versatility to play in the middle, but has indicated his favoured spot is on an edge, putting him on a collision course with Glenn.

Fifita, 19, is too good to leave out of the starting team and will earn one of the edge roles following his breakout season last year.

Ofahengaue will appear in court next week on a traffic charge and is in danger of being suspended from Brisbane's Round 1 clash against the Cowboys in Townsville.

If Ofahengaue is suspended, Pangai Jr will move to lock and Glenn will be guaranteed a starting spot against the Cowboys.

 

 

Broncos coach Anthony Seibold admitted there was a battle for spots in Brisbane's pack.

"We've got the luxury of three really quality backrowers in Tevita, David and Alex Glenn," he said.

"Those three guys are fighting it out for two of those positions. They are really good ball carriers and they threaten the line. We're just working hard with all three on their defence.

"Those three guys are each in really good shape. They're working really hard.

"Tevita has got that flexibility that he's played a heap of middle in the past. One thing I do know, is that we're a much better team when Tevita is in it and firing.

David Fifita is one of the best forwards in the league. AAP image, John Gass.
David Fifita is one of the best forwards in the league. AAP image, John Gass.

"I do think his best position is an edge backrower but how aggressive he is and some of his actions on both sides of the footy, he's a real big middle forward as well."

Glenn is definitely in Brisbane's best 17, but if he is relegated to the bench at times this season it will evoke memories of Kurt Gidley captaining NSW from the pine in the 2010 State of Origin series.

Seibold has created a new leadership group this year which includes Brodie Croft, Pat Carrigan, Pangai Jr, Haas, Lodge, Boyd and Glenn, ensuring the Broncos have players to lead the team if Glenn is not on the field.

Pangai Jr will not play in next weekend's Perth Nines, instead heading to Rockhampton for a trial against the CQ Capras in a Broncos team featuring a host of big names.

Pangai Junior will play on an edge this season.
Pangai Junior will play on an edge this season.

"Tevita will play about 20 to 25 minutes up in Rocky," Seibold said.

"One thing I know about Tevita is game fitness is key for him, having coached him for 12 months now.

"He's a weapon when he's fit and firing. A little bit of game time, a little bit more (playing minutes) each week throughout the three trials will have him, we think, in the best shape for round one.

"A few guys like him, Joe Ofahengaue, Patty Carrigan, Darius, Jack Bird and Andrew McCullough (will play). Those boys will probably be the most high profile. And then we'll have a whole heap of younger players in and around them.

"They'll just get some game time, whether it's 20 minutes or so.

"We've had a lot of really thorough preparation and to be honest, the guys are just ready for some footy because it's been hard work."