Darius Boyd and Jack Bird celebrate James Roberts’ try. (Phil Hillyard)
Darius Boyd and Jack Bird celebrate James Roberts’ try. (Phil Hillyard)

McGuire injury mars Broncos victory

BRISBANE'S injury crisis has deepened after Josh McGuire became the latest player to fall in Thursday night's 24-20 victory over the Rabbitohs.

With Australian forward Matt Gillett (neck) and key hooker Andrew McCullough (elbow) both on the sideline the last thing the Broncos needed last night was another injury among their pack.

But the football gods dealt Brisbane a nasty fate anyway, after McGuire limped off the field just seven minutes into the second half.

It is unclear if it is an ankle or achilles problem, but it is understood he was in pain last night and will go for scans today.

Starting prop Matt Lodge (rib) also failed to return in the second 40, with coach Wayne Bennett opting to leave him on the bench because he was "off his game".

However, while the club will now be sweating on the fitness of McGuire, they have also found their shining light in the form of exciting young gun, Payne Haas.

The 18-year-old dynamo has been the most-hyped young Bronco in recent history and delivered on those expectations in his NRL debut last night.

Bennett opted to blood Haas in place of experienced forward Sam Tagataese and it was a move that paid off for the supercoach.

The "Payne Train" was explosive from the moment he came onto the field in the 55th minute and was not at all afraid to get stuck into South Sydney's pack.

Korbin Sims can’t escape the tackle. (Matt King/Getty Images)
Korbin Sims can’t escape the tackle. (Matt King/Getty Images)

In his 20 minute stint he made 13 tackles and ate up 86m off nine runs, in what has to be one of the most impressive forward debuts in a long time.

With McGuire in doubt, Haas should retain his first grade spot, particularly after that performance.

But even with the excitement around Haas, there will no doubt be concerns if McGuire fails to prove his fitness ahead of Thursday's clash with the Bulldogs.

Bennett said he was happy with the performance of his interchange, including Haas, Korbin Sims and Kodi Nikorima, and said the club needed it with their continued injury problems.

"Our interchange was really good for us," he said.

"We needed them with those injuries.

"Matt was off his game ... I did (choose not to play him in the second half)."

Greg Inglis gets crunched. (Matt King/Getty Images)
Greg Inglis gets crunched. (Matt King/Getty Images)

He was reluctant to praise Haas too much, but said he chose him over Tagataese because he needed his start at some point.

"He wasn't bad for the first time," he said.

"You've got to get your kids ready at some stage and start the process of that.

"Obviously Payne's going to be an NRL player and hopefully for a long period of time.

"I don't want them to get ahead of themselves and at the same time I want them to be able to handle the situation (of NRL)."

Corey Oates makes a break. (AAP Image/Brendan Esposito)
Corey Oates makes a break. (AAP Image/Brendan Esposito)

McGuire has been one of their best forwards this year and was the first-choice replacement for Andrew McCullough at No.9.

If he is unable to recover in time for Thursday, Bennett may have to run with Nikorima as the starting hooker, with the dumped halfback impressive off the bench over the last two weeks.

Despite the injuries, Brisbane did well to snatch the win from the Rabbitohs in the second half.

Corey Oates was outstanding on the wing and scored the game-changing try, while James Roberts continued to press his case for a NSW Origin debut.

 

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