Kennedy thrown into firing line
Darcy Lussick copped a four-match ban for trying to unsettle some Roosters' feathers but Broncos coach Anthony Griffin has backed Martin Kennedy to control any aggression in the fiery opening exchanges at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
Brisbane’s front row stocks copped a further battering with Ben Hannant's hamstring injury and suspension of Josh McGuire handing Kennedy his first opportunity in the starting team with his new club.
The injury to Hannant at training midweek has forced a reshuffle on the Broncos interchange bench also, with Kennedy to start in the front row and 19-year-old rookie sensation Corey Oates promoted to the bench after recovering from off-season shoulder surgery. He will be joined on the pine by forwards David Hala, Todd Lowrie and Jarrod Wallace.
At 190 centimetres and 122 kilograms, Kennedy is one of the biggest players to ever pull on a Broncos jersey and has already found himself in the middle of a scuffle with Bulldogs captain Michael Ennis in Round 1.
Roosters hard men – and former teammates – Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Sam Moa and Frank-Paul Nuuausala will no doubt endeavour to unsettle Kennedy and the other Brisbane forwards in the opening exchanges and Griffin insists it will be a good indicator of what Kennedy can bring to the club.
"That's why we brought him up here. If a team wants to put pressure on a front-rower then that's their meat and potatoes – the collisions and handling aggression the right way," Griffin said.
"It’s a good challenge for Kennedy to start and the other guys coming off the bench. Marty's in the middle so he'll have a lot more contacts and aggressive collisions early in the game but in the end he's a big boy and he's got to get through that."
Although Brisbane loses two of their big men for the clash against the defending premiers, they gain the 192cm, 106kg utility Corey Oates, who was named Broncos Rookie of the Year in 2013.
"He was probably close to playing last week but we gave him another week," Griffin said.
"He's been doing full training for a month so he's ready for a game so we'll bring him off the bench.
"He gives us a bit of versatility – he can play anywhere, the backs and the forwards –so he just covers a number of spots there for us."
Meanwhile, Test and Origin centre Justin Hodges trained strongly for the Broncos, but it's unlikely he’ll make a return from his Achilles injury sustained in Round 22 last season for at least another two to three weeks.