Andrew McCullough believes Sam Thaiday's one-game suspension is a blessing in disguise for the Test back-rower heading into another hectic Origin period for the Broncos.
The veteran of 28 Tests was charged for a crusher tackle on Martin Taupau in the 37th minute of Sunday's 26-12 Anzac Test loss against New Zealand and will miss one week even with an early guilty plea.
Having scored the opening try at Suncorp Stadium, Thaiday was one of only a few Australian players that could hold their head high against the Kiwis, making 105 metres and 33 tackles during a 72-minute display.
While losing Thaiday for Friday's home game against the Panthers is a blow, Broncos' rake McCullough says the one-week break can have a positive effect on his teammate heading into the Origin series beginning in Sydney on May 27.
"The way Sammy's been leading our forward pack has been outstanding. It's disappointing but there's not a lot you can do and that gives another guy an opportunity to step up this week," McCullough said.
"It's a bad loss but not a lot you can do about it. You've got to take some positives out of it I guess – what he did he knows wasn't right and he's got to accept his one-week ban.
"It will freshen him up coming into that Origin period which is always tough for guys like Sam."
Thaiday's back-row partner Matt Gillett, who was unlucky to miss out on a Kangaroos' jersey for Sunday's Test match, has called upon his fellow forwards to step up as the Broncos look to stay on top of the ladder.
"Sam's been one of our leaders in the forward pack alongside [Corey] Parker so not having him there will spread the workload amongst the edge back-rowers," Gillett said.
"Coming into representative season it's important to get every win you can and making sure we're in good stead during that middle patch of the year.
"Friday night will be a big ask for us and the Panthers love to play a bit of footy so we'll have to score some points."
Gillett sees the impending return of Penrith halves Jamie Soward and Peter Wallace from injury a real threat to Brisbane's chances on Friday night.
"100 percent they're a danger with those two halves back," he said.
"Wallace leads them around the field a lot and Jamie Soward does the rest so if they've got those two players back they'll be a lot harder to beat."