Thaiday benched for the team
Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett says the NRL's new interchange rule has left him with no choice but to start veteran forward Sam Thaiday on the bench.
The NRL have this season implemented an interchange cap of eight per game, down from 10 last season, in a bid to reduce the number of collision injuries and encourage free flowing football.
Queensland prop Josh McGuire's return from a severe Achilles injury meant that one of Brisbane's star studded forward pack would be forced to start from the bench this week against Parramatta.
As teams were released yesterday it was revealed that Thaiday would be the unlucky member of the Broncos' squad to miss out on a place in Brisbane's run on side.
At 110kg, Thaiday is the heaviest player in Brisbane's forward pack, making him an ideal candidate to play an impact role off the bench come Round 1.
Bennett says Thaiday's experience will be invaluable as Thursday's game reaches its latter stages.
"The interchange is going to have the biggest impact on the game. We will have to use different combinations. Little blokes will have a lot more movement as bigger blokes get tired," Bennett said.
"The rule is the major reason I am starting Sam on the bench. We will need experienced players on later in the game. Once Sam goes on he won't be coming off.
"He was happy to do that role for me and I needed one of my senior players to do it. We always need a senior player on the field."
Thaiday captained the Broncos from 2012-2013 before relinquishing the role to focus on his own game – something he felt would be beneficial to the team.
Bennett says Thaiday has always put the team first – a quality that he wants in every player he coaches.
"Sam's typical of any player who has played at the Broncos for a long period of time. He's a great team player who has come to accept his role in the team," Bennett said.
"A total team player is one that's prepared to take any role that is offered to them. Some of our qualifications to be a Brisbane player are about the team and putting them first.
"Sam's one of many players I've coached here that are like that. Darren Lockyer was a great example of that as well. He went to five-eighth for the team.
"You need your players to be selfless in regards to the team and Sam is one of them."