Injured Reed facing uncertain future
Broncos coach Wayne Bennett admitted he could not guarantee the long-term playing future of Test centre Jack Reed after he was scratched from the team to play the Raiders at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday night with ongoing shoulder problems.
Despite being named in the team on Tuesday night Reed was a notable absentee from Wednesday's final training run with Jordan Kahu moving to left centre and Greg Eden coming onto the right wing.
Reed missed Round 1 after undergoing a fourth shoulder reconstruction in the off-season and although a major operation may not be required at this point, Bennett said the centre will go for further scans and a possible arthroscopy to try and discover what is troubling him.
The England international has battled on gamely despite being in significant pain for much of the season and Bennett said the next step is to work out what it will take to relieve him of that pain and hopefully get him back on the training field.
"It's been difficult for him and he's just a point now where he's in pain all the time, even when he's sleeping and sitting around," said Bennett.
"There's no fracture there or like previous things and we're not sure if the rest will do it good either at the moment.
"They're going to do some more scans, maybe go in and have a little look at it and tidy up a few things in there but there's no major reconstruction required or anything like that.
"We're just trying to get him some pain relief and make him a lot more comfortable than he is.
"It's not perfect now and it won't be perfect because he has had a lot of operations on it but can we get it to a point where he can play and be pain free and all that type of stuff?
"If we can do that then it's an easy decision; if we can't and Jack can't put up with the pain anymore then it's another decision. That's all for the future."
The reshuffle in the backline is not the only one this week for the Broncos who have lost their past three games and four of their past five to fall to fourth on the ladder.
Queensland forward Sam Thaiday has been promoted to the starting team to partner Josh McGuire in the front row with Adam Blair moving back to the bench and Joe Ofahengaue returning to play in the Intrust Super Cup.
While acknowledging that he is looking for the formula to arrest their current slide Bennett said much of the shuffling was designed to ensure the playing stocks are in the right place coming out of the Origin period.
"We're not struggling but we're just not playing where we want to be and I'm just trying to not sit on my hands and hope it will turn around, trying to make a few little things happen," Bennett admitted.
"It's hard when they're young to be coming off the bench all the time and they do need to play full games some time. They play 20 or 30 minutes but they don't get the confidence they need by playing full games.
"[Ofahengaue] knew that was coming, I told him some time ago and it will happen to Tevita [Pangai] too. Tevita will stay for a while now but he won't be staying for the rest of the season I wouldn't think.
"[The Origin period] is always a challenge and that's what I'm trying to do with the bench and making decisions about playing time for players to get a balance. The impact is not only immediate but long term and I don't want it to be long term where it goes on four, five or six weeks after the end of the [Origin], which has happened in the past because I didn't make the decisions I probably should have made."
The Raiders have won only six times in 17 previous visits to Suncorp Stadium but after their win over Manly last Friday night Bennett sees a team capable of doing plenty of damage.
"They've got some real talent in that team and they can score tries and do things," said Bennett, who started his NRL coaching career in Canberra in 1987.
"Ricky [Stuart] has done a good job with them and he's assembled a pretty good group of blokes there.
"Their best times are in front of them, so that will be their challenge, to reach that potential that they've all got but they're certainly a very talented group of blokes."