Touch footy key to Glenn's versatility
Brisbane second-row forward Alex Glenn says he is using his touch football background to establish himself as one of the NRL's most versatile players.
The Broncos have been hampered by injuries of late – failing to field a full-strength side since their Round 11 loss to the North Queensland Cowboys.
Their torrid run has impacted Glenn the most, with the 28-year-old forward repeatedly asked to play out of position in the centres.
Recent in-game injuries to the likes of Jordan Kahu, Corey Oates and Lachlan Maranta have seen Glenn make the shift into the backs midway through matches on several occasions this season, with coach Wayne Bennett being forced to reshuffle his side.
The situation's been made worse by the fact that Kodi Nikorima has been sidelined with a shoulder injury since Round 17, meaning the Broncos have been playing without a utility on the bench.
The absence of Nikorima has meant Glenn has been the only option to move into the centres, and the New Zealand international told NRL.com that growing up playing touch football has given him the skills to play in the backs.
"I have to use a bit of footwork as an edge back-rower that moves out to the centres," Glenn said.
"That touch football side of me kicks into gear because I've played it my whole life.
"You have a bit more space out in the centres, but I think my speed isn't as quick as it used to be when I was 80kg.
"I make do with what I've got and try and use my footwork as much as I can.
"Touch football is a huge sport in New Zealand. When we weren't playing rugby league, we were playing touch.
"It was one of those games that my family were heavily into. It was in my blood."
Glenn is a talented touch footballer, having played for the Australian under-20s national touch football development squad in 2007 after having already played at a national level throughout his teens.
He said the sport acted as a pathway for him to get into rugby league because of the similarity in skills needed to excel in both.
"I used touch football as a pathway to rugby league. I love the game," he said.
"It's very competitive and it has got so many skills in there. You need a lot of skills such as footwork, passing and decision-making.
"I had a couple of years off footy when I was growing up and just played touch instead. I think that really helped my game."
But Glenn will be hoping he doesn't have to shift to the centres again this season, with Brisbane set to welcome back a number of stars from injury and suspension this week.
Josh McGuire and Sam Thaiday will both return from one-match bans, while it's likely Matt Gillett will also be named.
"We've been unfortunate with our injuries and it just so happens that it's our backs going down," Glenn said.
"There's not much we can do when we've had big boys on the bench so I've been happy to move to the centres.
"That's football, but hopefully we can keep everyone on the paddock for the full 80 this week."
The Broncos travel to WIN Stadium on Thursday night to play the St. George Illawarra Dragons, a team they defeated 26-0 earlier in the season.