Todd Murphy will get his final chance to press for a round one spot in the Broncos squad when he plays as starting hooker in the club’s final trial in Port Moresby against the PNG Hunters on Saturday.
Regular No.9 Andrew McCullough remains confident he is on track with his ACL recovery and will be ready for the Telstra Premiership season opener against the St George/Illawarra Dragons on March 8, but his ability to get through a full game is under question.
Murphy, who also started against the Titans in last weekend’s trial in Toowoomba, could slot in at hooker or on the interchange bench.
Broncos forward Matt Gillett said the 27-year-old was ready to make his NRL debut if called on.
"Todd is known for his skill in the halves, but he’s shown a lot of talent there at hooker and it is something he can grab now," Gillett said.
“Macca, we are not too sure when he’ll come back, so Todd slotting in at nine is pretty good. He’s pretty sharp out of there and pretty fast.
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"He can read the game well and he has a kicking game, which you need your hooker to do.
“Murph has got a point to prove and round one is not too far around the corner. Hopefully, he can have another solid game in PNG and get those combinations right … and I could see him playing in that Broncos jersey.
"He’s been training well and performing well out on the paddock. If he gets that job I’m sure he'll do it fine."
The Broncos are tinkering with combinations and the back five is still a work in progress.
Captain Darius Boyd will be there for the clash with the Dragons while James Roberts and Jordan Kahu are also definite starters.
The other two slots appear to be a showdown between Jamayne Isaako, Jonus Pearson and Tom Opacic. That trio will play fullback, winger and centre respectively against the Hunters.
All of this is presuming Corey Oates comes off the bench as a forward and does not return to the starting wing position.
Meanwhile, despite having done it all with the Maroons and Kangaroos, Gillett said he was still driven to win his first premiership with the Broncos.
"It is our desire at the start of every season that we want to win a comp, but sometimes we aren’t playing the right footy," he said.
"It has been a while [since 2006] for the club, but as a playing group we are doing the best we can …and hopefully that GF is not that far away, but there is a lot of work to do before we can get there."
The 12-year premiership drought is raised most times a Broncos player speaks to the press these days.
At the club’s brand new headquarters the club’s six premiership trophies, and giant pictures of those winning teams, are up in the foyer for all to see.
Gillett said the significance of those images was not lost on him.
"We do look at it all the time and you think to yourself how good would it be to see your face up there and another trophy there that you’re involved in," he said.
"That is another motivation out the front of the club that we can all look at every day and have a good think about."