You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Broncos and NSW centre James Roberts.

NSW centre James Roberts will be rested by the Broncos for Sunday's clash with long-time rivals Melbourne, with Tom Opacic stepping into the vacant right centre position.

The Broncos' other Origin reps Anthony Millford, Josh McGuire and Andrew McCullough will all back up.

Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett said Roberts needed to rest the minor Achilles injury he had been carrying but it would not stop him playing next weekend or in Origin II.

McGuire will run out for the Broncos for the first time since round eight because of an ankle injury. He suffered a minor cork at today's captain's run but Bennett said he is fine to play. However, Sam Tagataese will travel to Melbourne as a back-up.

It's a big plus for the Broncos to be able to field McGuire and Alex Glenn, who returns from a knee injury after missing the previous three rounds.

"They bring experience but we've left two good players off on the bench who have been playing great for us in Tevita Pangai and Joe Ofahengaue," Bennett said.

"It's nice to think your bench is going to be stronger. It gives us a better all-round forward pack."

Melbourne have won the past 14 clashes with Brisbane and the Broncos will need big efforts from their forward leaders and skipper Darius Boyd.

Broncos coach Wayne Bennett with captain Darius Boyd.
Broncos coach Wayne Bennett with captain Darius Boyd. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

Bennett endorsed Boyd as ready to return to the Queensland side if Kevin Walters is beset by injury or looking for change for the second clash in Sydney. He says Boyd has no mission to prove himself against the Storm.

"I don't think he has anything to prove to anybody," Bennett said.

"He is a 28-game State of Origin player; he's done a great job and he's doing a great job for us here.

"He has to play well, there's no doubt about that but it's not about proving something to somebody, we all know what he can do."

He also claims it would be no gamble to blood Ofahengaue at Origin level, after some consistent good form this season.

"As Andrew McCullough said to me, it's not much different to club football, it's just faster," Bennett said.

"If you're handling club football, and Joe is handling football really well, he'll step up to it.

"They play against each other every week these guys so I don't know what the mystique is that you're a top line club player but you can't play Origin, it's ridiculous.

"The speed makes a difference, but not to your ability."

Bennett revealed Brisbane would be without mainstay forward Matt Gillett for another month at least because of his neck injury that has sidelined him since round five.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Premier Partner

Media Partners

Major Partners

View All Partners