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Broncos pair Jack Bird and Corey Oates.

Powerhouse Broncos winger Corey Oates is hoping Jack Bird can become the regular centre partner he lacked in 2018.

Oates had six different players line up next to him last year, with Bird joining Jordan Kahu, James Roberts and Tom Opacic in the left centre spot inside the opening 10 rounds.

Darius Boyd and Kotoni Staggs also spent limited time in the position. The constant changes didn't stop Oates from scoring 18 tries - the most by a Brisbane player. 

Oates said the extended run Bird is expected to get at left centre this year would also benefit five-eighth Anthony Milford.

"I feel like we did well as an edge considering, but if we could keep Birdy there and the same edge for the whole year, with everyone confident and playing well we can challenge teams," Oates told

"I think we had about six different combinations last year. There was a month where we didn't have the same left centre in back-to-back games. It was some unbelievable stat.

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"As an edge, you need to work well together and if you are always chopping and changing it is tough for Milf [Anthony Milford] as well to know what his centre is going to dish up and just so hard to get a combination going."

In the Broncos golden era of the 1990s, Kevin Walters, Steve Renouf and Michael Hancock created havoc on the left side as a regular combination.

Last year in the Telstra Premiership the South Sydney left side attack was potent with Cody Walker, Greg Inglis and Robert Jennings working in tandem.

"We want to be a feared edge like that and I feel like we can be with Birdy as an X-factor player," Oates said.

"He is a great player already in my opinion. He played a couple of times there last year and I really enjoyed those games with him.

"Obviously he wasn't playing to his maximum potential because of the [sternum] injury he had but this year he is looking fit and training hard.

"We've spoken about how much we want to have a good combination together. He's just real positive about it, which is great, so I'm really looking forward to what we can do together. Milf is the fittest I have ever seen him. It is exciting to be honest."

Bird has been a right side player throughout his career and is where he won a title with the Cronulla Sharks, so there are challenges ahead.

"He has always played right side and his natural pass is left to right and not right to left but he has been working on his passing and all the little things so that when the option comes he doesn’t stuff it up," Oates said.

"I think he will go really well there. He has that natural ability to skip along and find a hole, and he is strong and hard to tackle."

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