Broncos coach Anthony Seibold said veteran Alex Glenn made a compelling case for why he deserves a starting back-row spot this year with a hat-trick of tries in the 25-22 trial win over the Titans.
There is fierce competition for a starting second-row position with Glenn, Matt Gillett, Jaydn Su’A and David Fifita in the frame.
Glenn, one of the game’s best hole runners on an edge, scored twice off Kodi Nikorima passes and once after a neat kick by five-eighth Sean O’Sullivan in the derby clash at Cbus Super Stadium.
His attacking wiles and solid defensive skills on the left edge will be vital for success when Seibold selects his round-one team to play the Melbourne Storm.
"With the pre-season he's had and the performance he had tonight I think he commands a spot on that left edge. The edge and interchange jerseys are up for grabs and he has put his best foot forward," Seibold said.
"He was really good and probably the pick, not just for the tries he scored but I thought he was really effective in attack all night on our left edge.
"Defensively he has got a lot of experience. We have got some young guys across our group so having him on that edge builds a fair bit of connection and cohesion across that left edge."
Man mountain prop Shannon Boyd has given Gold Coast an emphatic glimpse of the impact he will have on their season after a devastating display in the opening 20 minutes.
The 126kg prop created havoc and fellow middle forwards Jarrod Wallace and Jai Arrow ran off the back of his surges.
Titans coach Garth Brennan said he was "excited" by Boyd's performance after playing him for just 20 minutes.
"It was his first hit-out for the year and we still have a bit of work to do with him in the next week or so, but he helps you get on the front foot and that helped us with our quick play the balls and ruck control where we were good at finding our front, which we lacked in the second half at times," Brennan said.
"He picked up a little bit of a jarred finger which I didn't want to risk unless there was anything more serious with it."
The Broncos lacked presence in the middle of the park apart early from Matt Lodge. The experiment of playing Gillett in the middle at lock will leave Seibold with more questions than answers, although it was his first game for Brisbane since May last year. Gillett warmed to his task as the match wore on.
Tyrone Roberts and Ash Taylor, who last played together in the halves when the Titans made the finals in 2016, complemented each other to give coach Garth Brennan a major selection headache before their first Telstra Premiership clash with Canberra.
AJ Brimson, who came off the bench, is also in the frame to partner Taylor but Roberts has done everything in his power to win a starting jersey after starring last month with the Indigenous All Stars.
Titans second-rower Bryce Cartwright made a superb tackle on Fifita early and impressed with his defensive and attacking game all-round.
Match: Titans v Broncos
Round 3 -
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast
Brillance by Taylor to tip on a pass from Roberts to Michael Gordon who sent an unmarked Brenko Lee in to score in the ninth minute.
Kevin Proctor swooped with a kick and regather after a Fifita error to score five minutes later. After concerted Titans pressure, a Taylor grubber was spilled by Darius Boyd. A hungry Proctor was there to give the Titans an 18-0 lead after 21 minutes.
Glenn then scored three tries either side of half-time before a raking Jamayne Isaako surge set up Richie Kennar for a try.
As the game opened up Nikorima came into his own and the Kiwi half took control when the Broncos needed him to step up.
Alex Glenn hat-trick lifts Broncos