Broncos captain Darius Boyd has encouraged star centre James Roberts to be diligent with his rehab on an injured Achilles that has proved to be a ticking time bomb.
Roberts has been ruled out of the clash with the Sydney Roosters on Thursday night with an aggravation of the complaint which hampered his 2018 season.
Kotoni Staggs will move from the bench to start in the centres where a showdown with NSW centre Latrell Mitchell looms.
Roberts scored a 90m try in the 25-24 loss to the Dragons last Thursday night where he aggravated his Achilles injury.
He was hobbling at training on Tuesday but not with the main group which led to speculation amongst journalists that he may have been dropped. Boyd said he was "definitely not dropped" but needed a rest for his long-term well being.
"He is a bit of a Ferrari old Jimmy. He runs fast and we need him to be at his best but his Achilles is hampering him a little bit so he is having a rest this week so hopefully we can get it right for next week," Boyd said.
"Staggs gets his opportunity and he is a young kid with a lot of talent and very competitive. Jimmy played Origin last year and is at the prime of his career but we need Jimmy at his best and doing the little things well. It is an opportunity for him to have a rest and get his body right."
Boyd snapped his Achilles in the pre-season of 2015 but returned to play ahead of schedule. The Brisbane captain is a stickler for covering all bases in his rehab.
Roberts showed great courage to play through his injury last year but Broncos staff want him to be more diligent with his rehab exercises which Boyd said was the key to recovery.
"There are a lot of things you can do with calf strength in particular," Boyd said.
"I didn't have the pain so much, mine just kind of went. Jimmy’s hasn't gone, which is lucky, but he need to do a lot of calf work. That is the key, to strengthen other areas because the Achilles is a hard one to work on."
Boyd said he also had to work on his defensive decision making after going for intercepts when Jesse Bromwich and Cameron McInnes broke through the line for tries for the Storm and the Dragons.
"When they do come through, I've got to make the right decision which is tackling the guy and not going for the intercept," Boyd said.
"That is my fault and something I need to fix up. Collectively, defence wins games and in big games we need to defend well."
The Broncos welcome Matt Lodge back from suspension with Tevita Pangai Jnr set to start at lock and Matt Gillett moving to the right edge where Boyd said he would stiffen up the defensive line.
Boyd said the Broncos were still searching for consistency and would need to be at their the best against the premiers. Nullifying an on-fire James Tedesco and Luke Keary is high on the agenda but with Cooper Cronk set to return from injury at halfback the Broncos' job has got tougher.
"Keary is the one that runs the ball a lot more and really works off the back of Cooper steering the ship.
Match: Roosters v Broncos
Round 4 -
Fullback for Roosters is number 1 James TedescoFullback for Broncos is number 1 Darius Boyd
Winger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel TupouWinger for Broncos is number 2 Corey Oates
Centre for Roosters is number 3 Latrell MitchellCentre for Broncos is number 3 Kotoni Staggs
Centre for Roosters is number 4 Joseph ManuCentre for Broncos is number 4 Jack Bird
Winger for Roosters is number 5 Matt IkuvaluWinger for Broncos is number 5 Jamayne Isaako
Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Luke KearyFive-Eighth for Broncos is number 6 Anthony Milford
Halfback for Roosters is number 7 Cooper CronkHalfback for Broncos is number 7 Kodi Nikorima
Prop for Roosters is number 10 Siosiua TaukeiahoProp for Broncos is number 8 Matthew Lodge
Hooker for Roosters is number 9 Victor RadleyHooker for Broncos is number 9 Andrew McCullough
Prop for Roosters is number 15 Zane TetevanoProp for Broncos is number 10 Joe Ofahengaue
2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Boyd Cordner2nd Row for Broncos is number 11 Alex Glenn
2nd Row for Roosters is number 17 Angus Crichton2nd Row for Broncos is number 12 Matt Gillett
Lock for Roosters is number 13 Isaac LiuLock for Broncos is number 13 Tevita Pangai Junior
Interchange for Roosters is number 12 Mitchell AubussonInterchange for Broncos is number 14 Gehamat Shibasaki
Interchange for Roosters is number 14 Lindsay CollinsInterchange for Broncos is number 15 Jaydn Su'a
Interchange for Roosters is number 16 Poasa FaamausiliInterchange for Broncos is number 16 Thomas Flegler
Interchange for Roosters is number 18 Nat ButcherInterchange for Broncos is number 17 David Fifita
- Referee: Ashley Klein
- Referee: Phil Henderson
- Touch Judge: Nick Beashel
- Senior Review Official: Steve Chiddy
"Coops is probably the best game manager in the game so he will be controlling the team and getting them where they need to be, and then you'll see Keary off the back of that," Boyd said.
"Whenever they are playing together we need to make sure we are identifying where they are and talking in the defensive line. Tedesco's someone we will have to watch. We've done some video on him and seen where he pops up and how he likes to play. They have a quality spine that will work well together and we'll need to do well to nullify them."