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Arthars to play wing against Cowboys, Isaako to bench

New recruit Jesse Arthars is set to win the hotly contested right wing position for Brisbane in round one after spending all of Tuesday’s training session in the position.

Jamayne Isaako, who has been beaten to the starting fullback position by Jack Bird, is set to be named on the bench as a utility.

Back-rower Jamil Hopoate also trained with the main squad on Tuesday in a sign he is on the cusp of making his NRL debut for the Broncos with the team also short of several forwards with Matt Lodge injured and Joe Ofahengaue suspended.

Captain Alex Glenn, who is battling a hamstring injury, did not train but was seen watching the session closely. Glenn will be named in a 21-man squad by Brisbane and will be given every opportunity to prove his fitness.

With Bird to play fullback against the Cowboys, the right wing position was the only spot in the backs that was up for grabs for Brisbane with Arthars, Xavier Coates and Isaako the main contenders.

In a video released by the Broncos on Wednesday coach Seibold said that the players who would line up against the Cowboys had all been notified.

It was clear from Tuesday's session that Arthars had won the race.

The main group, which had Arthars on the right wing, trained against the rest of the squad on Tuesday which also contained Coates and Isaako at wing and fullback respectively.

Arthars, 21, scored two tries in the trial with the Cowboys and has been impressive in the pre-season training in multiple positions.

Seibold: Bird was a standout

His athleticism, speed and game awareness has impressed coach Anthony Seibold.

In last Saturday night’s trial loss to the Titans, both Coates and Arthars spent time on the wing.

After the game Seibold said Coates had improved from the previous week’s display against the Cowboys before adding that "I also liked Jesse Arthars when he came on in the second half as well".

"So there is a decision to be made there," Seibold said.

Arthars also played 12 NRL games with the Titans last year and has the edge on Coates experience-wise.

After Tuesday’s  session Kotoni Staggs took most of the shots at goal in a sign that Isaako would not be in the starting 13, but Seibold has a history of fielding an extra utility player on the bench who can cover outside back positions so Isaako is set to be utilised in that role.

Seibold used Gehamat Shibasaki in that role last year and at South Sydney played either Hymel Hunt or Adam Doueihi as a backline utility. 

Seibold provided a clue as to why Isaako appears to have been overlooked for the starting wing position in an interview last month.

"One thing I will say about Jamayne is that I think he is a fullback and not a winger. I have persisted with him on the wing last year but I think he is a fullback," Seibold said at the time.

If Glenn is ruled out of the clash with the Cowboys then club legend and board member Darren Lockyer said Pat Carrigan, who captained the side against the Titans superbly, would be able to step up.

"Pat is an impressive young kid and just because they are young and haven’t played a lot of games doesn’t mean they are not a natural leader," Lockyer said.

"Pat is one of those and he is getting invaluable experience while Alex Glenn isn’t there."