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Ben Te'o in action for Brisbane in 2012.

Premiership-winning forward Ben Teo’s signing with the Broncos for the rest of the 2020 season has come at just the right time as the club grapples with a critical shortage of back-rowers.

The Broncos announced the 33-year-old’s signature on Thursday an hour before kick-off in the clash with the Roosters at Suncorp Stadium where Jamil Hopoate and Ethan Bullemor, with just five NRL games to their credit between them, were set to take the field in the back-row.

Captain Alex Glenn is on the sidelines after surgery on a knee gash suffered against the Eels last week while star forward David Fifita is still weeks away from returning from knee surgery.

Tongan international Tevita Pangai jnr is not due back from a four-game suspension until round six while Keenan Palasia, who can play both prop and on an edge, is out for the entire 2020 season after rupturing his ACL in the pre-season.

Te’o, who played 75 games for the Broncos between 2009 and 2012, won a premiership with the Rabbitohs in 2014 before embarking on a successful rugby union career which led to him playing 16 Tests for England and two Tests for the British and Irish Lions.

The former Maroons representative will be the only Broncos forward on the club’s books to have won a premiership and coach Anthony Seibold has already said this year that his experience would be a huge boost if he was prepared to sign on for a minimum wage.

Te’o became available after his Super Rugby franchise the Sunwolves, based in Japan, were unable to continue to play in the 2020 competition.

Te’o, who was doing his own training at Red Hill during the COVID-19 shutdown, said he would be ready to take the field from round five against the Sea Eagles if coach Seibold wanted him to.

“It's crazy how things work out but I'm just excited to get back playing rugby league and rip in with the boys and really work hard,” Te’o said.

“Brisbane is home to me and the Broncos have always looked after me and I feel welcome here - this is the perfect place to let me play.

"The club had a spot open and need some boys and I'm ready to come and help out and play my role for the Broncos.”

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