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Kevvy turns his focus to tough calls and tough tackling

For all the positives Kevin Walters took out of his side's fightback from 26-8 down to snatch a draw with the Titans, it was the manner in which they conceded the 26 points that left him scratching his head.

After trailing 12-8 at the break the Broncos let in three tries in 15 minutes to go 18 points down before mustering three tries of their own to scramble away with a draw.

As Walters turns his attention to his team's final pre-season trial against the Cowboys on Saturday night, he knows the defensive frailties that saw the Broncos leak 29 points per game in 2021 simply won't cut it if they hope to return to finals footy.

"Our defence was horrible last week at different stages and also our ball control wasn’t where it needs to be so there's plenty to work on for everyone," Walters said on Tuesday.

"We leaked too many points last year. We have enough strike outside our halves to score points, it’s a matter of stopping them, particularly our goal line defence. That’s a big one for us this weekend."

Walters: I've got a team pencilled in

Apart from new skipper Adam Reynolds, who will be rested again this week, the other positions in the spine remain up for grabs, with Walters indicating he has ideas in his head but "someone could jump out of the ground this weekend".

"There's a battle on there [at five-eighth] but nothing is over the line until we get through this weekend ... all rugby league selections are pencilled in and then when you get to the time you need to announce a team you write them in pen," he said.

"Tyson [Gamble] will get an opportunity this weekend as well as Ezra [Mam], who hasn't had as many opportunities as the other guys. I'm trying to give them equal opportunities and they can put their best foot forward.

"I want the No.6 to be a typical half, doing good things with the ball, nice and safe, and defensively is a big one as well."

Competition for the No.9 jersey is also intense, with Cory Paix getting the chance to start against the Cowboys and Jake Turpin coming off the bench.

Both men provide the defensive intensity Walters is chasing, with Turpin averaging 41 tackles per game in 2021 and Paix racking up 25 per match across his short NRL career.

"Cory was really good last week and in the trial against Wynnum so he has been rewarded for that," Walters said.

"It's a chance for him to start and for 'Turps' to come on when opposition may be getting tired which he hasn’t really had chance to do."

Match Highlights: Titans v Broncos

Another man looking to make a statement this weekend is rising star Selwyn Cobbo, who will wear the No.1 jersey in what could well be a dress rehearsal for the season opener against Souths.

The 19-year-old made a huge impression at wing and centre in his seven NRL games last year but with extra room to move and the freedom to roam he could be a revelation at fullback.

"We have seen enough from [David] Mead and Jamayne [Isaako], we  so it’s an ideal time to see Selwyn back there for the first time at this level," Walters said.

"He's big and strong and fast, he's got a lot of good skills, but where he needs to improve and develop is his talk at the back, his communication, but he's a natural footballer and normally the natural footballers come up big on game day.

"He's a long-termer for us and the potential is there for him to be a very good player."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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