Brisbane have suffered a late blow ahead of their NRL clash with Cronulla on Friday night after an injury to Dale Copley.
The speedster trudged off the field towards the end of the Broncos’ final training session with a calf injury and coach Wayne Bennett confirmed he will not travel to face the Sharks in Sydney.
Young utility Corey Oates will be named in Copley’s place on the left wing.
“He limped off, he won’t be back, he won’t play tomorrow night,” Bennett said.
“Corey has done everything right, he played well last week for the Capras (in the Queensland Cup).
“The feedback on him was good so hopefully he takes his chance.”
Bennett said he expected Copley to be out for longer than just this weekend, with scans set to determine the full extent of the injury.
The Broncos’ leading tryscorer last year, Copley’s absence will suck further experience from a Brisbane side still reeling from their opening round loss to South Sydney last week.
Bennett is already set to hand NRL debuts to rookies Kodi Nikorima and Joe Ofahengaue, who have been named to start off the bench against Cronulla.
Bennett said he was looking forward to see what the pair can produce.
“I have no fears for Joe,” he said.
“He won’t be a regular this year but he’s on the journey to becoming an NRL player here.
“(Nikorima) is quick, hopefully he brings something.
“I just want to let them get out there and play and get it behind them.
“It’s always nice to see them get an opportunity – I just want to see them nail it. That would be nicer.”
Nikorima and Ofahengaue will be joined on the bench by veteran forward Sam Thaiday, who became the first victim of Brisbane’s poor start to the NRL season with his demotion earlier this week.
Bennett was curt when asked about how Thaiday had responded to being dropped.
“I don’t know,” he said.
When asked about Thaiday’s mood, Bennett was equally succinct.
“He’s all good. No dramas,” he said.