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Young bucks and old-stagers in race to replace Haas

The race is on at Brisbane to find a replacement for the suspended Payne Haas with two young guns and two veterans set to fight it out, starting on Saturday night.

Haas’s suspension by the Broncos for failing to co-operate fully with the NRL Integrity Unit has opened the door for another middle forward to put up their hand for the round-one Telstra Premiership clash with the Storm.

On Saturday night against Wynnum-Manly rookie middles Pat Carrigan and Thomas Flegler will line up alongside experienced campaigners Shaun Fensom and Sam Tagataese.

Coach Anthony Seibold will play three middle forwards in his starting line-up and likely two on the bench, with another interchange forward who can play in the middle and on the edge.

Seibold said 21-year-old Carrigan and 19-year-old Flegler had "a great deal of potential" and a golden opportunity to press their claims.

Thomas Flegler at Broncos training.
Thomas Flegler at Broncos training. ©

"The challenge for Tom and Pat is to show they are up to making their debut. They will get some time against Wynnum and some time against the Gold Coast Titans next week,” Seibold said.

"Pat is in really good physical condition, he is a really coachable young guy and shows a lot of leadership skills. He will put his hand up for round one. He’ll be ready for it, whenever that opportunity presents itself.

"We’ve got a bit of competition there and a couple of old-stagers like Shaun Fenson and Sam Tagataese playing this week. They won’t want to let the young bucks jump in front of them.”

Payne's not going to walk back into the team

Tevita Pangai jnr has also been given an opportunity in the trial to lay claim to the No.13 jersey

"Why is Tevita playing this game? He needs to show he is going to be a starting player for us this year," Seibold said.

"I want him on the field and I want him to show with his actions that he wants the No.13 jersey. He has to go out there and show through his actions that he will be consistent, that's the challenge to him.

"We'll see how he handles that challenge. He’s got the jersey and it is his to keep.

"We are quite fortunate in that Dave Fifita and Jaydn Su’A are edge players but can also play through the middle. Guys like that give you some extra coverage.”

Seibold said the Broncos had made a statement about their culture by suspending Haas from all playing commitments, including Intrust Super Cup, until round five.

Broncos youngster Pat Carrigan.
Broncos youngster Pat Carrigan. ©

"Culture is a bit of a buzzword but for me it's your actions and it's what you do. You can have your fancy words in the building standing beside us and talk about that as your culture in a flash building, but it's your actions,” Seibold said.

"We need to see actions from staff and players and so on, that's your culture. The club has been decisive with the decision we made. It's been a collective decision and Payne has accepted that decision.

"He was adamant that he wants to work really hard over the next block of time and repay the club. We have invested a lot of time in Payne over the last 18 months. He will come back bigger and better and hopefully get back on the field and do his talking there.”