Darius Boyd insists Sean O’Sullivan is ready to fire as his new halves partner as the Broncos prepare for a showdown with Wayne Bennett’s Rabbitohs at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
The Broncos have lost Jake Turpin for two weeks due to suspension and O’Sullivan, who turns 21 on Wednesday, returns to the No.7 jersey for the first time since the 24-22 win over the Sharks in round 16 when he starred in the first half before suffering a hamstring injury.
Brisbane have fielded seven halves combinations this year with Kodi Nikorima and Anthony Milford starting the season. Tom Dearden, who won’t play again this year after reinjuring his ankle, then lined up with Milford before his injury paved the way for O’Sullivan to play at No.7 against the Eels.
Coach Anthony Seibold then switched Milford to fullback and O’Sullivan partnered Boyd and Turpin against the Knights and Sharks respectively.
Boyd and Turpin then had six games together in the halves with success.
"Sean is just a footballer. He is a halfback. He knows the game plan and manages things well, and he is a good talker. He will be fine," Boyd said of his new halves partner.
"I am not putting any pressure on him but he knows football. He has been playing the game a long time and his family has been around the game a long time. He has only played four first grade games but he just knows how to run a team.
"I am really confident in Sean. Turps did a great job but he had never played halfback before so I am sure a halfback can do a pretty good job in his own position.”
O’Sullivan is a left-foot kicker and prefers playing on the left but will line up on the right side against the Rabbitohs with Boyd staying on his preferred left side.
"The way we play our halfback plays both sides of the field. Me and Milf kind of hold the left and hold the right. Sean is going to go both sides of the field so he can basically do what he wants," Boyd said.
"He will be first receiver both sides so he can come around and kick on the left and the right. Milly can hold on the right and kick. If I have to, I can kick. Macca [Andrew McCullough] can kick too. I don’t think it will matter. He has played on the right before in the Queensland Cup."
O’Sullivan’s brother-in-law is Matt Lodge and the Broncos prop said he had no doubt the new No.7 would be capable of bossing the forwards and steering Brisbane around the park.
"He has grown up in the No.7 his whole life and knows the game better than anyone in the whole building here. No one questions that he knows the game like the back of his hand so hopefully he can be loud and be that person we’ve been lacking," Lodge said.
"He has got two weeks to put his best foot forward going into the finals. He has been waiting a while for the opportunity and knows he needs to take it.
"Sean has had a bit of bad luck with injuries. He got that chance [against Cronulla] and came good before getting injured. He worked hard on his rehab and had two good games in the Q Cup. He knows he can get us around the park.
"Hopefully he can transfer all that to the rest of the boys and fix some things up that he thinks he can do with our attack."
Lodge said the 38-6 loss to South Sydney in round eight was irrelevant to the outcome of Friday night’s clash. The Broncos, in seventh place on the ladder, can go a long way towards wrapping up a finals spot with a win over the misfiring Rabbitohs.
"If we want to be any chance of playing finals we need to turn up for games like this. I remember we hardly touched the ball the first 20 minutes [in round eight] and everything went against us early. If we do the little things well it will make a difference this time," Lodge said.
"We have a different team to what ran out back then. It is a totally different scenario and we go into this game not worrying about what happened last time we played them.
"I’ve noticed they have been on the slide a bit but I am sure Wayne will get them firing at the right end of the year. They will turn up at Suncorp ready to play."