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Bird and Boyd named as Broncos roll out big guns in trial

The battle for outside back positions at the Broncos is set to heat up in Rockhampton with Jack Bird named at fullback and Darius Boyd at centre for the trial clash with CQ Capras.

Veteran Boyd has blitzed it in pre-season training and has emerged as the front-runner to make the switch to the left centre position after playing the back half of last year at five-eighth.

The Broncos have named their 20-man squad for the February 15 clash which also includes 2019 first grade regulars Andrew McCullough, Joe Ofahengaue, Tevita Pangai Jnr and Pat Carrigan in the starting lineup.

If the pre-season at Red Hill has revealed one thing it is the genuine battle between at least nine players for five outside back positions.

While Jamayne Isaako, who will play at the NRL Nines in Perth, is favoured to start at fullback he is being pushed hard by Bird and former Titan Jesse Arthars.

Last year's debutants Xavier Coates, Herbie Farnworth and Izaia Perese are in a battle with Corey Oates for two wing positions. Kotoni Staggs is on track to claim the right centre position with Boyd leading the way in the battle for left centre.

Broncos veteran Darius Boyd.
Broncos veteran Darius Boyd. ©NRL Photos

Boyd did spend time before Christmas training on the wing but most of the sessions NRL.com has attended in the past month he has been at left centre. As a player with a noted slick right-to-left pass it is at left centre where Boyd's most likely starting position appears to be for the round one clash with the Cowboys.

"Darius seems really comfortable there and to be fair he is the leading contender for that position," coach Anthony Seibold told NRL.com.

"His training has solidified that spot for him I think and I am looking forward to see him playing some minutes there.

"The left-hand side suits him. He has got a good right to left pass and there is an opportunity for him to play out the back of shape on that side, and he is a very good defensive player.

"I am very happy with how Darius has trained in the pre-season. He has been the ultimate professional as I knew he would be."

Seibold has given Bird time at fullback during training, a position he last played back in round four of 2017 for the Sharks.

The 24-year-old has only started three of his 83 Telstra Premiership games in the number one jersey but Seibold is keen to give him time in the role during his first game back from injury.

"Jack can play multiple positions and the trials are a time for experiment because you don't get that luxury during the year too much," Seibold told NRL.com.

"He has done a fair bit of work in the centres and fullback in the pre-season and we want to create some depth in positions and create competition for spots.

"These are genuine trials for position. That is what you want it to be and that is what the players expect it to be."

Seibold said he was proud to take such a quality squad to Browne Park in Rockhampton "to give the people of Central Queensland an opportunity to see some legends of our game".

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"Darius is a legend of our game. He has played over 300 games, won two grand finals with different clubs and is a Clive Churchill Medal winner," Seibold said.

"Jack Bird is a premiership winner and has played Origin, as have Joe Ofahengaue and Andrew McCullough. It is a great opportunity for people who don't often see these guys in the flesh to see them run out at Browne Park and to promote the game in our regional areas."

Broncos trial side: 1. Jack Bird, 2. Richie Kennar, 3. Darius Boyd, 4. Bessie Aufaga-To'omaga, 5. Jon Reuben, 6. Darren Nicholls, 7. Tyson Gamble, 8. Rhys Kennedy, 9. Andrew McCullough, 10. Joe Ofahengaue, 11. Jamil Hopoate, 12. Tevita Pangai Jnr, 13. Patrick Carrigan, 14. Kobe Hetherington, 15. Jordan Riki, 16. Pride Petterson-Robati, 17. Lachlan Timm, 18. Jack Martin, 19. Guy Hamilton, 20. Brendan Piakura.