Broncos veteran Andrew McCullough made it clear he won’t be giving up his No.9 jersey without a fight after a strong performance in a 36-18 trial win over the CQ Capras in Rockhampton.
The 30-year-old is being challenged by Jake Turpin for a starting berth in round one against the Cowboys but the 258-gamer was all class against CQ.
Big guns Darius Boyd, Tevita Pangai Jnr, Pat Carrigan, Joe Ofahengaue and McCullough all played 40 minutes while Jack Bird impressed in his opening 30 minute stint at fullback in his first game back from an ACL injury suffered last year.
The Broncos led 18-6 at half-time through tries to Pangai, Jon Reuben and Richie Kennar after McCullough was heavily involved in attack and defence.
McCullough, who played three State of Origin games for Queensland in 2018, has not played Intrust Super Cup since 2011 and he has no intention of finishing his career there.
Match Highlights: Capras v Broncos
While the game in Central Queensland was a trial there is great competition for spots across a range of positions at the Broncos and the coaching staff is looking for intent.
That is what they got from McCullough, who is being challenged by Turpin and Cory Paix who both played at the NRL Nines in Perth.
Assistant coach Ben Cross said McCullough was the ultimate pro against the Capras in a stint that showcased class in attack and defence.
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"Andrew was a strong defender as always in the middle.. and after a few quick play the balls was able to scamper out and laid on a pass for a try," Cross said.
"He ran the forwards onto the ball well and after we got a few quick play the balls he took the guys over the advantage line straight away which is a strength of his game.
“We thought Turpin and Paix were the best to go with at the Nines and Macca’s best position was here with 13-on-13.
"As a club you want guys knowing they have to be at their best every week. When you have that competitive environment you drive the best out of your players."
Cross said there were errors early in the game as their often are in pre-season matches but when the Broncos got into the game they started to gel.
All eyes were on Boyd in his new position of left centre and Bird in his switch to fullback and return from injury, and both performed well.
"Darius was pretty impressive on the left edge and made a couple of good line breaks and had a few silky touches," Cross said.
"Jack was very strong in a couple of his carries and touches, and was threatening down the short side as well. Defensively he was quite directive with his talk and his body language and gave a good account of himself in that position."
Kobe Hetherington darted over from close range just after the break to give Brisbane a 24-6 advantage, a special moment for the 20-year-old utility who was playing in front of his father and former Maroons hooker Jason Hetherington.
Further tries to Tyson Gamble and Josh James completed the Broncos scoring while halfback Gamble also landed six goals in an impressive 16-point haul.