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Brisbane winger Xavier Coates.

The spirit is willing but the cavalry is dwindling with Brisbane coach Kevin Walters forced to dig deep into his roster for next week’s derby against the Titans.

While winger Xavier Coates (neck) and utility John Asiata (neck/shoulder) were cleared of serious injury after scans in hospital following the round one loss to Parramatta, both remain in doubt for Friday’s trip down the M1 to face the Titans.

"Xavier still has a sore neck but his scan was clear and he has improved today," said Broncos head of performance Andrew Croll.

"John Asiata also received a clear scan but is still experiencing some neck soreness.

"Both Xavier and John will be assessed in the coming days to determine if they will be available to play – but player welfare will be paramount in any decision made."

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Prop Matt Lodge (hamstring) will have an MRI scan on Saturday but the Broncos believe he suffered a low-grade strain and is set to miss up to two weeks, joining established stars Payne Haas (suspension) and Kotoni Staggs (knee) on the sidelines.

The injury toll from the painful defeat adds another layer of challenge for the Broncos and Walters’ quest to get them firing again with the likes of Rhys Kennedy, Keenan Palasia, Corey Oates and Cory Paix among the contenders considered for selection.

Walters counting wounded as Asiata and Coates taken to hospital

Halfback Brodie Croft is confident the Broncos can regroup and was buoyed by the resolve shown by his men in the Eels defeat, as they kept fighting for every moment despite being clearly out on their feet as the lack of manpower paid a heavy toll late in the game.

"There’s a lot of spirit in this team. Kevvie has been a big driver of the culture of this club and what it means to be a Brisbane Bronco," Croft said.

"Certainly there is a lot to look forward to off the back of that performance but I will say it again we can’t be happy with a loss but it’s something to build off."

Croft remains hopeful Walters continues to show faith in him after a tough selection battle waged with young gun Tom Dearden in the preseason.

"This is the start of the season and there’s a lot of good signs out there for us [him and five-eighth Anthony Milford]," Croft said.

"We can’t be happy with losses but certainly it’s a starting platform and we will go from there. Hopefully, he does keep the faith."

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But Croft knows if he does retain the No.7 jersey he will face former teammate David Fifita next week – a task he knows will require total commitment.

"He is a special talent and can do some really special things on a footy field that not many other players can do especially just his individual talent with the ball, he can make things happen," Croft said.

"So if he is on the edge next week I will definitely have to strap the shoulders on and give my all in the contact."

 

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