Tom Dearden has been urged to take full ownership of Brisbane's attack with the young gun set to be given an extended run in the No.7 jersey to prove he is their best option as playmaking chief for now and the future.
Dearden was thrust into the starting side at the expense of Brodie Croft for last Friday’s 40-6 loss to Melbourne but with the Broncos craving some continuity around the scrumbase it is expected the 20-year-old will get a prolonged run in the starting side.
Coach Kevin Walters is still trying to figure out his best halves combination with Dearden, Croft and Anthony Milford jostling for starting spots, however Dearden is viewed as their man for the future who just needs time in the NRL to bring out his best.
Fullback Jamayne Isaako said Dearden’s running game was his major strength and believes the youngster can help relieve the pressure off Milford by taking the steering wheel of the team in attack to allow the maligned five-eighth time and space to shine.
Milford seemed to assume the dominant playmaking duties against the Storm, taking full control of their kicking game and handling the ball 56 times compared to Dearden’s 48.
If Dearden can get the ball in his hands more often and take the line on, he had just nine runs for 65m last week, the Broncos attack will be far more threatening.
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"We all know what Tommy can bring and what he is capable of and his running game is the strong point of his game play," Isaako said.
"Where Tommy is and in that No.7 jersey I think he probably needs to own that role a little bit more and take control and take a bit of the heat off Milf.
"At the moment I still think he is doing a pretty good job.
"Chopping and changing halves all the time can sometimes ruin the confidence of the team but everyone knows that if you don’t play well and don’t put in, your spot can be up for the next person who is working and driving to play in the jersey.
"At the moment we’ve got young Tommy and Milf doing the job for us in the halves and Brodie is on the bench there which adds a bit of spark for him to come onto the field.
"We’re trying to work on building the team with what we’ve got at the moment and doing all we can do moving forward."
Dearden’s opportunity couldn’t have come at a tougher time. After the Storm last week he faces in-form South Sydney at Stadium Australia on Thursday night then unbeaten Penrith in Brisbane in what is possibly the toughest three-week stretch of their season.
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And the Broncos will have to try to upset the Rabbitohs without centre Herbie Farnworth, who has been ruled out with a shoulder injury after he experienced some soreness after last week’s game which has not settled down.
Even though Souths will be without the suspended Cody Walker, but that just means more focus must go into stopping fullback Latrell Mitchell who has five try assists for the season to continue his development as a ball-player not just a hole runner.
"We all know that Souths tend to link up all their three ball-players when they’re attacking with good ball and Latrell’s passing game has certainly developed since he’s been at Souths," Isaako said.
"If we limit those passes and his running game this Thursday night we should be able to do a job on him."