New Zealand fullback Josh Hoffman is a confirmed starter at five-eighth for the Broncos’ NRL season opener against the Bulldogs on Friday night.
Ousted from fullback by Ben Barba, Josh Hoffman has been given the key role of five-eighth for Brisbane in their NRL season opener against the Bulldogs.
Coach Anthony Griffin on Tuesday named once-disgruntled New Zealand Test fullback Hoffman in the halves alongside Ben Hunt in Friday night clash at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium.
Former Dally M Medallist Barba will run out against his former team at fullback but is set to rotate with Hoffman during the match.
Griffin had considered using teenage playmaker Kodi Nikorima at pivot after his impressive Auckland Nines campaign but finally opted for Hoffman.
It caps a remarkable reversal of fortunes for Hoffman who had reportedly asked for a release from the Broncos in a mooted move to replace Barba at Canterbury in the off-season.
The incumbent fullback had been unhappy with the Broncos’ recruitment of Barba who earned NRL superstar status in 2012 wearing a No.1 jersey.
But recent 90 minute peace talks with the Broncos finally ended the three-month contract wrangle.
In the off-season teammate Justin Hodges claimed Hoffman “was not the right guy” to play fullback because he needed to improve his passing game.
But Hunt on Tuesday looked forward to combining with Hoffman in the halves.
“I think he will be best suited as a support player, a runner of the ball type five-eighth,” Hunt said.
“If he plays that style he should go well.”
Josh McGuire was unveiled as co-captain Corey Parker’s front-row partner in an 18-man squad.
Dale Copley slotted into the centres with co-captain Justin Hodges expected to miss the first four rounds recovering from an Achilles injury.
Former Dragons utility Daniel Vidot was named on the wing along with Lachlan Maranta while off-season recruits Todd Lowrie and Martin Kennedy featured on the five-man bench.
Broncos squad: Ben Barba, Daniel Vidot, Jack Reed, Dale Copley, Lachlan Maranta, Josh Hoffman, Ben Hunt, Josh McGuire, Andrew McCullough, Corey Parker (capt), Alex Glenn, Sam Thaiday, Matt Gillett. Interchange: Ben Hannant, Martin Kennedy, Todd Lowrie, Jarrod Wallace, David Hala (one to be ommitted).