Former Broncos captain Sam Thaiday has hinted that prized recruit Ben Barba’s foot injury may be more serious than first thought ahead of the NRL kick-off.
Trial form doesn’t worry Sam Thaiday but it seems prized recruit Ben Barba’s lingering foot problem is making the former Broncos captain a bit anxious ahead of the NRL season kick-off.
Thaiday did not think alarms bells were ringing for Brisbane after being thrashed 48-4 by New Zealand Warriors on Sunday, ensuring they conceded a total of 80 points and scored just 12 in their two pre-season trials.
And a question mark still lingering over who will play five-eighth also didn’t bother the Test backrower.
However, Thaiday did sound concerned for Barba as the former Dally M Medallist raced the clock to prove his fitness for their March 7 season opener away to his former club the Bulldogs.
The Broncos claimed Barba missed the Warriors rout in Dunedin as a precaution.
But Thaiday hinted that Barba’s injury was more serious than first thought.
“I hope he is at home right now icing his foot up,” he said.
“It would be fantastic not just for us but also the fans to see him wear the Broncos jersey in the first round against his old club.
“Hopefully it works out, it is a fairytale for him and we can come away with the two points.”
Barba’s absence gave incumbent fullback Hoffman one last crack at the No.1 Broncos jersey against the Warriors.
However, Hoffman came off the field clutching his ribs after a shuddering 57th minute hit adding to a frustrating day for the Broncos – not that Thaiday was letting on.
Asked about their 80-12 trial tally, Thaiday said: “They are trial matches, not worth any points at all.
“We had Matt Gillett and Alex Glenn have early showers (against Warriors) and we were missing a lot of key players.
“We haven’t even started yet.”
Broncos coach Anthony Griffin may not have confirmed his first choice No.6 but Thaiday believed fullback rivals Hoffman and Barba may also fight it out for five-eighth with 170cm teenage prospect Kodi Nikorima.
“I think the beauty of it is that we have options. We can have Ben or Josh play there and I think the idea is for those two to chop and change (between fullback and five-eighth),” Thaiday said.
“That would be a great option.”
Hoffman only last week decided he would see out the final two years of his contract after reportedly asking for a release when Barba was recruited, threatening his No.1 jersey.
“Apart from all that they are great mates, they are enjoying themselves and are pumped for the season to start,” Thaiday said of Hoffman and Barba.