Instead of sending an SOS to Ben Te’o, Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold has backed his depleted pack to rise to the challenge in Thursday’s NRL clash with Sydney Roosters.
But Seibold says bench big men Matt Lodge and Joe Ofahengaue must do more to help his injury and suspension hit forward stocks after their latest blow – the loss of captain Alex Glenn.
Back-rower Glenn suffered a nasty leg gash, which required surgery, in their 34-6 loss to Parramatta.
It will sideline him alongside fellow forwards David Fifita (knee) and Tevita Pangai (suspension).
There were also concerns for hooker Jake Turpin after youngster Cory Paix trained at No.9 at Red Hill on Tuesday.
It seemed the stage was set for Seibold to lure rugby convert Te’o after confirming interest in the former Queensland State of Origin forward.
Te’o, 33, has been linked to the Broncos since being spotted training in Brisbane after his Japanese Super Rugby club Sunwolves were sidelined in March due to coronavirus.
Seibold confirmed he would speak with former England rugby international Te’o – who last played NRL in 2014 – with the Sunwolves not involved in the Super Rugby relaunch in July.
However, the Broncos mentor threw his support behind his current batch of forwards although demanded more from Lodge and Ofahengaue against the two-time defending premiers.
Lodge returned from a knee injury while Ofahengaue played his first match back from suspension against the Eels.
“Guys like Payne Haas, Tom Flegler, Pat Carrigan… the way they have started the season has been really solid,” Seibold said of his starting pack.
“We need Matt Lodge and Joe Ofahengaue to be better off the bench and I think they will be.”
When pressed on Te’o, Seibold said: “There is a real big chunk of our salary cap missing.
“As far as reinforcements are concerned… everyone knows Ben Te’o’s name has been tossed up.
“We will make contact with Ben at some stage to see how interested he is in playing rugby league.”
Ethan Bullemor, 20, looks set to replace Glenn in the starting side against the Roosters.
Brisbane’s backline will also have a new look with Herbie Farnworth on the wing in a reshuffle caused by centre Kotoni Staggs’ suspension while 18-year-old Tonga international Tesi Niu makes his NRL debut from the bench.
Seibold said halfback Brodie Croft and Carrigan would share the captaincy in Glenn’s absence.