Former rugby league hard man Steve Roach has scoffed at Brisbane’s decision to slot winger Corey Oates in to the back-row for Thursday’s NRL clash with Manly, saying it is not going to work.
While the Broncos’ forward depth has been tested with the likes of captain Alex Glenn, David Fifita and Tevita Pangai sidelined, Broncos coach Anthony Seibold still raised eyebrows when he named the lanky flyer in the second-row against the Sea Eagles.
Oates spent his junior days in the back-row and even played four games for Brisbane in that position back in 2014 – his second NRL season.
But Roach laughed at Brisbane’s “band-aid solution” to thrust Oates into their depleted forward pack as they tried to bounce back from last round’s record 59-0 loss to Sydney Roosters.
Roach said Oates would be targeted and believed it would be a matter of time before he was exposed in defence.
“I think it is a band aid solution,” he told Fox League’s NRL Tonight.
“Just think of the traffic that is going to be coming at this bloke.
“How any tackles does a winger do – 10, 12?
“I can’t believe for the life of me why a winger would want to be a back-rower – I can’t see how it is going to work.”
Roach also questioned Seibold’s decision to fast track rugby convert Ben Te’o’s NRL return.
Former England rugby international Te’o will come off the bench in his first NRL game since 2014 after answering an SOS and signing with the Broncos for the rest of 2020.
Seibold believed it would take a few more weeks to get Te’o match fit when asked about the former Queensland Origin star’s availability after their record loss to the Roosters.
But Seibold has asked Te’o to run out against the Sea Eagles – a move Roach believed may backfire.
“He hasn’t played for six years. The physical contact in rugby league is 10 times harder than what he has been playing the last six years,” he said.
“It’s going to take him a while to adjust.”