Ben Te’o looms as the answer to Brisbane’s backrower shortage after captain Alex Glenn was the latest to fall following a nasty leg injury in Thursday’s heavy NRL loss to Parramatta.
Glenn, in his first game as Broncos captain, missed the entire second half of the 34-6 defeat and on Friday underwent surgery to clean what was described as a “deep laceration” by the club’s head of performance Paul Devlin.
He must wait for the wound to heal before he can return to training, opening up the prospect of several more weeks on the sideline for the luckless new skipper.
It compounds problems for coach Anthony Seibold given heavy-hitting pair David Fifita (knee) and Tevita Pangai Jnr (suspension) will also be missing.
And the selection headache is set to get even worse for Seibold, given in-form centre Kotoni Staggs is facing a one-week suspension with an early guilty plea following a grade-two careless high-tackle charge on Thursday night.
The match at Suncorp Stadium was Glenn’s first since being appointed Broncos captain after missing the opening two matches with a hamstring injury.
In his absence the Broncos conceded 22 points to nil as the Eels romped to a comfortable win.
“We’ll probably have our three key edge backrowers gone … we’ll have to see what we do there,” Seibold said.
“Losing Alex at halftime, had to shuffle a few players around, just probably we didn’t quite handle that.
“They’re big outs but it’s not the reason why we lost.”
Glenn’s absence strengthens the likelihood of Ben Te’o’s Red Hill return after the former Bronco, who has played rugby union since 2014, was linked to a move last week.
Te’o had been playing for Japan’s Sunwolves before the Super Rugby season was halted in March.
But that contract is set to expire, with the Sunwolves at long odds to be part of the re-launched Super Rugby AU in July and Te’o already training with the Broncos’ supplementary squad at Red Hill.
The Broncos have created another opening in their squad with the offload of hooker Andrew McCullough to Newcastle, although Te’o would still need to take a significant pay cut to squeeze into the club’s salary cap.
The 33-year-old former Queensland backrower, who won an NRL title with South Sydney in 2014, could also play a role in the centres.