Under-fire Darius Boyd is crucial for Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold, as an inexperienced Broncos prepare to face Cronulla on Sunday.
Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold has dismissed any suggestion of dropping under-fire Darius Boyd as an inexperienced Broncos prepare to face Cronulla on Sunday.
The Broncos haven't won an NRL match since May and will take on the Sharks with Keenan Palasia, Herbie Farnworth and Xavier Coates all making their NRL debuts.
Rhys Kennedy will also make his Broncos debut after his mid-season switch from South Sydney as State of Origin and injuries decimate Seibold's options.
Matt Gillett, Corey Oates, Joe Ofahengaue and David Fifita have all gone into camp with Queensland, while Anthony Milford (knee) and Richie Kennar (shoulder) picked up injuries last weekend against Newcastle and Jamayne Isaako (family issue) remains unavailable.
Seibold says with so little experience available against the Sharks, club captain Boyd is as important as ever for the Broncos despite his underwhelming 2019 form.
"There has been no thought of dropping Darius," Seibold said.
"We have got a group that needs some experience.
"Tomorrow we go down there with 11 guys with less than 25 games, that is less than a season. We need Darius's experience there."
The Sharks have no such issues with Kurt Capewell set to replace NSW representative Wade Graham in the back row, while former Blues forward Aaron Woods starts at prop.
Brisbane's run of three defeats has left them languishing in 14th place - their lowest ladder position in club history this late in a season.
Despite their woes, Seibold said he hadn't given up on Brisbane's season yet and challenged those coming in to prove themselves at NRL level.
"What I want the guys going down to the Sharks tomorrow to do is put pressure on those other guys," he said.
"If Xavier Coates and Herbie Farnworth show what they have got, they will keep the jersey. If Sean O'Sullivan plays well tomorrow, he will keep the seven jersey and that is the way it should be.
"I have shown during the year that I don't play favourites."
KEY MATCH STATS
* Brisbane have won their past five matches against Cronulla, including the past two encounters between the clubs at Shark Park.
* Defeat would mean Brisbane have their fewest wins (five) after 15 games in a season, having won six at the same stage in 1999 and 2013.
* Cronulla's Sosaia Feki has scored two tries in three matches against the Broncos at Shark Park.