Seibold backing youth to spark Broncos
Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold backing youth to spark Broncos (AAP Image/Dan Peled)
Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold is turning to the club's youngsters in a bid to revive the Broncos' sagging NRL campaign.
Last week's defeat to South Sydney has left Brisbane floundering in 13th on the NRL ladder, with just two wins from eight matches in 2019.
Seibold has responded by swinging the selection axe for Friday's Magic Round clash with in-form Manly, dropping outside backs James Roberts and Jamayne Isaako and relegating Tevita Pangai to the bench.
In their place comes a pair of 20-year-olds in Kotoni Staggs and Gehamat Shibasaki while teenager Thomas Flegler replaces Pangai at lock.
A knee injury to hooker Andrew McCullough means 22-year-old Jake Turpin will don the No.9 jersey for just his third NRL start and 18-year-old Tom Dearden stays at halfback after his NRL debut against the Rabbitohs.
Seibold knows he's throwing his youngsters in at the deep end but such has been the Broncos' form this year he felt he had to take action.
"After losing six of our first eight games there was a couple of changes that needed to be made," he said.
"I've been really impressed with Manly ... they've obviously spent a lot of time working on their defence, they make it really challenging for attacking teams to score points against them.
"We're going to have to be at our very best and take any opportunities that are presented to us.
"Along with the Rabbitohs and the Roosters, they're probably the three top in form teams at the moment. It's going to be a big challenge for us."
In stark contrast to Brisbane's woes, Manly have won five of their past six matches to climb into the top eight after defeats in the opening two rounds.
They head north having been forced to make further injury-enforced changes to their line-up.
Apisai Koroisau will start at five-eighth in place of Lachlan Croker while Toafofoa Sipley replaces Addin Fonua-Blake in the forwards.
Coach Des Hasler has warned his team to be prepared for a fast start by the youthful Broncos.
"They'll come out pretty hard," Hasler said.
"They're a young enthusiastic side ... with pride comes a wanting to do something about that and turn it around."
KEY MATCH STATS
* Manly is one of just two teams to hold a winning record against the Broncos but have lost five of their past eight against Brisbane.
* This is the fifth time the Sea Eagles have had five home games at Suncorp Stadium, winning two of the previous four.
* Manly coach Des Hasler has won just two of his past 11 games in Queensland and just one of seven at Suncorp Stadium.
© AAP 2019