Norman, Beale in running for Broncos - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Norman, Beale in running for Broncos

By Wayne Heming 08/03/2010 08:29:31 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane are tipped to unveil skilful teenagers Corey Norman and Gerard Beale and a 21-year-old not even on their official NRL roster to tackle the Cowboys in Friday night's season opener at Suncorp Stadium.

While Broncos coach Ivan Henjak is still mulling over the final make-up of his forward pack in a bid to minimise interchanges, 18 year-old Norman and 19 year-old Beale have emerged as big chances to get the nod.

And Henjak could name Norths' Queensland Cup player of the year, Matt Gillett, in the second-row to make his NRL debut after an impressive pre-season which has landed him a late contract with the six-time premiers.

Former Queensland and Australian halfback Mark Murray believes Gillett, who can play back-row or five-eighth, is a future representative player.

Henjak said he was "just about there" in terms of finalising his team.

"I've just got one little issue I'm sleeping on," he said after training on Monday.

Norman and another of Henjak's teen army, Josh Hoffman, are in the mix to take over departed fullback Karmichael Hunt's No.1 jumper.

Hoffman, who has already played six NRL games, is considered safe and more of a traditional fullback than Norman who caught the eye in the pre-season trials, especially against Canberra where he set up a try with a clever flick pass and scored one himself.

Norman can also play in the halves like Hunt allowing Darren Lockyer to continue his "out the back" play which has been difficult to defend against.

Halfback Peter Wallace likes what he has seen of Norman.

"He's pretty skilful and he's quick," said Wallace.

"He scored a lot of tries and made a lot of line breaks in the under 20s last year.

"He's definitely got that attacking flair that you need from the back."

Beale, a strong runner of the ball, could play his second NRL game at left centre with Israel Folau swapping sides to cover for injured international Justin Hodges (Achilles).

A Logan Brothers junior, he suffered a broken arm in his debut for Brisbane against Manly last May but has worked hard and bulked up considerably during his months of rehab.

With Beale able to play fullback and Norman capable of moving into the halves, their selection would give Henjak some backline insurance in case of injury.

The make-up of Brisbane's front-row will be interesting with Henjak still undecided on whether to move Sam Thaiday from his regular position in the backrow.

Wallace brushed aside concerns he and Lockyer could be vulnerable with just 20 minutes of trial action together going up against Cowboys trump Johnathan Thurston who has been in hot form in the All Stars clash and the trials.

"We're not thinking that way, we're ready to go," declared Wallace who expects the Cowboys to unleash new signing Willie Mason on Friday night.

"We've got all the confidence in the world in each other and in the rest of the team.

"I'm sure we'll go well."

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