Sam Thaiday moves up front for Broncos - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sam Thaiday moves up front for Broncos

By Wayne Heming 08/03/2011 06:44:48 PM Comments (0)

Sam Thaiday will make only his fifth starting appearance at prop in 127 games for Brisbane when he runs out against North Queensland at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.

The last time Thaiday stuck his head in the front-row was round nine last year when the Broncos thumped Melbourne 36-14 at AAMI Park.

It sets up a mouth-watering battle for the hard metres, with new Cowboys co-captain Matt Scott, who served his front-row apprenticeship under Petero Civoniceva playing for Queensland where he also gleaned a lot of knowledge from Thaiday during Origin camps.

Scott is challenging to become the game's premier prop following an outstanding 2010 season in which the 25 year-old played his way into Australian colours for the first time.

Thaiday may be underdone after missing all the trials with a groin injury but Griffin said he'd let him go until he ran our of petrol.

"As a ruck forward he is obviously going to gas it quicker than he would playing on the edge of the ruck, so we'll cut his minutes initially," said Griffin.

"But he's got a really good motor and I'm sure once he gets more games under his belt he'll get the minutes back up."

Scott would have been expecting to lock horns with powerhouse Ben Hannant until he pulled out with a calf injury on Tuesday.

Hannant's injury, which puts him on the sideline with classy centre Justin Hodges (hamstring), didn't play a part in Thaiday being named at prop.

With the need to find last year's rookie-of-the-year Matt Gillett a permanent back-row spot, Griffin is keen for internationals Hannant and Thaiday to pack down as regular partners to young hooker Andrew McCullough.

"We've always had a plan that at least early in the season we'd play Sam in the middle of the ruck," said Griffin, explaining the switch for Thaiday who has spent the past two seasons as an edge-running back-rower.

"At the moment, the way our team fits and the way we've set up for the start of the season, Sam is going to play in the middle.

"He's played his rep football there for Australia and Queensland. He's got the bulk and the ball skills to play in the middle and we know he has the speed and foot skills to play a little wider.

"For now, we want him playing in tight."

Griffin said Friday night's battle would be an excellent test for all his forwards to assess their pre-season.

"We're under no illusions about what's coming on Friday night," the rookie coach told reporters on Tuesday before revealing his 17-man squad which included debutants Jack Reed and Dane Gagai.

"Like us, they're disappointed with last year and we're certainly not sitting here thinking we have something over them.

"We have a lot of respect for them.

"It's round one; it's a local derby and they've got people like (Dallas) Johnson and (Matt) Scott in their pack. It will be quite a dog fight in the middle.

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