Stagg named as latest Broncos centre

Utility David Stagg has been asked to fill the huge shoes left behind by injured Broncos centre Justin Hodges in Friday night’s must-win NRL clash with Parramatta at Suncorp Stadium.


But prop Josh McGuire looks set to face the most daunting test after admitting fiery Eels forward Mitch Allgood will be looking for him following their round nine stink.

Stagg will hope to add some backline punch after being thrust into the centres for Hodges, who underwent surgery on Tuesday on his season-ending Achilles injury.

McGuire has also been tipped to come out swinging when reunited with Allgood.

The last time the teams met Jarryd Hayne inspired a 19-18 Parramatta win but the talking point was McGuire’s toe-to-toe fisticuffs with Allgood that resulted in a sin bin stint for both.

McGuire reacted to Allgood’s huge hit on then halfback Peter Wallace – and did not rule out doing it again despite the “one punch and you’re off” rule that is now enforced.

“You have to protect your halves,” McGuire said on Tuesday.

Asked if he expected Allgood to come looking for him on Friday night, McGuire said: “I am a frontrower, he is a frontrower – you go looking for each other in the game anyway.

“I am sure that will happen.

“But I have moved on (from the round nine fight).”

Fellow Broncos prop Ben Hannant agreed the Broncos’ constant backline reshuffles this season due to injury have been a worry but believed combating the Eels’ front row would be the key issue against the Eels.

“That’s what we have to handle first – their big guys in the middle,” he said.

“The last couple of times we have played them they have blown us off the park up the middle.”

The Eels may be wooden spoon favourites, two wins adrift of second last Wests Tigers, but Hannant was wary following Parramatta’s last round 26-22 win.

“No one wants to get the wooden spoon and they have to cement positions in the team for next year,” he said.

“We are not going into the game thinking we are playing the wooden spooners. We are up against a side with a lot to prove.”

The 11th placed Brisbane’s last round 26-24 win over the Dragons kept them in the finals mix but Hannant said they were a “long way off” thinking about a top eight finish.

“If you are looking four weeks ahead you are kidding yourself from the position we are in,” he said.

But McGuire wasn’t so sure.

“The sky’s the limit. I think we have broken the ice. Each week we are building. We have belief in ourselves,” he said.

Besides Stagg, Jordan Kahu (hand) returns from injury to replace last round’s debutant winger Jordan Drew.

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