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Ofahengaue, Fai in running to replace injured Bronco

Tevita Pangai Jr on the sideline at Broncos training. Picture: Annette Dew/News Limited
Tevita Pangai Jr on the sideline at Broncos training. Picture: Annette Dew/News Limited

JOE Ofahengaue and George Fai have emerged as Brisbane's frontrunners to replace bench forward Tevita Pangai Jr against the Rabbitohs on Friday night.

The two young forwards are the leading contenders to solidify the side, after Pangai Jr suffered a broken finger and a knee injury in the 24-22 home win over the Titans on Friday.

While it is believed the knee injury is not serious, he is facing three to four weeks on the sideline for the finger and will see a specialist today to see if he needs surgery.

His young teammates coming into the side are both in strong form for feeder side Souths Logan.

Ofahengaue has not played first grade since last July, while 20-year-old Fai is yet to make his NRL debut.

Starting prop Adam Blair said yesterday that while Pangai Jr was a big loss, he knew the Broncos would be able to cover it adequately with either Ofahengaue or Fai.

"Either way, they're all good enough and we have the people around here to put them in the right frame of mind to play on Friday," he said. "It's an opportunity for someone to put their hand up.

"The likes of Joe and George have been in that system and worked really well over the off-season, so they will come in with the same enthusiasm.

 

George Fai for Souths Logan Magpies. Picture: John Gass/News Corp Australia
George Fai for Souths Logan Magpies. Picture: John Gass/News Corp Australia

"That's how we all get our chances at some stage in our careers - someone goes down and you come up.

"We won't lose momentum. They'll be full of energy and excited.

"That will hold us in good stead."

Another contender would be Jaydn Su'A, but it is believed the Broncos want him to get more game time in the Intrust Super Cup after he struggled with a foot injury throughout the pre-season.

Given Ofahengaue was a regular face in Bennett's 17 in 2015 and at the start of last season, he could be the more reliable option against South Sydney's pack.

Blair was confident Fai was also ready to take that next step into first grade should Bennett go with him.

"He's got a good body shape to play NRL," Blair said of Fai.

"He's short and low to the ground, he's strong and runs hard. All we need from those guys is them to bring all their energy. He'll be ready. It's another level when you come up to NRL so whoever it is, it's important they put their head down, bum up and work really hard with whatever they've been given."

Kodi Nikorima finished training early with tightness in his hips on Monday but is expected to be fine for Friday.

Bennett will name a 21-man squad on Tuesday afternoon.

News Corp Australia

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