Thaiday gets nod for Broncos

07 March 2018 05:01:39 EST

Coach Wayne Bennett has named Sam Thaiday as Brisbane Broncos' starting hooker for the NRL season-opener against St George Illawarra on Thursday.

Thaiday has won the nod over Andrew McCullough, who had initially been included in the starting side.

Bennett is sure hulking second-rower Thaiday will do a good job in the role at Jubilee Oval, having replaced McCullough there in the final weeks of last season.

McCullough is fit enough to play, after recovering from a serious knee injury he suffered last August, but will come off the bench as he's not seen any action in pre-season.

Bennett said of 32-year-old Thaiday: "He did a good job for us last year in small bursts (at hooker). We just can't play Macca 80 minutes right now; we need Sam to take some of that workload."

McCullough will take another four or five weeks to return to full fitness, the coach revealed.

Bennett told Thaiday last year he wasn't in his future plans, but the veteran hasn't given up of earning a Broncos extension and he will pack down in a front row boasting Tevita Pangai and new signing Matt Lodge.

Jordan Kahu has moved to the centres for the opening game with flyer Jamayne Isaako getting a start on the wing, while star signing Jack Bird will be out of action for at least another month due to a shoulder injury.

Corey Oates has been named on the wing for the Broncos after spending time in the second row during the pre-season.

The Dragons have gone with Tariq Sims in the back row after both he and Luciano Leilua battled for the vacant spot during pre-season. Euan Aitken has been given the green light to start in the centres.

Brisbane are 1/1 to beat the Dragons, who are 41/50.

View all Rugby League betting