live Infotainment Factory: 'He's beyond his years': NRL legend backs teen half

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Tuesday, 30 April 2019

'He's beyond his years': NRL legend backs teen half


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Brisbane confirmed teenage halfback Tom Dearden will be thrown into the cauldron when he debuts in Thursday's highly-anticipated date with Wayne Bennett's South Sydney.

It came on a chaotic day of team news for NRL playmakers, with seven clubs facing possible changes in the halves.

The 18-year-old could claim the spot for the season after Kodi Nikorima was given time to fix his calf and mull over a likely move to the Warriors amid criticism of his combination with Anthony Milford.

Tom Dearden (centre) in action during Brisbane Broncos training

Dearden has played just four Queensland Cup games, but has impressed while training with the main squad.

"He's a young kid but he's definitely ready, he's got all the attributes," Broncos captain Darius Boyd said.

"Age is only a number; if you're ready your ready.

"He's beyond his years. He's shaking hands, he makes eye contact, he's humble, he's polite, he asks questions and trains hard."

Tom Dearden

Darren Lockyer gave Dearden the tick of approval too.

Broncos coach Anthony Seibold is confident teenager Dearden, who has played just four Queensland Cup games, can link up well in the halves with Anthony Milford.

"I don't seek counsel from too many people but did from Darren Lockyer because he's a real smart person around that position," Seibold said.

"I just like the way he (Dearden) thinks about the game and I think he'll be a good foil for Milly.

"We don't expect miracles, he's just got to do his job."

Dearden now weighs 85kg after a month-long weights program at the start of the season.

It will help him against a Rabbitohs pack sure to target the rookie.

"He's going to have to learn to accept that and hopefully we can support him," forward Matt Lodge said of the expected barrage.

"For his age he's pretty tough and takes the line on, and isn't afraid to put his body on the line."

Bennett v Seibold

Canterbury star Kieran Foran is a step closer to returning two months early from an ankle injury and Dylan Napa could join him on Saturday against Manly.

Foran was on Tuesday named on an extended bench for the Bulldogs, just a month after he was ruled out for up to 12 weeks following surgery.

Prop Napa was also expected to miss up to six weeks when he hurt his ankle in round four, but could play Saturday after being named on the extended bench.

"Kieran has worked really hard with it ... Both of them have still got a fair bit to tick off," Bulldogs high performance manager Tony Ayoub said.

"We'll see how (Kieran) pulls up after tomorrow and later on in the week."

Manly also have changes in their halves, with Kane Elgey brought in to partner Lachlan Croker with Daly Cherry-Evans injured. Winger Jorge Taufua is also out.

Fellow youngster Kyle Flanagan has also been given the Cronulla No.6 jersey in place of the injured Shaun Johnson against Melbourne, while Josh Dugan (hamstring) is on the extended bench.

Veteran five-eighth Benji Marshall has been named to return from a hamstring injury for the Wests Tigers clash with Sydney Roosters, replacing the injured Josh Reynolds.

Luke Keary (concussion) is back in the halves for the Roosters, while Blake Green has been named to return alongside Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and David Fusitu'a for the Warriors against Newcastle.

Meanwhile fullback Te Maire Martin will miss North Queensland's game against the Gold Coast after suffering severe headaches, with Jordan Kahu named at No.1 and Jason Taumalolo again on an extended bench.

St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor has dropped Euan Aitken to the bench to accommodate Zac Lomax against Parramatta, while Canberra winger Jordan Rapana will miss Saturday's clash with Penrith through a rib injury.

- AAP

Brisbane confirmed teenage halfback Tom Dearden will be thrown into the cauldron when he debuts in Thursday's highly-anticipated date with Wayne Bennett's South Sydney.

It came on a chaotic day of team news for NRL playmakers, with seven clubs facing possible changes in the halves.

The 18-year-old could claim the spot for the season after Kodi Nikorima was given time to fix his calf and mull over a likely move to the Warriors amid criticism of his combination with Anthony Milford.

Tom Dearden (centre) in action during Brisbane Broncos training

Dearden has played just four Queensland Cup games, but has impressed while training with the main squad.

"He's a young kid but he's definitely ready, he's got all the attributes," Broncos captain Darius Boyd said.

"Age is only a number; if you're ready your ready.

"He's beyond his years. He's shaking hands, he makes eye contact, he's humble, he's polite, he asks questions and trains hard."

Tom Dearden

Darren Lockyer gave Dearden the tick of approval too.

Broncos coach Anthony Seibold is confident teenager Dearden, who has played just four Queensland Cup games, can link up well in the halves with Anthony Milford.

"I don't seek counsel from too many people but did from Darren Lockyer because he's a real smart person around that position," Seibold said.

"I just like the way he (Dearden) thinks about the game and I think he'll be a good foil for Milly.

"We don't expect miracles, he's just got to do his job."

Dearden now weighs 85kg after a month-long weights program at the start of the season.

It will help him against a Rabbitohs pack sure to target the rookie.

"He's going to have to learn to accept that and hopefully we can support him," forward Matt Lodge said of the expected barrage.

"For his age he's pretty tough and takes the line on, and isn't afraid to put his body on the line."

Bennett v Seibold

Canterbury star Kieran Foran is a step closer to returning two months early from an ankle injury and Dylan Napa could join him on Saturday against Manly.

Foran was on Tuesday named on an extended bench for the Bulldogs, just a month after he was ruled out for up to 12 weeks following surgery.

Prop Napa was also expected to miss up to six weeks when he hurt his ankle in round four, but could play Saturday after being named on the extended bench.

"Kieran has worked really hard with it ... Both of them have still got a fair bit to tick off," Bulldogs high performance manager Tony Ayoub said.

"We'll see how (Kieran) pulls up after tomorrow and later on in the week."

Manly also have changes in their halves, with Kane Elgey brought in to partner Lachlan Croker with Daly Cherry-Evans injured. Winger Jorge Taufua is also out.

Fellow youngster Kyle Flanagan has also been given the Cronulla No.6 jersey in place of the injured Shaun Johnson against Melbourne, while Josh Dugan (hamstring) is on the extended bench.

Veteran five-eighth Benji Marshall has been named to return from a hamstring injury for the Wests Tigers clash with Sydney Roosters, replacing the injured Josh Reynolds.

Luke Keary (concussion) is back in the halves for the Roosters, while Blake Green has been named to return alongside Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and David Fusitu'a for the Warriors against Newcastle.

Meanwhile fullback Te Maire Martin will miss North Queensland's game against the Gold Coast after suffering severe headaches, with Jordan Kahu named at No.1 and Jason Taumalolo again on an extended bench.

St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor has dropped Euan Aitken to the bench to accommodate Zac Lomax against Parramatta, while Canberra winger Jordan Rapana will miss Saturday's clash with Penrith through a rib injury.

- AAP

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