Herbie Farnworth will likely be replaced in the Broncos’ center by Selwyn Cobbo, as coach Kevin Walters has stated that Cobbo has the “footy IQ” necessary to make an immediate impact in the position.

In spite of his rise to prominence as one of the NRL’s best game-changing wingers and the excitement surrounding breakout youngster Deine Mariner, Cobbo was spotted holding down the left edge on Monday during the start of the preseason with Corey Oates and Jesse Arthars.

Mariner was also thrust onto the wing throughout the opposed session where he played his four Broncos games last year – scoring five tries while making four line breaks and three try assists in the process.

While the 20-year-old has been regarded in some circles as Brisbane’s best centre prospect since the legendary Steve Renouf, Walters confirmed Cobbo would be given first crack at proving life after Farnworth could be smooth sailing.

Selwyn Cobbo has been backed by Broncos coach Kevin Walters to replace Herbie Farnworth in the centres.
Selwyn Cobbo has been backed by Broncos coach Kevin Walters to replace Herbie Farnworth in the centres.CREDIT:GETTY

“That’s the plan, to move him into that role. It’s probably a bit more natural for him in the centres than the wing,” Walters said.

“So far he’s been really good there, I guess we’ll find out more when we start playing, and he starts having to make more tackles and do all those things the great centres do.

“He’s still only young Selwyn, he’s still maturing, but his fitness levels and strength will get better as the year goes on.

“His footy IQ is very good, he’s a very intelligent player, which you need to be playing those centre roles – particularly defensively I feel, and that’s where he’s going to be a good asset for us.

“Deine’s obviously a good young player, it’s just a matter of finding the right position for him.”

In addition to Farnworth’s exit to the Dolphins, Walters will be forced to fill the voids left by fellow outgoing grand finalists Tom Flegler (Dolphins), Keenan Palasia (Titans) and Kurt Capewell (Warriors).

Brendan Piakura is tipped to don Capewell’s old jersey in the second row, however who takes on a more prominent role through the middle rotation is murkier.

Deine Mariner will compete for a place on the wing.
Deine Mariner will compete for a place on the wing.CREDIT:GETTY

Rising star Xavier Willison trained with the majority of the NRL starters, eager to add to his 11 Broncos caps, while star forward Jordan Riki spent time on the sidelines in his recovery from shoulder surgery.

Brisbane built their grand final charge last season off the back of th foundation laid by Flegler and Payne Haas, with Palasia proving particularly strong off the bench in the second half of the campaign.

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While the likes of Corey Jensen, Martin Taupau and recruit Fletcher Baker will be contenders for one of the spots, Walters believed Willison was poised to become Haas’ latest wrecking ball partner.

But he also revealed fellow young wrecking ball Ben Te Kura – who stands at more than two metres tall – would garner an NRL debut in 2024.

“He’s come back in pretty good shape, he’s still growing into his body obviously, but some of the skills he showed particularly at the back end of last year in that New Zealand day game [for the Kiwi A vs Tonga A] I thought he was very good there,” Walters said of Te Kura.

“There’s big expectations on him just to come through the development pathways and we expect him to be playing some NRL at some stage this season.

“He’ll start in the Queensland Cup and then work his way through. There’s plenty of competition for spots, we encourage our younger players to come through and work hard and learn from guys like Patty [Carrigan] and Payne who are pretty well entrenched in the side.”

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