Tesi Niu set to miss start of NRL season

Troy Whittaker |

Brisbane fullback Tesi Niu is set to miss the start of the NRL season with a grade-two hamstring strain.

The 20-year-old was expected to begin the year in the No.1 jersey after finding his feet in an extended run of matches to finish 2021.

But the Broncos confirmed on Thursday that Niu will require a four-to-six week rehabilitation period, effectively ruling the Tongan international out of their season-opener against South Sydney on March 11.

Coach Kevin Walters has named veteran speedster David Mead to start at fullback in Saturday’s trial against Gold Coast at Cbus Super Stadium. 

Jamayne Isaako, Herbie Farnworth and Selwyn Cobbo have been touted as other contenders to fill the custodian’s role.

Niu’s injury has thrown another spanner in the works for Walters as he weighs up his spine options, including a playmaking partner for top recruit Adam Reynolds.

Albert Kelly and Billy Walters will link in the halves this weekend while Tyson Gamble and the uncapped Ezra Mam are also in the frame to become Reynolds’ offsider.