Knee strain leaves Bronco Piakura in Vegas doubt

Murray Wenzel |

Brendan Piakura is racing the clock to be fit for Brisbane’s NRL season opener with the Roosters.
Brendan Piakura is racing the clock to be fit for Brisbane’s NRL season opener with the Roosters.

Brisbane back-rower Brendan Piakura is in doubt for the NRL club’s Las Vegas season opener after the Bronco suffered a knee injury in the club’s trial win over North Queensland.

Scans on Monday confirmed a low-grade medial cruciate ligament strain for Piakura, who was one of the Broncos’ best in their 46-20 win in Mackay on Sunday.

Brisbane leave for the United States on Thursday and will meet the Sydney Roosters as part of a historic Las Vegas double-header to begin the season next Sunday (AEDT).

“We’ll see how he pulls up over the next 24 hours before mapping out a rehab program over the coming days,” Broncos head of performance Dave Ballard said.

“Brendan remains a chance to play round one, but there is a full season ahead of us, so we will see how it settles before making a final decision.”

A bench weapon in the Broncos’ run to last season’s grand final, Piakura is set to fill the boots of departed starter and veteran Kurt Capewell.

Jordan Riki will likely be the other starting back-rower in Las Vegas, while coach Kevin Walters could shift Pat Carrigan or Kobe Hetherington to an edge if Piakura doesn’t feature.

Brisbane also recruited former Dragon Jaiyden Hunt, who looms as another option for Walters.

AAP