Oates told to expect the unexpected in new Broncos role

Joel Gould |

Corey Oates (L) has been told to be ready for anything against the Cowboys by coach Kevin Walters.
Corey Oates (L) has been told to be ready for anything against the Cowboys by coach Kevin Walters.

New Brisbane bench utility Corey Oates has been told to be ready for anything by coach Kevin Walters ahead of the clash with North Queensland.

The injury-ravaged Broncos are without prop Payne Haas (knee), fullback Reece Walsh (facial fracture) and second-rower Brendan Piakura (ankle) for the Friday night showdown at Suncorp Stadium.

Veteran Oates, a winger by trade, has trained in most positions on the field this week in readiness for what might transpire in the Queensland derby.

The 29-year-old has Maroons experience, has scored 118 tries in 201 NRL games for Brisbane and is a huge physical presence.

It is also his first game of the season after missing the early rounds with a knee injury and being overlooked in the starting side for Deine Mariner.

Corey Oates and Tristan Sailor.
Corey Oates and Tristan Sailor look on during a Broncos training session at Red Hill. (Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS)

“Corey can expect the unexpected,” Walters said.

“He could end up on an edge, in the middle or on the wing. He’s experienced enough, Corey.

“He’s played a lot of footy to know when he gets the tap on the shoulder that he’s ready to go in whatever position that is.

“It is hard to not admire his size and what he brings to the team so if he gets an opportunity, his first (for the season), it’s a good chance for him to show what he can do in Broncos colours.”

Former St George Illawarra back-rower Jaiyden Hunt replaces Piakura and livewire fullback Tristan Sailor comes in for Walsh against the undefeated Cowboys.

It is the forward pack that must lift in Haas’s absence and club legend Darren Lockyer said representative lock Pat Carrigan would lead the way.

“You can’t replace Payne but if everyone steps up collectively and individually you can compensate for that,” Lockyer said.

“I think it is an opportunity for Patty. I know he is an important part of the team but he plays in the middle and has been there long enough. He will know what he needs to do to lift the rest of his players.”

The two clubs have a rich history of classic battles with the 2015 grand final, won by the Cowboys in golden point, a classic amongst many stellar showdowns.

Celebrating Cowboys players.
Cowboys players celebrate Johnathan Thurston’s grand final-winning field goal against Brisbane. (Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS)

“For us and the club for a long time we’ve had a chip on our shoulder about being little brother,” Cowboys coach Todd Payten told AAP.

“The players across both teams have generally known each other well because they have played in the same junior system and come through the grades … and the good ones have played in rep. systems together.

“In the golden period, through the grand final and games after that, both teams moved the ball and were fast, fit and not big wrestling teams so games were quick.

“The two teams at the moment are in a very similar mould. They like to use the ball. It will be an exciting match.”