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NRL rules quirk affects Broncos’ NRL side

Injury and an NRL rules quirk has forced Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett into more unusual selections for their crunch clash with the Warriors.

NSW Origin centre James Roberts will miss the clash as he continues to manage a sore achilles while emerging forward Tevita Pangai (hamstring) was a late casualty at Saturday's Red Hill captain's run.

Frustrated: Wayne Bennett.

Photo: AAP

Patrick Mago has been added to the bench for Sunday's encounter while teenager David Fifita will start and backrower Jaydn Su'A will shift to the centres.

In a source of frustration for Bennett, in-form centre Kotoni Staggs will be on the interchange bench thanks to NRL laws denying him a start.

Staggs is not in the side's top 30 contracted players but has impressed enough to seemingly leapfrog fellow outside back Tom Opacic in the pecking order.

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NRL laws dictate that a player outside the top 30 contracted list cannot start if a suitable replacement is available.

Staggs was impressive in the starting side last week – a move granted thanks to the side's missing Origin stars – and has been given an exemption to play off the bench against the Warriors.

Young star: Kotoni Staggs.

Photo: AAP

Other than to simply reply "no" when asked if he agreed with them, a clearly miffed Bennett wouldn't bite when asked for his thoughts on the ruling.

However, he maintained his squad had the depth to cope given their ability to adapt had already been proven this season.

"It doesn't really faze us; we've been through a season with a lot of players missing and people putting their hand up getting the job done," he said.

"We've got a strong squad here at the moment."

The Broncos sit in seventh, equal on points with the Warriors but ahead on differential.

Stephen Kearney's side have fallen away after a fast start, losing 36-4 to Penrith last weekend to slip behind the Broncos on the ladder.

"They're a good quality team, started the season great, having a tough time at the moment but they'll want to come here and turn it all around," Bennett said.

Brisbane have won their past three with Sunday's 34-0 defeat of the Gold Coast their first victory by more than nine points all season.

A top four finish is on the wish list, with games against Penrith (fourth), Cronulla (fifth) and Canterbury (15th) to follow.

"Yeah we're in a good position, played a lot of good football at different parts of the year," Bennett said.

"But we've got a tough month in front of us."

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