Healthy competition ... Andrew McCullough at Broncos training. Photo: Annette Dew
Healthy competition ... Andrew McCullough at Broncos training. Photo: Annette Dew

McCullough up for Broncos hooker duel

Given Brisbane's season so far, a little competition could be just the thing to bring the best out of the struggling Broncos. And veteran hooker Andrew McCullough is looking forward to it.

Coach Anthony Seibold named McCullough in his starting side this weekend against Newcastle for the first time since the Brisbane stalwart went down with a knee injury earlier last month.

The 29-year-old was forced to play in the unfamiliar No.14 jersey in the past two matches as he eased his way back from injury, while Turpin continued to impress as starting hooker.

The dummy-half situation at Red Hill has raised questions about McCullough's future at the club and it gained more traction with the signing of James Segeyaro last month.

McCullough has a two-year option to stay at the club in his favour, so his future is technically secure, however the rise of Turpin has now prompted him to up the ante.

Speaking for the first time since his injury, McCullough said the battle for the No.9 jersey was healthy for the club.

 

After the season so far, McCullough knows the pressure is on. Image: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts
After the season so far, McCullough knows the pressure is on. Image: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

 

"It's a competitive spot," McCullough said.

"I was out with a knee injury and Jake played tremendous footy and won a Player's Player award.

"That's what you want in your footy organisations.

"You want to reward players for their efforts regardless of their reputation, experience or what they've done before; you want players playing well for you.

"Jake's done a tremendous job for the last month and a half and that's the rewards that you get.

"It just shows if you put your best foot forward, you get an opportunity and he took that so it just works with anyone in sport and in life that if you get an opportunity you take it."

Brisbane Broncos player Jake Turpin is seen during training in Brisbane.
Brisbane Broncos player Jake Turpin is seen during training in Brisbane.

Seibold has been impressed by Turpin's performance as back-up dummy-half and was adamant the 22-year-old utility will remain in the side.

Turpin recently said he was happy to play in any position that suited the team.

"I don't care where I play as long as I'm playing NRL," Turpin said after the Broncos' Round 13 loss to the Titans.

"I class myself as a real team player so whatever the team needs, I'll do."

McCullough said his relegation to the bench in his return from injury was no surprise after seeing what Turpin had done for the side.

"I'd be the same if I was Jake and I was performing well, I'd expect the same thing," McCullough said.

"You bite down, you train hard and enjoy your football.

"As with anything, you compete for spots.

"He's a great guy to have around the club and really enjoyable and he just wants to learn and be part of a winning team.

"You want that in your team because they just want to play and compete with you as well."

News Corp Australia


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