JACK Reed spent most of last season nervous about his position in the Broncos squad, but now he wants to play a senior role as the side gets to suffer player drain during the Origin period.
When the former Caboolture Snakes and Bribie Island Warrigals junior burst onto the scene last year, no one was more surprised by his fairytale rise than Reed himself.
After being given the chance to train with the squad in the pre-season, he grasped the opportunity with both hands but plied his trade each week half expecting to find himself in Intrust Super Cup.
However, after accumulating 37 NRL caps and representing his native England last year, Reed said he was ready to lead the squad in the absence of its Origin representatives.
Ben Hannant, Sam Thaiday and Justin Hodges appear certainties for the Maroons, while Corey Parker and Matt Gillett look set to battle it out for a bench spot, with Petero Civoniceva and Josh McGuire shaping as outside hopes.
Peter Wallace also firmed for the Blues No 7 jumper after another virtuoso performance against the Gold Coast on Friday night.
With the Broncos to contribute as many as six players to Origin, the Broncos will have to rely on the likes of Reed and Kiwi internationals Alex Glenn and Josh Hoffman to steer the ship during the middle rounds.
Reed said he was relishing the extra responsibility and determined to help the team through what was traditionally a danger period.
"I'd love to think I play a senior role in the team and I'll keep working for the boys," he said.
"I'D love to be one of those players they can turn to and try to break the game. I'll just keep working on that."
With Origin I just over three weeks away the second-placed Broncos appeared one of the competition's teams to beat along with ladder leaders the Melbourne Storm.
However, coach Anthony Griffin lamented that his side had yet to string together an 80-minute performance after they temporarily placed the cue in the rack for 20 minutes against the Titans.
Reed echoed his coach's thoughts and said the team was still building.
"We've been working on it trying to get the 80 minutes out there and we haven't quite got there," he said.
"But the fact that we're still winning the games that we are, we're over the moon with that."