Broncos turn to injured players to avoid wooden spoon
The Broncos' horror injury curse has reached record levels with Brisbane prop Tom Flegler requiring a shoulder reconstruction and facing up to five months on the sidelines.
But in a stunning display of bravery, Flegler is considering carrying a busted shoulder into Friday night's clash against the Dragons due to the crippling injury toll that has decimated Brisbane's front-row options.
The Courier-Mail can reveal Flegler underwent scans today which confirmed major damage to his shoulder, with specialists advising the rookie prop to go under the knife immediately.
But with the Broncos' engine-room stocks at an all-time low following injuries to Matt Lodge (knee) and Jake Turpin (broken hand) and the suspension of Payne Haas, Flegler has not ruled out playing through the pain barrier against the Dragons.
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Underlining his toughness and commitment to the cause, Flegler injured his shoulder in the first minute of last week's 36-8 loss to the Raiders and somehow soldiered on to finish the match.
The Broncos would be taking a huge risk by pitchforking Flegler into the heat of NRL battle with a shoulder that requires surgery.
But such is their shocking injury toll, the Broncos are running out of troops, particularly those capable of playing in the front row, and are sweating on the possibility of Flegler taking on the Red V.
If the Broncos were healthy, there is no way Flegler would play this week. But the scratching of key prop Haas, who accepted a two-match ban for a crusher tackle against the Raiders, and Turpin's injury from the same game has wiped out Brisbane's engine-room.
Broncos caretaker coach Peter Gentle may consider naming Flegler in his 21-man squad on Tuesday with a view to a final call on the forward's fitness.
Flegler, who celebrates his 21st birthday on Wednesday, will visit a specialist on Wednesday to determine if his shoulder can endure the rigours of one or two more NRL games before he succumbs to surgery.
Either way, Flegler faces a long-time on the sidelines. The former Queensland Origin under-20s enforcer is looking at a five-month recovery, which is likely to prevent him being fit for the 2021 pre-season and could see Flegler be deemed fit as late as January or February next year.
Should Flegler miss the Dragons game, Brisbane will field a seriously depleted front-row with Maroons Origin star Joe Ofahengaue set to spearhead a pack featuring rookies Jordan Riki and Cory Paix.
The Broncos already have six top-liners in the casualty ward including Turpin, Alex Glenn, Corey Oates, Lodge, Xavier Coates and Anthony Milford, while Haas is suspended and Tevita Pangai Jr has been stood down by the NRL for his COVID breach.
Originally published as Broncos turn to injured players to avoid wooden spoon