In a selection shock, centre Tautau Moga is set to make his Broncos debut on Thursday night when Brisbane take on the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks in the NRL season opener at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
Moga has bolted into selection consideration after a poor performance from David Mead in Brisbane’s 27-18 World Club Series loss to the Warrington Wolves.
It now looks as if the former Titans winger may miss out on a Broncos debut in Round 1, with Jordan Kahu training in his place on the Broncos’ right wing on Monday.
With Kahu on the wing, Moga has slotted into the centres, partnering Queensland winger Corey Oates on Brisbane’s left side.
It means the Broncos’ left side attack will be one of the biggest in the club’s history, and Oates said he is excited at the prospect of lining up with Moga.
“It’s a big edge now, isn’t it? He’s very agile and quick,” Oates said.
“I haven’t had too much to do with him because we’ve had a few people come in and out of centre.
“I think he’s had a pretty good pre-season so hopefully he can prove he’s worth that spot this weekend.
“I’m sure he will show everyone his talent and that he can actually play.”
Moga has always been a talent, but the issue in recent years has been his luckless run with injuries.
The 23-year-old suffered two ACL injuries at the Sydney Roosters in 2013, before moving to the North Queensland Cowboys in 2014.
His misfortunes continued in Townsville, with off-field incidents in 2014 followed by a torn ACL in 2015.
Three knee reconstructions later, Moga returned to the field in the latter part of the 2016 season, but his best at North Queensland had passed and he eventually signed with the Broncos in October of that year.
It now appears as if Moga has found his home, with a stellar pre-season almost forcing coach Wayne Bennett to include him in his side come Round 1.
The Sharks will now have an even bigger challenge on their hands, with their right-side defence set to have two huge humans running at them all night.
Bigger than most second-row forwards, Oates and Moga both weigh over 105kg and are both over 190cm tall.
Although weighing just a little bit less than Moga, Oates said he hopes to catch him over the coming weeks.
“I think he just weights a little bit more than me now. I lost a bit of weight over the Christmas period,” he said.
“I’m normally around 106kg so I think he’s around there as well.
“I believe we have a pretty good connection. We’ve gone pretty well together at training over the last couple of weeks.
“The pre-season has been a bit different because we’ve been swapping people in and out of that position.
“Hopefully now he’s there we can keep that same edge for as long as we can. If that happens I’m sure we’ll get better and better each week.
“Thursday will be a good test for us to see where we are at. The Sharks will show up, they had a great year last year so it will be a tough game.”
Many NRL Fantasy players will be hoping Moga puts in a solid performance, as he is sure to be targeted as a valuable centre option.
Priced at just $152,000, Moga’s upside will surely see him picked in many sides over the coming days.