Joe Ofahengaue (C) has been stood down by the Broncos for the first two NRL rounds. Image by (AAP Image/Glenn Hunt)

rugby league

Ofahengaue ban means blooding baby Broncos

2020-02-28 16:04:14

Brisbane could be forced to start the NRL season with two 20-year-olds in the front row and a 22-year-old captain at lock after prop Joe Ofahengaue was stood down for the opening two rounds.

Ofahengaue was on Friday banned by the club for the two matches after the Queensland State of Origin forward was disqualified from driving for three months earlier in February.

The 24-year-old was caught sleeping in his car last month and pleaded guilty to being in charge of a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol level in excess of the legal limit.

“Joe is really disappointed in himself and very remorseful for what he has done,” Broncos chief executive Paul White said.

“As a club, our goal is to set a standard for our players and Joe understands that he must pay a price for his actions that night.

“That price impacts on his teammates as he will miss the opening two rounds of the NRL season – but we know that Joe has learned from his mistake.”

The ban has been approved after consultation with the NRL and is another blow to a Brisbane front row already missing the injured Matt Lodge for their much-hyped opening-round trip to Townsville. 

Tom Flegler is likely to step in after being named in the starting side for Saturday night’s trial against Gold Coast.

Patrick Carrigan will wear the No.13 and play as captain against the Titans, with new skipper Alex Glenn still battling a hamstring injury.

With Payne Haas already likely to start, it would mean the Broncos have a pair of 20-year-olds at prop.

Teenage rookie Jordan Riki could also come into contention to feature on the bench if Brisbane are given an allowance to bring him in from their development list.

A former school captain and regular leader of junior teams, Carrigan is not fazed by the extra responsibility and says he will draw plenty from veterans like Andrew McCullough, Darius Boyd and player-turned-assistant coach Corey Parker.

“I think Lexy (Glenn) will be back by round one, but (if not) it doesn’t change what I do,” Carrigan said.

“I lead by my actions, hopefully the boys will follow and I’m excited to get out there.

“Two years ago Tommy and Payne and I were playing 20s and now we get to do it together in a grade trial.

“It’s cool and I’m loving it, just like a kid enjoying footy and excited to see where we can go this year.”