Bennett puts faith in Mead to replace Kahu
WAYNE Bennett would love to have Jordan Kahu at his disposal playing at ANZ Stadium when his Broncos take on the Rabbitohs on Friday night.
"You always miss the good players," he said.
But the Brisbane coach is confident he has enough back-up to cover for the loss of the star winger due to injury.
Kahu re-aggravated a groin strain in the Broncos' 24-22 win over the Gold Coast Titans last week, leaving the field with 10 minutes left to play.
"He's not quite right enough, it's nothing serious," Bennett said of Kahu.
In his absence, Bennett will look to prized recruit David Mead to fill the void, along with young Jonus Pearson, who will play his first game for the season.
"David is more than capable," Bennett said. "He played great for us two weeks ago."
The Papua New Guinea international returns to the starting side after making his Broncos debut in their 32-8 round-six win over the Roosters.
Pearson played three games for the Broncos in 2016 and impressed with two tries in his debut game in round 23, as well as an average of 90 run metres per match, including two finals.
"Jonus will be on the bench. He played for us last year and he was really good. The opportunity is there for him now," Bennett said.
"Jonus can play on the wing and David can play anywhere in the backs. Darius (Boyd) can also come play in the halves if we need it."
Alongside Pearson on the bench will be Joe Ofahengaue, replacing fellow forward Tevita Pangai Jnr, who has been ruled out for up to three months with a finger injury.
Ofahengaue had an outstanding 2015 season but has been out of favour with Bennett since round 21 last year, playing for the Souths Logan Magpies in the Intrust Super Cup this season.
"Joe probably got a bit ahead of himself. He had to go back and appreciate what playing in the NRL really means," Bennett said.
"He's done a great job with himself. In the last couple of weeks he's been close to the best forward at Souths Logan. His form is good and he's ready to go.
"It wasn't an attitude thing. (The young players) get an opportunity and then get a bit ahead of themselves thinking they've really made it when they haven't.
"You never really make it. Every week you need to go out and prove that you're up for the game. That doesn't matter if you've played one game or 200 games."
Prop Korbin Sims (foot) has been given the go-ahead to line up against a Souths pack boasting Sam Burgess, who escaped penalty after facing the judiciary over a shoulder charge.
"I am not really surprised," Bennett said of Burgess getting off. "That's what the judiciary is about. He got a fair hearing and is allowed to play."