Unheralded Bronco could start season as captain
BRISBANE coach Anthony Seibold has confirmed young gun Pat Carrigan will make his premiership captaincy debut if Alex Glenn fails to prove his fitness for the season opener against the Cowboys.
Less than a year after making his NRL debut, Carrigan is tantalisingly within reach of one of the most prestigious roles in Australian sport - emulating Wally Lewis, Gorden Tallis and Darren Lockyer by captaining the Broncos.
The 22-year-old skippered the Broncos in last week's 28-22 trial loss to the Titans in the absence of Glenn, but Carrigan will celebrate his official captaincy coronation if the skipper misses the round-one derby on Friday week.
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Carrigan was outstanding against the Gold Coast, making 36 tackles and charging for 165 metres, and Seibold said the 19-game rookie is on standby should Glenn succumb to a hamstring injury.
"We'll see how Alex pulls up but if Alex isn't there, then Pat will be (the skipper)," Seibold said on Monday.
"(Stripping Darius of captaincy) gives some opportunities to some of our young leaders.
"We've got a particularly young group. It's pretty unusual to have our stand-in captain, Pat Carrigan, who is only (22) years of age but he's the right person while Alex Glenn and Matt Lodge are out.
"We'll give Alex every opportunity to play.
"It's 24 weeks of games so if he's not quite there, we'll err on the side of caution. We've got a very long year ahead of us and we wouldn't put any of our players at risk.
"I'd like to see Alex Glenn there and if (he's) not, someone else will be out there wearing the jersey."
Carrigan would be one of the youngest captains in NRL premiership history.
Storm legend Cameron Smith captained Melbourne at 22, while former Parramatta prop Nathan Cayless was 21 when he skippered the Eels in the season-opener in 2000.
Former Broncos skipper Lockyer believes Carrigan would not be overawed by the responsibility.
"He is a great young kid," Lockyer said. "Seibs' rates him highly from a leadership perspective and the fact he hasn't played a lot of games doesn't mean he can't be a leader of men out there.
"It would be a good experience for him but we're hopeful 'Lexi' will be there for Round 1.
"Even though he is a confident kid doing the job he is in now, he would be nervous (captaining the Broncos in a premiership game)."