Brisbane have played down the absence of Queensland Origin hopeful Corey Oates at training on Tuesday, saying the winger missed the session due to personal reasons.
Hooker Andrew McCullough (hamstring) and forward Alex Glenn (calf) are set to return from injury in Friday night’s NRL grand final re-match against North Queensland in Townsville after training strongly.
Oates was a notable absentee, but the Broncos hosed down injury concerns, saying the winger is on track to go head-to-head with Cowboys flyer Kyle Feldt for a Maroons berth.
McCullough appears primed to return three weeks earlier than expected in what looms as a full strength Broncos line-up.
“Macca brings that stability in defence and he’s a great communicator,” Broncos prop Josh McGuire said.
“We did miss him the last couple of weeks.
“I know I feel a lot safer when he is next to me in the line.”
Enforcer Adam Blair’s return from suspension for his infamous chicken wing tackle will further bolster ladder leaders Brisbane.
But Brisbane backrower Matt Gillett believed McCullough’s injection may be the key as they look to nullify the threat of Cowboys livewire rake Jake Granville.
“He doesn’t get as many raps as he should but everyone here knows how valuable he is,” Gillett said of McCullough’s impact.
“He did everything right to get back, which goes to show his professionalism.”
Brisbane surged to top of the ladder without McCullough, Glenn and Blair with a 30-6 win over Manly last round.