NRL 2019: Kotoni Staggs named on the bench for Brisbane Broncos' clash with Melbourne Storm

ON THE BALL: Kotoni Staggs' work with the Indigenous All Stars in pre-season caught the eye of a lot of people. Photo: AAP/DAVID CROSLING
ON THE BALL: Kotoni Staggs' work with the Indigenous All Stars in pre-season caught the eye of a lot of people. Photo: AAP/DAVID CROSLING

Ever since Kotoni Staggs made his NRL debut in round nine of last year, praise has been heaped upon the Wellington junior.

The 20-year-old caught the eye in his nine NRL appearances for the Brisbane Broncos and a powerful showings in pre-season saw him battling incumbents James Roberts and Jack Bird for a place in the centres.

As Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold had hinted, Staggs will have to do with a utility spot for the start of the season after being named in jersey 14 for Thursday night's season season opener against the Melbourne Storm.

Broncos great Sam Thaiday is one of the many who expects the former Group 11 representative to take on a key role this season after seeing Staggs impress in the Indigenous All-Stars pre-season match.

"I saw him play in the All Stars game and he looked like he absolutely deserved to be there," Thaiday said recently.

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"He did his bit for the team and he will do his bit for the Broncos this year."

Staggs may be one of the youngest players in a youthful Broncos lineup but he isn't just settling for a place in the top squad.

Despite being happy to be the utility for Seibold in 2019, he's said countless times during pre-season he wants to make one of the centre spots his own

"My challenge every day at training is to compete so I can get that starting spot for myself," Staggs said.

"That utility spot is there for me and I want to take that role on."

The Broncos take on the Storm at Melbourne's AAMI Park from 7.50pm on Thursday night.