Bennett names five new Broncos in opener

  • by AAP
  • March 11 2008 3:44PM

Coach Wayne Bennett has named five new faces in Brisbane's 18-man squad for Sunday's NRL season opener against Penrith at Suncorp Stadium.

Off-season recruits Reece Robinson (wing), Peter Wallace (halfback), Joel Clinton (prop), Ashton Sims (second row) and PJ Marsh (bench) were all selected.

Darren Lockyer will lead the team as he makes his return from knee reconstruction surgery, despite reports suggesting all was not well with the champion five-eighth's comeback.

He completed training and some defensive drills in the sand pit.

Michael Ennis gets first crack at the hooking job but Marsh will get plenty of field time off the bench against the Panthers.

Former Penrith prop Clinton will line up against his former teammates after being named up front with Ben Hannant while Corey Parker and former St George Illawarra forward Sims gained the second row spots and Sam Thaiday, David Stagg and Greg Eastwood were named on the bench.

Retiring forward Tonie Carroll, earmarked for an impact role off the bench, has played so well in the trials Bennett has named him as the starting lock.

Robinson, a fleet-footed winger, is the bolter after catching Bennett's eye during the pre-season trials.

He quit training early today after some groin tightness but is not in any danger of missing his big day on Sunday when cousin Anthony Mundine will be in the crowd to see his debut.

Bennett has called a closed session at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday shutting out the media to run some plays in private.

Penrith, to be captained by former Brisbane forward Petero Civoniceva, were expected to arrive in Brisbane today to acclimatise to the warm conditions they'll confront on Sunday afternoon.

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