Bennett rings in the changes


Coach Wayne Bennett has made a host of changes to the ?baby Broncos? outfit nailed by South Sydney in round 14 ahead of their second and final test of the season against in-form Cronulla at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.

With the club again missing eight Queensland stars due to Origin duty and injury ahead of Wednesday week?s decider at Telstra Dome in Melbourne, Bennett today made four player and numerous positional adjustments to the side beaten 34-14 by the then winless Rabbitohs.

Young flanker Leon Bott, rookie 17-year-old prop David Taylor and injured first-grade regulars Greg Eastwood (hamstring) and Ben Hannant (knee) all lose their spots.

This allows 22-year-old Kiwi prop Ben Vaeau, pictured, to debut in the NRL and return-from-injury back Scott Minto and forward Nick Kenny to make long awaited returns to first-grade.

Giant Kiwi Tame Tupou missed round 14 with a knee injury and will be partnered on the wing in round 17 by Fraser Anderson, 21, who made his NRL debut against the Rabbitohs.

Talented five-eighth/lock Joel Moon, 18, debuted with Anderson and Taylor that night and also retains his spot in the baby Broncos side.

Eastwood and Casey McGuire were the centres against Souths but that role against the fourth-placed Sharks will be handled by Minto and usual second-rower Dane Carlaw.

McGuire moves into the starting hooker role in place of pint-sized rookie Ian Lacey who drops to the bench as back-up dummy-half.

McGuire is part of a mini reshuffle of the round 14 forward pack with Carlaw replaced in the second-row by David Stagg who moves from lock where Neville Costigan has been promoted from the bench.

Kenny, Lacey, Vaeau and Moon make up the interchange.

Vaeau is a strong running prop, standing at 184cm and weighing 106kg.

The Mangere Easts junior from Auckland joined the Broncos at the start of last season from premier league club Newtown in Sydney where he played the 2004 season before being spotted by a Broncos talent scout.

Kenny, 23, earned his second career NRL game after his tireless efforts in the front-row this year have helped Toowoomba remain in the Queensland Cup top five.

Kenny made his first-grade debut for the baby Broncos in the corresponding fixture last year won by Brisbane 22-10.

Minto, 27, started the season with the Clydesdales before the pain of losing the NRL wing spot he owned in 2005 was worsened by a torn pectoral muscle that required surgery after round three.

Queensland Origin contigent of captain Darren Lockyer, Petero Civoniceva, Brent Tate, Shaun Berrigan, Tonie Carroll and Sam Thaiday left for Melbourne today, while Maroons game two pair Justin Hodges (hamstring) and Karmichael Hunt (foot) watched on at Broncos training.

NRL Round 17 Brisbane Broncos vs Cronulla Sharks Sunday, July 2, Suncorp Stadium Kick-off: 2.30pm

Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd 2. Tame Tupou 3. Scott Minto 4. Dane Carlaw 5. Fraser Anderson 6. Brett Seymour 7. Shane Perry 8. Shane Webcke (c) 9. Casey McGuire 10. Brad Thorn 11. David Stagg 12. Corey Parker 13. Neville Costigan

Interchange: 14. Nick Kenny 15. Ben Vaeau 16. Ian Lacey 17. Joel Moon Coach: Wayne Bennett