Bronco's Positions still Wide

Brisbane Bronco fullback Darren Lockyer reckons the battle is fierce for selection in next month's rugby league season opener against the Warriors.

Coach Wayne Bennett has trials later this month against Melbourne and the Roosters to run an eye over his options, including off-season recruit Motu Tony plus Berrick Barnes, Karmichael Hunt and Tom Learoyd.

"Everything is a bit up in the air where blokes have been training," said Lockyer, after modelling a jumper with new sponsor Mortgage House on the sleeve.

"There's probably three or four positions up for grabs and there's going to be some really fierce competition.

"Blokes will get their chance in the trials and whatever works best, I'm sure Wayne will pick the right combination."

There's a question mark over whether Queensland halfback Shaun Berrigan could return to hooker although it's more likely he'll be used as a roving utility.

Lockyer wont rule out a rookie teenager making his NRL debut against the Warriors.

"It's hard to tell until we play the trials," he said.

"But if they (rookies) put their hand up and go well in the trials they might even earn themselves a spot in the first game."

Bennett is far from settled on his selections following the retirements of veteran prop Andrew Gee, utility Phil Lee and five-eighth Ben Ikin.

Scott Prince has also left for the Wests Tigers and hooker Richard Swain has signed with English club Hull.

Brett Seymour should play in the halves depending on what Bennett decides to do with Berrigan and Tony who can play fullback or five-eighth.

Lockyer is ready to go following his break after leading the Kangaroos to a clean sweep against Great Britain late last year.

"You have to put a lot of hard work into getting the body physically fit again and you push yourself mentally, but I'm ready to play again now," he declared.

It took Lockyer longer to get back to top shape following an arduous season playing for Brisbane, Queensland and Australia.

"I'm not sure what it is, probably the age factor, but you do tend to take longer to recover and get over the soreness," he said.

"You also tend to lose a touch of speed every year but the older you get, the smarter you get."

Lockyer said it was important for Brisbane to get off to a good start and not dwell on the club's poor finish to 2003 which included a record 40-4 loss to the Bulldogs.

"When you get on a losing streak you lose confidence that's what happened to us last year," he said.

"But if we start well and string a few wins to together the confidence grows so it's vital we play well in the trials.

"Our attack was 12th or 13th in the comp and that's unlike the Broncos," said Lockyer.

"We've got a few areas to work on but it takes time to build that intimidation factor up again."