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4 days ago
Lightning-fast teenager Leon Bott will make his debut for the Broncos in this weekend's massive round one clash with the North Queensland Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium.
Bott, who is completing his final school year final at The Gap High State High, is the only major selection shock by coach Wayne Bennett. A NSW sprint champion, Bott toured with the Australian Schoolboys rugby union in 2003 and 2004 and secured a spot in Brisbane's starting side by scoring five tries in three trials.
Knocking back huge offers to join the Roosters of continue with rugby union, Bott chose the Broncos to follow in the footsteps of his hero Lote Tuqiri and has sizzled in pre-season testing, recording the quickest 40 m sprint times in the club's 18-year history.
Prodigal son Justin Hodges returns to the Broncos on the other wing, with Test stars Shaun Berrigan and Brent Tate staving of a challenge for their centre postions.
Up forward, Bennett has opted to start with workhorse backrower David Stagg, allowing him the comfort of bringing Brad Thorn off the bench.
Thorn, who has returned to Brisbane after four years in rugby union, has been named on a six-man bench which includes fellow forwards Dane Carlaw, Neville Costigan, Sam Thaiday and Darren Mapp, with the versatile Casey McGuire rounding out the squad.
Stagg and lock Tonie Carroll are likely to be the designated defenders on either side of the ruck for Bennett, with Carroll a noted hitter and Stagg catching the attention of everyone when he set a NRL record of 59 tackles in one match last season.
Squad: Karmichael Hunt, Justin Hodges, Brent Tate, Shaun Berrigan, Leon Bott, Darren Lockyer (c), Brett Seymour, Shane Webcke, Barry Berrigan, Petero Civoniceva, Corey Parker, David Stagg,Tonie Carroll. Inter: Brad Thorn, Casey Maguire, Darren Mapp, Dane Carlaw, Sam Thaiday, Neville Costigan (two to be omitted).