Brisbane Broncos coach Kevin Walters has confirmed Tyson Smoothy will make his club debut in Round 15 against the Newcastle Knights.

The Broncos will head into the clash looking to strengthen their position as equal top of the table, which could move to outright if the Penrith Panthers come up short against the Sydney Roosters.

The Broncos also still have all three byes to play with, of which the first is next weekend.

The clash against the Knights, at home on Saturday evening, will serve as Adam Reynolds' final chance to push for a State of Origin jumper, but will also see a surprise change, with Cory Paix dumped to reserve grade.

Suncorp Stadium
   Crowd: 35,814

Smoothy, who played a handful of games at the Melbourne Storm in 2021, hasn't been seen in the NRL since, instead playing for the Sunshine Coast Falcons last year.

Named the QLD Cup's hooker of the season, his impressive form saw the Broncos offer him a one-year contract, and after more impressive form in reserve grade, he will now make his club debut at the Broncos, adding to the hooking race at Red Hill, with young gun Blake Mozer also likely to push for a run in first-grade by the time 2023 is out.

At Wynnum Manly, Smoothy has averaged 39 tackles per game at 95 per cent efficiency, scored two tries, added three try assists and been dangerous when electing to run the ball.

Kevin Walters, speaking after the club's captains run on Friday morning, said that Paix wants to get better, while Smoothy deserves his opportunity.

“Tyson has been playing some good footy in Queensland Cup so he will get his opportunity this weekend while Paixy goes back and gets some more game time in Cup," Walters said.

“Paixy wants to get better and he understands what is best for him and for the club is for him to go back and work on his game and play some more footy.

“Tyson is a good professional, he passes the ball well and he tackles well and gets the ball to where it needs to be on the field and I'm looking forward to him taking the opportunity to play NRL again.”

It means Smoothy joins a bench that features Brendan Piakura, Kobe Hetherington and Martin Taupau, with final team cuts to 19 to be made official at 5:30pm (AEST) on Friday evening ahead of kick-off 24 hours later.