NRL Rd 15 - Broncos v Dragons
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 21: Kotoni Staggs of the Broncos looks on during the round 15 NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the St George Illawarra Dragons at Suncorp Stadium on August 21, 2020 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

Brisbane Broncos' star Kotoni Staggs has opened up on his fitness ahead of the 2022 season, saying he will be ready to go for Round 1.

Staggs has had a horror last 18 months with injury.

He first suffered an ACL injury at the back end of the 2020 season. With that year already delayed by the COVID-enforced shutdown of the competition, Staggs nine-month recovery meant he was unable to return until Round 16 of the 2021 season.

He played 59 minutes against the Cronulla Sharks on return, setting up a try, making a pair of line breaks and, even from a wide position in the centres, made the Broncos look an immediately better team.

He would play a further three games, losses to the Wests Tigers and Penrith Panthers, before injuring his MCL against the North Queensland Cowboys with just five minutes to play in an injury which would ultimately end his season after just four appearances.

But Staggs was fit for the start of pre-season and will be ready to go for Round 1, where he is expected to take up a position in the centres despite plenty of speculation he was due to move into the halves in an apparent change of preferred position.

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Staggs told reporters on Wednesday that a full pre-season has given him a heap of confidence.

“The body is feeling good. There’s times where coaches and staff will pull me out of some drills just to give my legs a bit of a break but I’m basically in everything now, back to full training and back on the edge. I love being back to where I was,” Staggs told the media.

“I did a lot of work to get back onto the field (after the ACL injury). It wasn’t a short period of time, it took nine months until I got back on.

“I was out on the field for four weeks, which I didn’t really plan to do — hopefully I’m there a bit longer this year.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 28: Kotoni Staggs of the Broncos looks on after a Roosters try during the round 16 NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the Brisbane Broncos at the Sydney Cricket Ground on August 28, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

“But it gave me a heap of confidence to be able to have a fresh start in pre-season and get the whole pre-season done, which I hadn’t been able to do for a couple of years now. I’ve missed probably missed a pre-season and a bit, but to be able to do a full pre-season this year, it’s given me a lot of confidence.

“The staff here are great and they are making sure that I am doing everything that I need to make sure that I’m 100 per cent when I run out for that first game of the season.”

The return of Staggs, as well as the addition of Brenko Lee, creates an intriguing dynamic for the club, given Herbie Farnworth will almost certainly command the position on the other side of the park.

It means Lee is likely to be the depth option, while others in the backline could also shift into the centres should more injury strike.