NRL Rd 9 - Broncos v Bulldogs
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 11: Corey Oates of the Broncos celebrates his team's victory during the round nine NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Canterbury Bulldogs at Suncorp Stadium on July 11, 2020 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

Corey Oates could be left in a position of needing to save his career without any regular first grade action.

The veteran winger, who has made 170 NRL appearances at the age of 27 since his debut in the 2013 season, has struggled for consistent game time in the last two years.

Despite being one of the best wingers in the competition, having played more than 20 games in every year between 2014 and 2019, an ill-fated move to the second row saw him slide down the pecking order at Red Hill.

He has played just 14 games in each of the last two years and, according to The Daily Telegraph is no sure thing to start in the opening round.

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It was tipped that the injury to Tesi Niu would likely push Selwyn Cobbo to fullback, leaving the wing spots to be fought out by Jamayne Isaako, new recruit Jordan Pereira and Oates, of which Oates seemed the run away leader for a spot.

But the publication reports that may now not happen, with Isaako in the running to wear the number one jersey. Given Cobbo will certainly be in the team somewhere, that would only leave one wing spot.

And it's understood Pereira's off-season, despite being out of favour at the St George Illawarra Dragons before his move north, could win him the spot.

WOLLONGONG, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 23: Jordan Pereira of the Dragons is tackled during the NRL trail match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Newcastle Knights at WIN Stadium on February 23, 2019 in Wollongong, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Off-contract at the end of the year, Oates told the publication he was backing himself to get the job done.

“I’ve done it pretty much every time I’ve signed a contract, I’ve left it late until the middle of the year,” Oates said.

“I don’t want to be picked on my performances from previous years. I want to be signed on from what I can bring this year.

“That’s up to me and my performances. That’s all I’m choosing to do on the day.

“I’ve done it before, I can do it again.

“I know I can get back to the player everyone thinks I am and I honestly feel really good about myself and my body.

“If I keep doing all of the extra stuff to keep my body feeling fresh, I can only be happy with what I put on the field.

“The rest is up to (Kevvie). The contract thing will sort itself out if my performances on the field are what I want them to be.”

The Broncos will open their season on Friday evening against the South Sydney Rabbitohs in a game which will be dominated by headlines around Adam Reynolds going up against his old team, provided he can beat the coronavirus, which has left him in a race against time.

Teams for the clash will be announced at 4pm (AEDT) on Tuesday afternoon.

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