Broncos halfback Brodie Croft is set to receive a shock call-up to Kevin Walters' starting squad, with the 23-year-old to be handed the No.7 jumper over highly-touted teenager Tom Dearden, per The Courier Mail.
The pair held down key roles for the Broncos during the club's final trial match over the weekend, with Croft manning the five-eighth role in the 34-18 defeat to North Queensland.
It is understood that Croft has come into favouritsm for the starting halfback role come Round 1 after an impressive performance against the Cows, contrasting with Dearden's outing at Dolphin Stadium.
Big news at Broncos ... Brodie Croft training at halfback. Tom Dearden set to be axed for season opener against Eels after starting in the No.7 in trial loss against Cowboys last Saturday night. pic.twitter.com/rr1a67y5ic
— Pete Badel (@badel_cmail) March 1, 2021
The Broncos are set to welcome star playmaker Anthony Milford for the club's season opener against Parramatta on March 12, with the 26-year-old now likely to link up with Croft.
Walters complemented Dearden's performance from the weekend but conceded there was work to be done in earning a starting role after a lapse from the young Broncos in the second half.
“I thought Tom was very good in the first half,” Walters said.
“In the second half, all of our players fell away from the roles they need to be doing.
“It’s all learning from them, Tom is still a young fella but I did like what I saw from him in the opening 40 minutes.”=
“I am very confident Milf will be right to go for round one.
“He will be a welcome addition to the team as well.”
Dearden remains off-contract at Red Hill past this season and shapes to be one of many prolific halves set to gain plenty of interest in the open market.
— ZeroTackle.com (@zerotackle) February 24, 2021