Who will step up amid Maroons’ injury crisis?

As the Maroons battle an injury crisis, Dolphins captain Jesse Bromwich has thrown a shock bolter into the mix to bolster Queensland’s diminishing forward stocks.

Resigned to being without enforcers Tino Fa’asuamaleaui and Tom Gilbert to season-ending ACL ruptures, mystery surrounds whether State of Origin Queensland coach Billy Slater will be able to call on the likes of Jai Arrow, Thomas Flegler, Felise Kaufusi and Corey Horsburgh.

Tino Fa’asuamaleaui is helped from the field.Credit: Getty

But as Bromwich prepares to become the first player in NRL history to start 300 games at prop, he has endorsed Josh Kerr as a man capable of resurrecting Queensland’s crusade.

Kerr was on the cusp of an Origin debut in 2020, named 18th man by Wayne Bennett, and an off-season transformation has culminated in his most fruitful campaign, which could put him in a head-to-head battle with Parramatta lock J’maine Hopgood for a spot.

The 28-year-old has made 109 running metres off the bench – the first time in a seven-year career he has surpassed the three-figure milestone – while his 1.6 tackle busts an outing was also a personal best.

Bromwich believed Kerr’s mindset would reap rewards should he make the June 5 Origin series opener.

Queensland Maroons injury concerns

  • Tino Fa’asuamaleaui [ACL, season] 
  • Tom Gilbert [ACL, season] 
  • Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow [hamstring, round 11-13]
  • Jai Arrow [shoulder, TBC] 
  • Thomas Flegler [shoulder, TBC] 
  • Corey Horsburgh [groin, round 11] 
  • Coen Hess [ACL, season] 
  • Murray Taulagi [hamstring, TBC]
  • Felise Kaufusi [hamstring, TBC]
  • Heilum Luki [ankle, round 9]

“Last year he was playing at 120-something kilos, but he turned up to preseason at 114 kilograms … from day one he meant business,” Bromwich said, as the 50-day series countdown launched in Melbourne.

“He plays his best when he just keeps it simple and just runs straight and hard, getting us quick play the balls, and he’s been doing that.

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