Brisbane young guns Ben Hunt and Corey Norman will team up in the halves on Saturday night as they start their battle to wear Darren Lockyer’s old No.6 Broncos jersey.
Coach Anthony Griffin is set to name Hunt and Norman on Tuesday as starters in the season-opening trial against North Queensland at Redcliffe’s Dolphin Oval.
Seasoned halfback Peter Wallace will be rested from the pre-season clash with the youngsters to start and share time at halfback and five-eighth.
Gold Coast recruit Luke Capewell, another No.6 contender, will also see time against the Cowboys but Hunt and Norman will get first crack at taking former skipper Lockyer’s position.
Prop Josh Maguire has been cleared of an eye injury to play on Saturday night in a Brisbane team that will feature close to a dozen NRL players.
While most attention will be on the Broncos playmakers, the Cowboys are depleted in the halves department with Johnathan Thurston playing in the All Stars clash on the Gold Coast.
Injuries have created bigger problems with Wests Tigers recruit Robert Lui unavailable for six weeks due to a dislocated patella and torn knee cartilage.
He joins Michael Morgan (ankle) and Ben Jones (torn pectoral) on the sidelines, while Ray Thompson should be named on Tuesday to start.
Thurston is one of five Cowboys playing in the All Stars match while the Broncos have four.