Brisbane captain Sam Thaiday is likely to be granted his wish to return to the back row after teammate Corey Parker underwent surgery to repair ligament damage in his thumb on Monday.
With the workaholic Parker to miss between four to six NRL games, Thaiday is likely to be spared another in the front row against Newcastle this weekend with international prop Petero Civoniceva set to join Ben Hannant up front.
Being captain doesn’t mean Thaiday always gets what he wants.
Coach Anthony Griffin had commissioned him to play prop and defend in the middle of the ruck in the first two rounds against Parramatta and North Queensland.
Thaiday prefers to play out on the right edge and, with Parker’s injury forcing a reshuffle, he may get his wish against the Knights.
“We’ve got a few options with guys like (Matt) Gillett and Civoniceva,” said Griffin, describing the injury to Parker as a “massive loss”.
“We’ll probably go with Petero (at prop) and push Sammy (Thaiday) back to the lock position.”
If that’s the case, Alex Glenn and Ben Te’o, who’s negotiating his future, will remain in the second row with Matt Gillett coming off the bench.
Civoniceva played close to 40 minutes off the bench against the Cowboys and Griffin has no concerns about his ability to step straight into the starting role.
“He had a quality 37 minutes against the Cowboys and got us going forward and he defended very well.
“He’s ready to go.”
Parker does the little extras that can often add to being the difference between winning and losing a close game.
“It’s a ligament thing, not a fracture,” said Griffin of Parker’s injury.
“He has to have it pinned or attached back or he won’t have the ability to grip properly.
“He’s frustrated by it because it’s not that sore but he has to be fixed.”
Newcastle have their own concerns with playmaker Kurt Gidley to miss the game with a shoulder injury.
Brisbane centre Jack Reed said every player would have to step up their work rate to cover the loss of the ultra-busy Parker.
“Parky is an absolute workhorse and the whole team has to put their hand up,” he said.
“If it means a couple of extra carries each, which Parky would do for us, and a couple of extra efforts off the ball, then we have to aim up as a team.”
Reed, who has been a revelation at centre and earmarked as a future lock, is hoping it doesn’t happen this weekend with Griffin looking at all his options.
“I’m liking it on the edge but I’ll do what’s best for the squad,” said Reed.
“Getting in the middle and pulling that jersey on will be a tough gig, I feel sorry for the bloke who has to do it … I hope it’s not me.”