Brisbane young gun ready to snatch utility role
KOTONI Staggs is the frontrunner for Brisbane's crucial utility spot with coach Anthony Seibold set to install 'Special K' as the Broncos' new interchange super sub.
Staggs has been named at centre for Saturday night's trial against Wynnum Manly at Kougari Oval, but new Broncos mentor Seibold has a multifaceted plan for the 20-year-old for Brisbane's premiership campaign.
The Broncos have a history of producing matchwinning utilities, with the likes of John Plath, Shaun Berrigan, Ben Hunt and Kodi Nikorima having previously worn the No.14 jumper.
Brisbane's utility spot is up for grabs and Seibold believes he has an interchange strike weapon in the speedy Staggs, who is capable of playing wing, centre, fullback, lock and hooker.
"As a 14, Kotoni Staggs is the standout for me," Seibold said.
"He's got great versatility and is similar to how I used Adam Doueihi (Rabbitohs utility) at Souths last year.
"Kotoni is someone who can play multiple positions, particularly in the outside backs.
"It's really important with the HIA (Head Injury Assessment) rules ... if a winger or centre cops a bump, they have to come off for an assessment, so you need someone who can cover several positions.
"Last year, there was 15 times where we had to use an OB (outside back) for HIA or injuries, so Kotoni has his head in front there (for the No.14 jumper)."
Staggs was among a posse of Broncos rookies to make their NRL debut last season, playing nine games, including eight off the bench, and scoring a try in a memorable debut against the Roosters.
The Wellington product continued his development with his selection last week for the Indigenous All Stars, where he rubbed shoulders with Origin big guns Andrew Fifita, Josh Addo-Carr, Latrell Mitchell and Will Chambers.
Staggs admits his long-term goal is to be a full-time centre at the Broncos, but is prepared to serve an apprenticeship as Brisbane's interchange Mr Fixit.
"I prefer to play one spot, centre, but we have great centres at the moment (in James Roberts and Jack Bird)," Staggs said.
"I get a crack this week at centre (against Wynnum Manly), but the utility spot is there for me.
"I've had a chat to 'Seibs', he has spoken to me about being that No.14.
"I will grab it with both hands. Playing off the bench this season is something I will look forward to."
Staggs said he enters the new campaign more confident after his NRL baptism last season.
"Last season was something I can look back at," he said.
"It came very quickly for me, getting my debut and being in the team. Looking back, I got a lot of confidence out of the year."