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Staggs, Mago in Brisbane Broncos debuts


(AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

Kotoni Staggs' utility value has earned him an NRL debut for the injury-hit Brisbane Broncos.

The 19-year-old won the final bench spot ahead of Gehamat Shibasaki as the Broncos do their best to paper over the cracks ahead of Friday's clash with the Sydney Roosters.

Former North Queensland player Patrick Mago will also make his first appearance in a Broncos side missing a host of big names.

Alex Glenn, Matt Gillett, Josh McGuire, Jordan Kahu and Payne Haas are all injured and unavailable for Wayne Bennett's ninth-placed side.

Out-of-sorts Cronulla recruit Jack Bird is also been left out as he nurses a sternum injury while James Roberts pulled up with achilles soreness on Thursday but is expected to play.

It led to Bennett naming an ultra-youthful squad that included 18-year-old David Fifita, who becomes the first player born in the 21st century to be included on an NRL team's extended bench.

But Bennett said Staggs' form for Queensland Cup side Redcliffe and his versatility was enough to earn him his start.

"He can play a number of positions for us and we need that," Bennett conceded.

"With three forwards there, we put four there it's not going to work.

"He an play back-row, halfback, centre, wing; he's a pretty handy player and his general attitude around the club, his form, he trains as good as anyone in the club and for a young bloke he's outstanding actually."

Bennett, 68, chuckled at the significance of Fifita's squad inclusion.

"David's a bit like Payne Haas, he's too young (to debut)," the coach said.

"I don't think that way mate (about his age), but thanks for telling me about it."

Bennett said the injury toll was a hindrance but not critical.

"I remember having eight or nine injured (in the past), so we're not there yet," he said.

"I'd rather have the best team out there every week; I don't see how it's a blessing in disguise but it's a challenge."

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