Walsh injury blow for Broncos as young gun gets debut

Brisbane have suffered another injury blow with fullback Reece Walsh ruled out of their Manly clash with a knee injury.

The Broncos will switch centre Selwyn Cobbo to No.1 and give Josiah Karapani his NRL debut in the centres, coach Kevin Walters said ahead of Friday night's Magic Round showdown. Karapani, 22, has been shining for Burleigh in the Queensland Cup.

"Walshy has pulled up lame during the week with his knee and is not quite right today so we will leave him out bring Josiah in at left centre," Walters said on Thursday.

"We picked Josiah up from Souths last year. He started the year a bit slow but has really accelerated his form the last couple of weeks. I like his speed and his whole attitude shift. It is really positive for him.

"I don't think it will be a long-term thing for Reece. I think a week (out) to get it steady. He is just favouring it, which I picked up this morning."

Reece Walsh and Kevin Walters.
Reece Walsh and Broncos coach Kevin Walters share a moment at training.

Brisbane don't have the option of playing Tristan Sailor at fullback because he is out for at least a month with an ankle injury.

Cobbo has played fullback before with panache.

"It is nice for him to be interchanged between those positions and he played their before with great success," Walters said.

"We expect nothing more than his best tomorrow night for us."

The Broncos are already without captain Adam Reynolds for 12 weeks with a ruptured biceps. His absence will give Jock Madden an extended run at No.7.

Manly have their own injury woes due to the hamstring injury to Tom Trbojevic.

They will play electric centre Tolutau Koula at fullback in his 50th NRL game.

Tolutau Koula.
Tolutau Koula charges into the Dolphins defence last round in Brisbane.

Coach Anthony Seibold said Koula was a player he had the utmost confidence in.

"Tolu Koula showed in the last couple of games last year what he can do as a fullback," Seibold said.

"His weapons are a bit different to Turbo's. He has been fantastic for us and I feel as though he is just scratching the surface. He has so much potential.

"Obviously speed is a weapon and I also really like how brave he is and how hard he competes. He is just a really good young man and a real pleasure to coach."

The Sea Eagles welcome back boom back-rower Haumole Olokau'atu from a two-week suspension. They lost both games he missed and the NSW Blues hopeful will add physicality and skill on the edge.

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