MCGUIRE’S STRAP­PING STAND- INS

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - PAUL MALONE

WITH one un­for­tu­nate snap of Josh McGuire’s achilles ten­don, the Bron­cos had to find a miss­ing 126 run me­tres and 29 tack­les a game for the rest of their premier­ship drive.

Those were the sea­son av­er­age sta­tis­tics for McGuire be­fore his in­jury on June 26, which, in the way football clubs ex­ist to pick up the pieces and move on, of­fered fresh op­por­tu­nity to Jar­rod Wal­lace and Mitchell Dodds.

While Sam Thai­day has

been moved to start in the mid­dle in Bris­bane’s two wins since the loss of McGuire, Dodds re­ceived 39 min­utes of ac­tion, 10 min­utes more than his sea­son av­er­age, off the bench in the grind­ing win over Can­ter­bury two weeks ago.

“Ev­ery­one knows they have to pick up their game be­cause Josh gets through a lot of work and makes a lot of me­tres,’’ Dodds said as he pre­pared for a fifth straight mis­sion off the bench in to­mor­row night’s home clash with Gold Coast.

Dodds, a mem­ber of Bris­bane’s 2008 un­der- 20s side which groomed McGuire, Ben Hunt and Alex Glenn, has played 66 NRL games in a ca­reer in­ter­rupted by an ACL rup­ture which cost him his 2014 sea­son.

“That time out of the game, you won­der if you’ve still got it in you,’’ he said. “I’m glad it’s all past and I’m lov­ing play­ing again.

“I’m hop­ing to get re­signed at the end of the year but that’s the game we’re in.’’

Both Dodds and Wal­lace train and play at the mo­ment with heav­ily strapped knees, which is what can hap­pen for props when football sea­sons get to July.

“We are held to­gether by tape,’’ Dodds said.

Wal­lace has seen on av­er­age 35 min­utes in a sea­son of progress, com­pared to McGuire’s av­er­age of 50 min­utes a game, and ran for 80m and 82m in his two games since McGuire’s in­jury.

“Los­ing Josh for the sea­son, there was go­ing to be no quick fix,’’ Corey Parker said.

“Those are the play­ers we have got and we needed play­ers to step up. Jar­rod has the abil­ity to do that.’’

Pic­ture: LIAM KID­STON

IN SPOTLIGHT: Jar­rod Wal­lace and Mitchell Dodds have both been called upon to step up for the Bron­cos.

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