The Brisbane Broncos welcome back skipper Gorden Tallis and international centre Shaun Berrigan for this Saturday�s clash with the South Sydney Rabbitohs, but are still without several key players due to injury.
Tallis returns after serving a one-match suspension for a tackle on Bulldogs winger Hazem El Masri, while Berrigan is back after also missing one match due to a shoulder injury.
However, in-form lock Tonie Carroll (shoulder) will join five-eighth Darren Lockyer (rib), prop Shane Webcke (calf) and winger Craig Frawley (hamstring) on the absentee list this week meaning nine of Brisbane�s top squad are unavailable this weekend.
While Carroll, Lockyer, Webcke and Frawley are expected to return for the Broncos huge last round battle with the defending premiers, the Penrith Panthers, Michael Ryan (knee), Michael De Vere (knee), Brett Seymour (knee), David Stagg (ankle) and Barry Berrigan (neck) will not be back this season.
Ben Ikin will once again line-up outside Casey McGuire in Brisbane�s halves, with McGuire having mostly overcome the effects of a nasty high shot by Tigers prop Bryce Gibbs last week.
The Tigers youngster will miss four to six weeks for the hit, which many believed should have seen him sent from the field.
McGuire disagrees however, and said he did not hold a grudge against Gibbs for the forearm shot which left him dazed for several minutes.
"The bloke apologised to me after the game and that's enough for me," said McGuire, who recovered from the sickening blow to score the match-winning try.
"He apologised and I'll let the judiciary do their job now."
Coach Wayne Bennett said McGuire�s effort to score the match-winning try after the high shot was just another example of why he is rated so highly by those inside the Broncos football club.
Bennett said he had no concerns about Lockyer missing the chance to fine-tune his relationship with McGuire heading into the finals because at any time either man could take sole responsibility for directing the team around.
"Neither of them, Darren or Casey, are selfish players, they're both very team oriented people," said Bennett.
"Casey has a pretty laid back personality which probably doesn't help when Darren is out there because he probably leaves it to Darren to make the right calls and is happy to play the support act.
"When Darren is not there, he has to step up to the plate which he did against the Tigers.
"I've said to him on a couple of occasions that I'd want him to do less if he didn't make so many good decisions.
"But he's a good decision maker. He makes a lot of right decisions in an afternoon and that's what it is all about."
VENUE: Aussie Stadium DATE: Saturday, August 28, 2004 TIME: 5.30 pm COACH: Wayne Bennett TEAM: 1: Karmichael Hunt 2: Scott Minto 3: Brent Tate 4: Shaun Berrigan 5: Stuart Kelly 6: Ben Ikin 7: Casey McGuire 8: Carl Webb 9: Neville Costigan 10: Petero Civoniceva 11: Gorden Tallis (c) 12: Corey Parker 13: Dane Carlaw INTERCHANGE: 14: Tom Learoyd 15: Brad Meyers 16: Darren Mapp 17: Paul Green 18: Sam Thaiday (one to be omitted)