Former Hull FC halfback Albert Kelly is said to be in trouble of nailing down a first-team spot following a poor first showing in 2022.
Kelly was named at number 7 for Brisbane Broncos in their trial game against the Gold Coast Titans, but failed to impress as Tyson Gamble came off the bench to put his best foot forward ahead of the 2022 NRL season starting.
“Kevvie Walters is not happy and no doubt he would be concerned because this five-eighth role is so pivotal,” Michael Ennis said to Fox Sports.
“Who partners Adam Reynolds is the biggest story around Brisbane at the moment.
“They have got some wonderful outside backs. They have got great forwards. But who partners Adam Reynolds? It is vital for Brisbane’s success this year.
“I think it is concerning that so close to the season the Broncos don’t know their five-eighth.
“These last few weeks should be just fine tuning that combination because it is a new one. If we are still sitting here wondering who their five-eighth is two weeks out I think that is a concern for Brisbane.”
30-year-old Kelly has made a combined 171 NRL and Super League appearances since debuting in 2010 and has been impressive since making his Australian comeback with the Broncos midway through the 2021 season.
He made a number of appearances for Brisbane last season after returning from England where he played 118 games for Hull KR and then Hull Fs between 2015 and 2020, scoring 67 tries in total in the Super League.
He played a total of 47 NRL games for Cronulla and the Titans from 2010 to 2014 before his overseas stint.
On his return to Australia earlier in 2021, he played consistent football for Broncos Affiliate South Logan Magpies before being given another shot at the NRL with a debut for Brisbane in Round 11 against the Sydney Roosters.
That night, Kelly helped orchestrate a memorable 34-16 upset at the Sydney Cricket Ground and he has been a part of the Broncos’ NRL squad ever since.
But, now the pressure is mounting on Kelly to nail down a regular spot in the side with the likes of Billy Walters, Ezra Mam, Tyson Gamble and Tyrone Roberts all vying for that number 6 alongside Adam Reynolds.
“I did notice where Adam Reynolds is going to impact the Broncos the most,” Ennis continued.
“They had a couple of end of sets where they kicked the ball dead and Albert Kelly left the field because of that.
“I thought Billy Walters handled himself well and held his own, but the Adam Reynolds effect is going to take place.”