Rugby recruit hailed as Broncos X-factor

Izaia Perese has been selected to make his NRL debut for Brisbane.
Izaia Perese has been selected to make his NRL debut for Brisbane.

Ex-Queensland Reds player Izaia Perese is already being hailed as an X-factor by Brisbane before his NRL debut against Penrith on Friday night.

Broncos coach Anthony Seibold confirmed on Thursday that Perese would replace Rhys Kennedy on the bench for the Suncorp Stadium clash they must win to retain their hold on a finals spot.

It may appear to be a gamble but Seibold said the 22-year-old had earned his spurs after a stunning Queensland Cup stint with Redcliffe since switching codes in the pre-season.

A former schoolboy rugby teammate of Kalyn Ponga, Perese leads the Queensland Cup with a remarkable 117 tackle breaks in just 15 games.

The barnstorming centre has scored seven tries in his past eight games to keep eighth-placed Redcliffe on track for finals football.

He now hopes to play a hand in Brisbane's NRL top eight fortunes.

Perese had made a name for himself in rugby from an early age after combining with Ponga and South Sydney forward Jaydn Su'A to help Anglican Church "Churchie" Grammar win the Brisbane Greater Public Schools title in 2014.

But Seibold predicted Perese to make NRL fans sit up and take notice after switching from the Reds where he played 17 Super Rugby games from 2016-18.

"He has some X-factor about him," he said.

"It's an important game for us but I feel Izzy has played under the bright lights of Suncorp before in the Reds jersey, now there is an opportunity for him to do it in the Broncos jersey."

Just eight months ago Perese couldn't hold down his lunch let alone hold his own in league after signing with the Broncos.

"It was tough. I pretty much was just holding the vomit down," he told Broncos website about his first Brisbane pre-season training session.

Perese has stated a case for selection that Seibold admitted he could no longer ignore.

"He struggled a bit with the training load when he first came across and he was training by himself for a little while, then he came across and it was a pretty big eye opener for him at the end of December," Seibold said.

"I have allowed him to learn the game at Redcliffe. Now he is ready to have an opportunity."

Meanwhile, Seibold confirmed veterans Alex Glenn (knee) and Matt Gillett (back) had again been sidelined.

"All going well those two guys will be ready for next weekend," he said.

Australian Associated Press