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Staggs, Mago in Brisbane NRL debuts

A back-flipping Kotoni Staggs is Wayne Bennett's latest surprise packet as injury-hit Brisbane do their best to counter a mounting NRL injury toll.

The versatile 19-year-old won the final bench spot ahead of Gehamat Shibasaki, as the Broncos do their best to paper over the cracks ahead of Friday night's clash with the Sydney Roosters.

Former North Queensland player Patrick Mago, having played twice for the Cowboys before moving south, will also make his first appearance in a Broncos side missing a host of big names.

Alex Glenn, Matt Gillett, Josh McGuire, Jordan Kahu and Payne Haas are all injured and unavailable for Bennett's ninth-placed side.

Out-of-sorts Cronulla recruit Jack Bird has also been left out as he nurses a sternum injury, while James Roberts has pulled up with achilles soreness on Thursday but is expected to play.

It led to Bennett naming an ultra-youthful squad including 18-year-old David Fifita, who becomes the first player born in the 21st century to be included on a NRL team's extended bench.

But Bennett said Wellington-raised Staggs, who celebrated the final try at Thursday's training session with a backflip - had earned the call-up after starring for Queensland Cup side Redcliffe.

"He can play a number of positions for us and we need that," Bennett conceded.

"With three forwards there, we put four there - it's not going to work.

"He an play back-row, halfback, centre, wing; he's a pretty handy player and his general attitude around the club, his form, he trains as good as anyone in the club and, for a young bloke, he's outstanding actually."

Bennett, 68, chuckled at the significance of Fifita's squad inclusion.

"David's a bit like Payne Haas - he's too young (to debut)," the coach said.

"I don't think that way mate (about his age), but thanks for telling me about it."

Bennett said the injury toll was a hindrance but not critical.

"I remember having eight or nine injured (in the past), so we're not there yet," he said.

"I'd rather have the best team out there every week; I don't see how it's a blessing in disguise but it's a challenge."

© AAP 2018