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Barba could feature at pivot: Broncos

A switch to pivot might be on the cards for prized signing Ben Barba as Brisbane look to appease form fullback Josh Hoffman.
Barba could feature at pivot: Broncos
by AAP

By Laine Clark

BRISBANE, Aug 29 AAP - A switch to pivot might be on the cards for prized signing Ben Barba as Brisbane look to appease form fullback Josh Hoffman.

Broncos coach Anthony Griffin personally told Hoffman that Barba had signed a three-year deal from 2014 before the NRL club trumpeted the news on Wednesday.

Hoffman reportedly left the meeting fuming over the prospect of the Dally M Medallist replacing him in the Broncos No.1 jersey next year and contemplated a release from his contract which expires at the end of 2015.

However, Griffin painted a different picture on Thursday, even suggesting Barba could slot into the five-eighth role vacated by the retiring Scott Prince.

Asked if Barba was going to play at fullback next year, Griffin said: "He's got the ability to play in a lot of positions.

"He's has the ability to play five-eighth or in the halves."

Griffin admitted it was tough telling Hoffman they had signed Barba but complimented the Kiwi international on his ability to rise to previous challenges at the club.

After initially being relegated to winger this year, Hoffman wrestled back the No.1 jersey from Parramatta-bound Corey Norman to become one of the NRL's form fullbacks.

"He was the best left winger in the game for about 14 weeks this year and is doing a great job at fullback," Griffin said.

Meanwhile, the injury curse struck again for unlucky winger Jordan Kahu ahead of Brisbane's must-win clash with Newcastle at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.

Kahu (quad) will be replaced by Lachlan Maranta.

It has forced yet another backline reshuffle for the Broncos who have endured injuries throughout the season, most notably a year-ending achilles tear to veteran centre Justin Hodges.

And it was another setback for Kahu who returned in round four after two knee reconstructions in two years, only to break his thumb and then his hand.

Griffin said he opted for Maranta over young gun Jordan Drew who made his NRL debut three weeks ago.

After losing last round 28-12 to Penrith, Brisbane are still just one point outside the top eight but sit 13th on a congested NRL ladder with two rounds left.

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