Broncos rocked by COVID scare
The Brisbane Broncos have been rocked by a COVID scare, with backline player Jordan Kahu placed in isolation as he awaits test results.
Kahu has not been spotted at Broncos training this week and was not named in the 21-man squad for Thursday night's clash against Penrith at Suncorp Stadium.
Kahu made his return from a 350-day NRL absence in the Broncos' Round 15 loss to the Dragons a fortnight ago.
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He made back-to-back appearances in Brisbane's 58-12 loss to the Roosters last Friday night, but his hopes of playing three straight games have been dashed by illness.
Interim Broncos coach Peter Gentle confirmed Kahu had been banned from the club's "bubble" while he awaited results from a COVID test.
"He had a sore throat earlier in the week so he had to get COVID tested," he said.
"We haven't got the results yet so he can't come back into the bubble until we get the result."
Kahu will be replaced in the centres by Herbie Farnworth while Queensland Origin winger Corey Oates will make his return to the side.
Oates hasn't played since he suffered a nasty laceration to his leg in the Broncos' Round 10 loss to Wests Tigers.
Oates has missed six games and Gentle said the Broncos did not want to rush him back into the NRL with limited training.
"It's great to have him back there, a bit of experience back in the team, along with Payne Haas and Issac Luke," he said.
"They've all played in big games and we're desperately lacking that at the moment.
"He was coming off a pretty nasty injury and had only done a few days of training.
"While he thought he was ready to play (last week), we wanted to give him another week to get some miles in his legs.
"You have to look after your players. They're a danger to themselves more often than not. He was underdone so we gave him another week.
"He's trained the house down and is ready to go."
The Broncos will also welcome back NSW Origin prop Payne Haas from a two-game suspension when they face the No. 1 ranked Panthers.
The Broncos are on a seven-game losing streak and Gentle said the return of Haas, whose suspension coincided with the death of older brother Chace, was a welcome boost.
"It's very timely getting him back now," Gentle said.
"In the middle we've lacked a lot of experience.
"He is going great. He came in last Thursday, he was desperate to get back in. It was all his own choice.
"We told him to do what he needed to do but he's spent every day in here.
"He's got a lot of good friends here. He's very comfortable around the place. He is itching to play.
"We're chasing wins - not just one. We've got four games, we've got to chase wins.
"We've changed training a little bit, the schedule's changed with the days we're training on.
"There's a bit of variation in training in the hope of getting a response and positive performance from the boys."