Broncos facing test without McCullough

Steve Zemek

Brisbane are facing a test of their premiership credentials following a radical reshuffle which has Josh McGuire shoe-horned into hooker for Thursday's NRL clash with South Sydney.

With Andrew McCullough out for up to six weeks due to an elbow ligament injury, coach Wayne Bennett has been forced to move regular lock McGuire to dummy-half.

McGuire has worn the No.9 jersey on just four occasions throughout his 10 seasons in the NRL - three times for Samoa and once for the Broncos back in 2016.

For a side already plagued by instability in the halves during the first seven weeks, being forced to move their most potent forward into a relatively unfamiliar key position is an unwelcome headache.

Especially given the Broncos will need all of their go-forward against a South Sydney side which has surprisingly topped the league for metres made this year (1488m per game).

Rabbitohs coach Anthony Seibold worked closely with McGuire during his stint as Queensland assistant coach and said he had the ability to make the positional shift work.

"Josh has played for Australia, he's an outstanding player," Seibold said.

"We've got to go out there and limit what he does out of dummy-half. Josh is an elite player. Elite players can play multiple positions."

South Sydney have once again lost chief enforcer Sam Burgess to suspension however they proved during their recent win over the Sydney Roosters and close loss to St George Illawarra that they are no longer so reliant on him.

Seibold said even without McCullough, the Broncos were one of the most dangerous propositions in the competition and their individual brilliance was enough to carry them to victory.

"The Broncos have got a lot of individual strengths, (Anthony) Milford with his show and go and his offloads, you saw that individual try he scored against the Storm last weekend," Seibold said.

"Darius Boyd is one of the premier outside backs in the game, McGuire looks like he'll probably start at hooker but he's done that before.

"Jack Bird is getting back to full fitness, we understand James Roberts out wide on our left hand side - they've got so much strike power with them.

"We have to make sure we don't switch off in defence. Defence is going to win the game tomorrow night."