Fractured rib cruels Staggs ahead of NSW audition

Brisbane centre Kotoni Staggs has been ruled out of the NRL clash with Gold Coast on Sunday with a fractured rib, sending his NSW hopes up in flames.

The 25-year-old was rubbed out after training on Tuesday after fronting the media and explaining how much he wanted to line up in an Indigenous jersey he had helped design.

Staggs fractured his rib in the first half of the 13-12 win over Manly last week and played the entire second half with the injury.

Brisbane's Kotoni Staggs.
Brisbane's Kotoni Staggs helped design an Indigenous-themed jersey for the game against Gold Coast. (Supplied/AAP PHOTOS)

He wanted to play against the Titans, but coach Kevin Walters made the call that he would not take the field.

The injury will rule him out of the State of Origin series opener on June 5 in Sydney.

"It is an injury that you can play with and we know that Kotoni is a tough player, but l've taken that decision out of his hands," Broncos coach Kevin Walters said.

"He will be far better to miss this week and then let it continue to heal over the bye round, before we get back into it against the Sharks in Round 14.

"Indigenous Round is really special to Kotoni and the whole team will go out there and make sure we deliver a big performance for him and our supporters."

The 25-year-old Staggs has played just once for the Blues in game one in 2022 when he was injured and did not play the rest of the series. He was overlooked last year, but could still be back in the frame later in this year's series.

"I want to be back there (in Origin). That is where the best footy players play," Staggs said.

Tom Trbojevic has been ruled out for the series and Staggs' injury adds to that of Newcastle's Bradman Best (hamstring), who will also miss game one.

The Blues are not short of centre options. Canterbury skipper Stephen Crichton is a red-hot favourite. He plays both left and right centre, which means coach Michael "Madge" Maguire can pick the best of the other centres no matter what side of field they prefer.

South Sydney talisman Latrell Mitchell, Cronulla weapon Jesse Ramien and powerful Joseph Sua'alii from the Sydney Roosters are all contenders.

"There are a lot of good centres you can pick in the NSW team as well," Staggs said.

"Crichton is there as a three-time premiership winner who knows how to go about his job. He has been there before."

Staggs was invited by Maguire to attend a pre-season camp this year.

"He got all the players that he looks at to select for the games. We all came together to get to know the new staff and Madge as well and how he goes about things," Staggs said.

"I back him (as a good coach)."

Round 12 of the NRL is Indigenous Round, one that Staggs marks on his calendar and plays well in. He modelled the jersey the Broncos will wear at training on Tuesday.

"A few of us were asked to help design the jersey, and it is special for me to be able to have my say," Staggs said.

"The jersey is (themed) around ancestors. It has the Brisbane River that runs down our shoulder and comes into a footy and (motifs of) strength and power on the shoulders. On the back is the mud flicking up from the ground. It is a special one for me and also my family."