AAP Rugby

McCullough enjoying Broncos No.9 battle

By AAP Newswire

He's been Brisbane's No.9 for more than a decade but Andrew McCullough has had no issue taking a back seat to youngster Jake Turpin on his NRL return.

McCullough has played in the unfamiliar No.14 jersey for the Broncos' past two matches after recovering from a knee injury while Turpin continued as the starting hooker.

The 29-year-old McCullough is likely to return to the starting role for Saturday's clash with Newcastle but insists 22-year-old Turpin deserved to be rewarded for his efforts.

"I was out with a knee injury and Jake played tremendous footy - won a player's player award here - and that's what you want in your footy organisations; you want to reward players for their efforts regardless of reputation, experience or what they've done before," McCullough said.

"That's the way footy is.

"I'd be in the same boat if I was Jake and I'd been performing well, I'd expect the same thing.

"That's it, you bite down, you train hard and enjoy your football.

"I've got a great life, so I just turn up and train and got on with it."

McCullough's return will also give him the chance to push for a State of Origin recall as Queensland search for answers after their game two humiliation by NSW in Perth.

The Brisbane rake played all three matches of last year's series for the Maroons but his injury enabled Ben Hunt to claim the No.9 jersey for the first two matches of this year's series.

Should Queensland coach Kevin Walters give McCullough the nod for game three, he knows the competition provided by Turpin will have played some role in that achievement.

"He's a great guy to have around the club, really enjoyable, just wants to learn and be a part of a winning team like the majority of the guys," McCullough said.

"You enjoy having those guys in the team because they just want to play and compete with you as well."