The Brisbane Broncos have hit out at critics suggesting Petero Civoniceva's return would discourage the club's young front rowers hoping to crack the first team.
Penrith skipper Civoniceva announced on Tuesday he's been released from the final year of his contract with the Panthers to join the Broncos, with whom he played for 10 seasons before leaving the club in 2007.
Brisbane have assembled a bunch of raw young props in Josh McGuire, Mitchell Dodds, Dunamis Lui and David Hala, alongsider Origin regular Ben Hannant.
The club's manager of football operations, Andrew Gee, says seen early feedback suggesting Civoniceva would get in the road of the club's developing players but he insists that's not the case.
As for Civoniceva, he says the decision's based purely on wanting to take his family back to Queensland.
The Broncos coach Anthony Griffin says Civoniceva's leadership and experience will help the team to fill the void left by the retiring Darren Lockyer.