The NRL season will soon be upon us! Every year everyone has their opinions on who is going to win and why and this year I am going out on a limb and write a blog series highlighting where I believe each team will finish and who is the future stars of each club.
The NRL throws up surprises every year and with rookie coaches and players changing left, right and centre, it is hard to get a gauge of how well a team will go before the season starts. Trial matches are played each year, however, with the lack of game time for the major players and the large squad sizes, it is hard to grasp how a team is travelling.
This series will continue until the much-anticipated clash between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Sonny Bill Williams, sorry, the Sydney Roosters on March 7. Today we look at one of the powerhouses of the NRL, the Brisbane Broncos.
Predicted finish: 7th place
IN: Joe Bond (Redcliffe), Scott Prince (Titans), David Stagg (Bulldogs), Denan Kemp.
OUT: Gerard Beale (Dragons), Petero Civoniceva (retired), Ben Te’o (Rabbitohs), Lagi Setu (Storm), Mitchell Frei (Knights)
Can you believe it has been 6 years since the Broncos last won the title?! In an age dominated by the Storm (who cheated anyway), Brisbane were always around the contenders. Besides, a torrid time under Ivan Henjak, the Broncos have epitomised consistency despite every year being torn apart during Origin period. This year won’t be as bad as the days when the likes of Lockyer ran around but they will still lose their captain in Sam Thaiday.
In terms of player movements, it seems more has been lost than gained. Scott Prince will give much-needed experience and stability to a halves pairing that struggled towards the back-end of the season. The addition of a workhorse like David Stagg will compliment the already established pack at Red Hill. The loss of Beale and Te’o will hurt the most as both are internationals with Te’o even considered an option to take the captaincy after the retirement of club legend Darren Lockyer.
Through the loss of key players and Origin period once again hitting the Broncos, I believe, they will start strongly before fading out to scrape home into the top 8 in 7th position.
Player to watch: Brendon Gibb
The young back-rower got a taste of first-grade last season featuring in 3 games. The man known around the club as ‘Tin-man’, because of his unique running style, will hope to get more game time this season and will become important once again around Origin time.
Player who needs to step up: Corey Norman
The young fullback turned five-eigth will be hoping the form he had at the beginning of last season can be held up for the whole season this year. There was a lot of pressure on the young man as he took over from arguably one of the greatest players of all time, Darren Lockyer. With the addition of Scott Prince to the team and already established halves players Ben Hunt and Peter Wallace, Norman will need to step up or risk sitting on the bench or down in the Queensland Cup.
Best 17: *Jharal Yow Yeh and Dale Copley have long-term injuries.
1. Josh Hoffman
2. Denan Kemp
3. Justin Hodges
4. Jack Reed
5. Lachlan Maranta
6. Peter Wallace
7. Scott Prince
8. Ben Hannant
9. Andrew McCullough
10. Josh McGuire
11. Alex Glenn
12. Sam Thaiday
13. Corey Parker
14. Matt Gillett
15. David Stagg
16. Scott Anderson
17. Corey Norman
First Four Fixtures:
1. March 8 vs Sea Eagles (Suncorp)
2. March 15 vs Dragons (WIN Stadium)
3. March 23 vs Roosters (Allianz Stadium)
4. March 29 vs Storm (Suncorp)
Well that is all for today, I hope that you liked it. Feel free to leave a comment and tell me what you think about the Broncos and where they will finish. Tomorrow is the Bulldogs.
So, until then,