5 hours ago
'Baby Bronco' Parker to skipper Brisbane
Corey Parker will captain Brisbane for the first time on Saturday - six years after being involved in arguably the NRL club's greatest victory.
Parker is the only survivor at Red Hill that was part of the "Baby Broncos" outfit which stunned Wests Tigers with a 28-14 victory at Campbelltown on May 31, 2002.
The squad, featuring six debutants and five teenagers, became part of Broncos folklore after causing a massive boilover while Brisbane's bevy of stars and coach Wayne Bennett were absent through Origin duty.
"That was a great night in Campbelltown and there's been many others since then," back-rower Parker said.
"Cronulla in `06 at home and last year at Penrith comes to mind."
Parker was referring to Brisbane's 26-12 win over the Sharks in 2006 and a 24-16 triumph against the Panthers last year, without their Origin contingent.
It won't quite be the same backs-to-the-wall scenario as 2002 but Parker will be hoping history can repeat itself when the Broncos meet Cronulla at Toyota Stadium without six Origin players and champion five-eighth Darren Lockyer (knee).
"I just think the guys that do come into the side, there's a real strong emphasis on not letting anyone down," the 26-year-old said.
"It's going to be no different tomorrow night.
"It'll be a tough game at Shark Park but providing we all have a go and don't let our mates down, it'll put us in good stead."
Broncos assistant coach Ivan Henjak said there would be no excuses if his makeshift squad, including debutants Andrew McCullough and Isaak Ah Mau, failed to leave Sydney with the two points.
"They're going in positive and confident," Henjak told reporters.
"It's going to be a hard task but they're really looking forward to the challenge.
"We've got no excuses with the guys who are out.
"Ever since I've been at the Broncos (since 2006) there's been an expectation that we win every game, it doesn't matter who's playing.
"I think the same attitude is being taken into this game."
Henjak said it would be a "really big ask" for the Broncos considering the severe disruption to the team, particularly in the halves where David Stagg and Shane Perry have been named.
"I think we're a lot more disrupted this week than Cronulla have been," he said.
"In saying that, it's also good that two of their best players are out."
Brisbane will still field a strong pack that has a combined 670 games of NRL experience in Parker (149), former internationals Joel Clinton (144) and Tonie Carroll (193), Ashton Sims (90), Michael Ennis (71) and Nick Kenny (23).
Cronulla halfback Brett Kimmorley will be sure to pepper rookie Reece Robinson with bombs after the Broncos winger struggled under the high ball in last weekend's loss to Manly.
The Broncos have beaten Cronulla in six of their past seven clashes.