Time to look ahead to Sunday's decider! Rob Crosby has a full look at both teams and what to expect ...
3 hours ago
Former Broncos Origin star Ben Ikin yesterday said Brisbane were prepared to right the wrongs of last season?s elimination semi-final loss to the Cowboys for Sunday?s corresponding fixture against the Wests Tigers at Aussie Stadium.
After training with the squad, Ikin said the Broncos were using that 10-0 defeat in Townsville as ?motivation? to bring down an opposition on a similar high to the 2004 North Queensland finalists.
The Broncos flew out to Sydney yesterday afternoon with centre Justin Hodges making the trip despite remaining only a 30 per cent chance of playing just 12 days after having knee surgery.
?The Broncos are in a similar situation to last year. We went up to Townsville and the Cowboys were riding on a wave of emotion as the Wests Tigers are now but we did not get the result,? said Queenslander Ikin who has trained with the squad for the past two sessions along with former Bronco forwards Peter Ryan and Andrew Gee.
?That (loss) has been used as motivation and past experiences are the best thing to learn from and 90 per cent of them in this squad were involved in last year?s loss to the Cowboys so it will be in the back of their minds when they go down to Sydney.
?They know they will have to be on their game and if they are not then the Wests Tigers are really going to take care of things.
?But coach Wayne Bennett has prepared them accordingly and they have given themselves, in regards to their preparation, the best possible opportunity to go down their and get the job done."
The Broncos will need to break a six-game losing run and find their mid-season form to ensure this.
Since equaling the club's record for the most consecutive wins (10) in a season, they have won only three from 10 matches.
They haven?t looked like the side that built a six point ladder lead heading into the final seven rounds and face a difficult task to turn their season around in one week against the in-form Tigers.
?When you look back over the season every team that is up there competing now had their down times,? said Ikin who retired at the end of 2003 because of an ongoing knee problem.
?When it comes down to it at the end of the season Parramatta and St.George Illawarra were on 36 and we were on the 34.
?We only won one less game than those guys that everybody is raving about so a season goes for 26 rounds and it comes down to the finals now and the Broncos know it is time to fire.
?Their attitude has been spot on and all they can do is keep working hard, the rest is up to the rugby league gods.?
After concentrating heavily this week on defense, particularly around the ruck, an area where Scott Prince, Benji Marshall, Brett Hodgson and Robbie Farah have been so devastating for the Tigers, the Broncos used more attack-based drills yesterday.
Broncos? wingers Scott Minto and Leon Bott again extended their training session yesterday by at least half an hour to field high kicks in preparation for their battle with specialist high flyer Pat Richards.
Broncos prop Petero Civoniceva was the only player to miss the intense workout yesterday but it was to be with his wife and new baby Ruby.
Utility forward Sam Thaiday left the session early to see the doctor over a flu but that or his minor rib problem is not expected to rule him out of this weekend?s match.
Second-rower Dane Carlaw has overcome a bruised sternum and will definitely play.
The Broncos pre-match training session is in Sydney tomorrow morning.