Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
5 days ago
Brisbane brothers Shaun and Barry Berrigan have won spots in the Broncos starting side for their NRL season opener against the New Zealand Warriors at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday week.
His elder brother Barry, 28, a standout performer for the Toowoomba Clydesdales last season, has beaten the luckless Michael Ryan to the hooking spot vacated by Richard Swain.
With Darren Lockyer moving to five-eighth in a bold bid to spark Brisbane's stuttering attack, Kiwi off-season recruit Motu Tony has been selected at fullback.
And Casey McGuire gets first crack at lock ahead of Neale Wyatt, who was named on coach Wayne Bennett's extended seven-man interchange bench.
All eyes will be on Tony who has to answers questions about his defence as well as try to return the football in a similar dynamic fashion to Lockyer.
Brisbane's first-up side has a total new look.
Highly-rated 19-year-old Brett Seymour finally gets his chance at halfback after being groomed as Allan Langer's replacement last season before he was injured.
The youngest player in the club's history to play first grade in 2002, Seymour has been plagued by injuries which held back his career.
But with Berrigan viewed more as a damaging ball-runner and rugged defender, Seymour gets his big chance to live up to some big opinions playing inside Lockyer.
Dane Carlaw, who underwent minor knee surgery last week, and Fijian prop Petero Civoniceva, who has not stepped out in a trial after suffering a grade two medial tear in a pre-season training mishap, have both been named in Bennett's starting side.
Tate's injury has helped Tonie Carroll, who played mostly in the forwards for Brisbane and Queensland last season, win selection in the centres, with Stu Kelly and Kangaroo tourist Michael DeVere grabbing wing spots.
Former test forward Brad Meyers has missed a place in Brisbane's first-up pack which means Bennett is looking for him to create some damage off the bench and put pressure on the players ahead of him following a disappointing 2003 season.
Bennett has shown his hand by naming Auckland-born speedster Karmichael Hunt on the bench, signalling an early debut for the 17 year-old, 86kg Australian Schoolboy sensation who can play fullback, wing or centre.
BRISBANE squad: Motu Tony, Mick DeVere, Tonie Carroll, Shaun Berrigan, Stu Kelly, Darren Lockyer, Brett Seymour, Shane Webcke, Barry Berrigan, Petero Civoniceva, Gorden Tallis(c), Dane Carlaw, Casey Mcguire. Interchange: Corey Parker, Karmichael Hunt, Brad Meyers, Darren Mapp, Neale Wyatt, Neville Costigan, David Stagg (three to be omitted).