PANTHER PRIDE | A big win for the mountain men tonight has them firmly entrenched in the top eight, ...
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After two knee reconstructions in two years injury-prone five-eighth Ikin now has shoulder trouble although he has trained with the unbeaten Broncos in the lead-up to the round five clash.
Ikin skipped physical contact at the Broncos session yesterday while second rower Meyers (neck) was unable to practice and is considered the more doubtful of the pair.
If Ikin is ruled out 18-year-old rookie Brett Seymour will combine with Shaun Berrigan in the halves and line up against the rapidly maturing Lance Hohaia.
Should Meyers fail a fitness test at a light training run tomorrow, Neale Wyatt will come on to the interchange bench.
The contest is shaping as an intriguing clash with former Kangaroos and NSW star Peter Sterling among a minority of Australian pundits picking the minor premiers who have been given a 9? points start by bookmakers FootyTAB.
Sterling expected two monster packs to cancel each other out, leaving a battle in the halves to influence the outcome.
"It may well be the little men who provide the spark and on the backs of the Warriors front six, Stacey Jones and Lance Hohaia have been irresistible," Sterling said.
"The Warriors should also be going into this one undefeated after blowing a match-winning lead against Newcastle in round one, their form is impressive."
The legendary halfback said it was tougher to gauge the Broncos' form.
"It's hard to assess how they're going. Their performances against Penrith and North Queensland weren't convincing while they should definitely have gone down against Souths.
"ANZ (Stadium) is not the fortress it once was," added Sterling.
The Warriors have won three of their last four matches there and won both meetings last season.
Broncos second rower Dane Carlaw missed last season's 26-16 loss at ANZ Stadium but was on hand when Brisbane were outmuscled 18-4 at Ericsson Stadium later in the season.
"I was in the stand at ANZ last year, and I remember they came out firing," he said.
"Then when we played them over there, they belted us. That's the way they play, hard and tough. I remember being really sore for a couple of days after that game and it's not going to be any different this weekend."
After a self-confessed inconsistent season in 2002 Carlaw, like fellow backrowers Gorden Tallis and Meyers, put in an extended and intensive off-season as he looks to stave off the increasing number of challengers for his spot in the team.
Origin representative Carl Webb has been impressive for feeder club the Toowoomba Clydesdales since returning from injury, while forward utilities Phil Lee and Wyatt continue to press for a spot in the Broncos match day squad.
"I think my main problem for the past couple of years has been my focus and my mental approach to each game," Carlaw said.
"I'm a player who needs to get involved early and in the past, when I didn't or when things weren't going my way, I dropped my head."
Meanwhile, the Warriors had better news on the injury front with centre John Carlaw expected to play after recovering from a hip flexor injury that saw him miss wins over Manly and Souths.