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5 days ago
Brisbane will head into Saturday night's NRL clash with Cronulla confident of causing an upset, despite missing eight regular first-graders through injury or State of Origin duty.
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 Toyota Stadium with the two points.
"They've trained really well this morning and 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.
"These guys are ready to play and they want to get the job done.
"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."
The Broncos have lost six players to Origin commitments - Justin Hodges, Sam Thaiday, Karmichael Hunt, PJ Marsh and Ben Hannant for Queensland and Blues halfback Peter Wallace.
Champion five-eighth Darren Lockyer and centre Steve Michaels are also unavailable with knee injuries while the Sharks will be missing NSW Origin pair Paul Gallen and Greg Bird.
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."
Henjak expressed surprise that Marsh and Wallace would play in Wednesday's Origin series opener but added he was "really happy for them".
Veteran lock Tonie Carroll (hamstring) has been cleared to play after missing last week's loss to Manly.
Back-rower Corey Parker will skipper the Broncos for the first time.
"I found out pretty early," said Parker, who returns from a knee injury.
"It was a great feeling and something that I'll remember for a long time."
Perry, who helped steer the Broncos to the 2006 premiership, will play his fourth game of the season.
"Shane's done a really good job every time for us over the last two years," said Henjak.
"He hasn't had much of a chance this year but I've talked to him recently and he said he's really happy about where he is with his footy.
"We're quite confident in his ability to get us around the park tomorrow."
Ipswich Jets front-rower Ah Mau has been plucked out of the Queensland Cup while utility McCullough has been given his chance to shine after impressing in the Toyota Cup.
The Broncos have beaten Cronulla in six of their past seven clashes.