2 days ago
Brisbane Broncos 2018 Preview
A 12-year drought desperate to be broken - and a halves conundrum to be solved.
The Broncos campaign in 2017 saw them reach the second last week of the finals, where they copped a 30-0 hiding from eventual premiers Melbourne. Injuries to a few key players at key times saw some inconsistency creep into their performances.
The loss of Andrew McCullough just after the Origin period, Darius Boyd and Anthony Milford suffering short term injuries during the middle of the year and Ben Hunt's loss of form at the start of the year saw the Broncos rely on class alone to win, which served them well.
Heading into 2018, Brisbane's backline has been immensely bolstered by the signing of Sharks Premiership winning centre Jack Bird, who can also cover five-eighth and fullback duties, while talented English forward Andre Savelio will help minimise the loss of depth in the forwards.
The men from the Queensland capital have one of the strongest and youngest squads in the competition, but without the downside of inexperience that comes with youth. Eleven of their best 17 listed below have played Test football, which will serve them well not just in 2018, but also long term.
Why They'll Win It
It's the Broncos. Success is second nature to the club. Their starting 17 is one of the strongest on paper going around.
Add legendary coach Wayne Bennett to steer them around and it's almost a given that the Broncos will again be in the finals and should be a strong top 4 chance.
Why They Won't
Spine depth. Injuries aside, if Boyd and Milford play Origin again, the Broncos will have to likely rely on either a makeshift half and fullback, or a rookie.
Injuries to either of their halves could derail them quickly.
Boyd's playmaking skills will be relied upon more than usual this year as the team transitions into a new halves pairing. When fit and in form, he is undoubtedly one of the best custodians in the game and after a disrupted 2017 campaign, the Broncos need him every week at his best.
The big prop has had a troubled time away from the field in recent times, but there's no questioning he is brimming with potential. He needs to keep his head down and focus on being consistent and improving his minutes.
Rookie To Watch
The young giant is in the same mould as Andrew Fifita. Big, strong and very powerful with good ball skills. He is a strong early contender for rookie of the year.