South East Queensland bragging rights are up for grabs this Friday, when the Broncos and Titans clash at Suncorp Stadium.
Brisbane are overwhelming favourites, with their Test stars all named to face the Gold Coast.
Sam Canavan reports.
The Broncos’ representative contingent returned to the paddock at Red Hill this morning, after sitting out yesterday’s session.
Justin Hodges, Ben Hannant and Sam Thaiday trained strongly, while fullback Josh Hoffman moved freely after pulling up sore over the weekend.
All four have been named in the side to tackle the Titans, along with Hoffman’s fellow Kiwi internationals Gerard Beale and Alex Glenn.
Winger Dale Copley thinks the visitors will be upbeat after their upset win over Premiers Manly.
Dale Copley, Broncos winger: “It’s a local derby, they’ve come off a good win which is going to give them a lot of confidence, so they’re going to be right up for it. Hopefully there’ll be a big crowd at Suncorp and it’ll be a cracker of a game.”
With State of Origin selection only weeks away, Broncos playmaker Peter Wallace will be keen to push his claims for a New South Wales berth, with the Blues number six jumper still very much up for grabs.
Wallace has marshalled the Broncos’ backline in 2012 after Darren Lockyer’s retirement, but opposite number Scott Prince has been the his side’s chief playmaker since their inception.
Dale Copley, Broncos winger: “He’s been around a while Scotty, and he’s pretty experienced at picking out when to throw it and when not to. So you’ve just got to be always aware, and tipping each other off when it gets late in games and you become a bit fatigued.”
The Titans snuck a two point pre-season win when the teams last clashed in February, but the stakes will be much higher on Friday.
The Broncos are searching for their sixth consecutive win, while Gold Coast need a victory to stay in touch with the top eight.
Kick off is at 7:40pm Friday night.
Sam Canavan, QUT News.