There certainly is something about a local derby, regardless of what sport or code, that really gets the blood pumping. It’s particularly so in Rugby League whose supporters are almost tribal in their diligent support of THEIR team. And so it is with the Broncos taking on the Titans Friday night at Suncorp, a local derby brimming with feeling.
The form and current standing of either side couldn’t be more contrasting. The Broncos have hit the ground at a gallop whereas the Titans have scarcely raised a canter. Throw in the off field drama at the coast and it would be easy to think this clash of 2 nd versus 15 th would see the Broncos confident of a resounding victory.
Not so. The Brisbane boys would be extremely wary of their opponent give their return to the winners circle against last year’s premier, Manly. It’s amazing what such a victory can do to a side who has weathered an enormous amount of adversity, it’s akin to a huge shot of adrenalin. Suddenly the woes that have beset them thus far this season will fade into distant memory, particularly if they can topple the Broncos. They will be doubly keen to do so given last week’s win over Manly would be seen as a fluke by their eager critics.
But wanting something is not the same as achieving it. They have to overcome a Broncos side just oozing confidence. Under the very competent early leadership of Sam Thaiday, the Broncos have been winning in all sorts of situations. Pete Wallace has blossomed with the retirement of Darren Lockyer, reveling in the leadership he must now display in the absence of the club legend. Throw in the emergence of players such as Matt Gillet and the return to form of Ben Hannant and it is evident why the Broncos have been winning. In fact, the Broncos forwards have been doing a stellar job and their dominance is allowing the young but ever improving backline to fire. Remember too, Justin Hodges looms in the middle of that backline and is loving leading his young charges out wide.
So clearly, I will tip a Broncos win. However, I precursor that with an acknowledgement that the Titans displayed that they remember how to win. The key to victory for them will lie with Scotty Prince and his new foil Aidan Sezer, who combined so effectively against the Sea Eagles. In the first instance though, their forwards must fire against a Broncos pack, which, as mentioned, are in the groove. The Broncos will know that the Titans problems, while extinguished currently with their last start victory, linger just under the surface. If they work hard early and give the Titans no evidence that they are going to make the night easy for them, then potentially the cracks will open
There is sure to be a great crowd at Suncorp which does not always run to the Broncos favour, however it’s hard to see the Titans getting away with this one. .