Let’s run our eye over the Brisbane Broncos shall we?
The Broncos of 2012 backed into the finals and then a week later, backed out. Let’s be realistic though, the Broncos only made the finals due to the ineptness of the Wests Tigers, who were woeful in the latter stages of 2012.
I see a further slide for the Broncos of 2013. I don’t rate their halves and I think adding Scott Prince reeks of desperation for a once mighty club, who were perennial contenders. Now I see them merely making up the numbers.
The Broncos are a solid football team but don’t look like anything spectacular. Yes, they still have Sam Thaiday and Justin Hodges, but not much else. Hodges is entering the twilight of his career and can’t be expected to shoulder the load for the Broncos. This may be a blessing in disguise for the Broncos because they were torn apart every year at Origin time under Wayne Bennett and it forced the blooding of youngsters, many of whom went on to become superstars of the game.
I wouldn’t expect to see the same level of representation in this years Origin series, gíving the Broncos an opportunity to consolidate a few more wins as opposed to habitually losing during the Origin series.
I do think the Broncos juniors will come good but they are not where they need to be yet. The loss of Darren Lockyer and Petero Civoniceva are still being felt throughout the Broncos and will need to be overcome if the Broncos are to resume their role as one of the premiership’s big guns.
I see the Broncos biggest shortcoming in their halves. Wallace and Prince? Surely you jest? This is not a premiership winning halves pairing. In fact, I would rate the Broncos halves pairing as one of the poorest in the NRL. The loss of Ben Teo to Souths will also be felt by the Broncos. A ferocious defender, he will not be easily replaced.
The one player I am looking to for bigger things is Matt Gillett. I think he is the modern version of Nathan Hindmarsh. He has size, speed and agility in abundance but hasn’t really kicked on to become the force I thought he would. This could be a make or break year for him and he has the chance to shine in a side that needs someone to step up and make a statement.
Based on where other teams are in terms of development and acquisition, the Broncos will win about 8-10 games this year and fall short of the finals and probably cost Anthony Griffin his job as head coach of the Broncos. Time is a luxury no professional coach has these days. Windows of opportunity are slim at best, and this Broncos team isn’t at the elite level like Melbourne, Canterbury and Souths.
Suncorp stadium doesn’t hold any distinct advantage for the Broncos and the weather for the most part is benign as opposed to teams like Canberra and Melbourne, who have the elements as a weapon.
The Broncos may surprise but I’m not holding my breath, as I look funny with a purple face and would probably crack my skull on the tiles!
My prediction for the Broncos is 10th.
Josh Hoffman, Denan Kemp, Jack Reed, Justin Hodges, Lachlan Maranta, Scott Prince, Peter Wallace, Corey Parker, Sam Thaiday ©, Alex Glenn, Ben Hanant, Andrew McCullough, Josh McGuire, David Stagg, Matt Gillett, Scott Anderson, Ben Hunt