The Broncos are the undisputed underdogs when they take on the Roosters tonight. For starters, they’ll miss Andrew McCullough, Darius Boyd and Korbin Sims, while the Roosters are near enough to full strength.
To tip the scales even further in the Roosters’ favour, the game’s being played at Allianz Stadium.
Wayne Bennett’s game plan will be vastly different from the last two weeks, when they hoped that massive ball movement through offloads and expansive passing would lead to scoring points and blowing the opposition away.
Unfortunately it all went pear-shaped against the Eels, when numerous errors gifted points to the opposition.
The following week against North Queensland, their completion rate was much better; however with 55 per cent possession and an 87 per cent completion rate with eight offloads, they struggled to blow the injury-ravaged Cowboys away. Add to those figures the 39 missed tackles and, with a bit of luck, the Cowboys may have come out on top.
Tonight, the opposition will be sure to apply the blowtorch. The Broncos must fight fire with fire. Bennett has been working the players all week to effectively complete their tackles and improve their line speed.
Don’t be surprised to see some venom here from Adam Blair and Josh McGuire in particular. As Jack Gibson espoused – when you haven’t got the ball, defence must be powerful and dominant.
In attack, the Broncos will be instructed by Bennett to hang on to the ball and starve the Roosters of possession, getting repeat sets by sliding grubbers into the in-goal.
If they turn the ball over, it must only be in the Roosters’ ten-metre area, and then dominant defence must restrict the Roosters to kicking inside their 30.
This is the only way to apply pressure and gain the ascendancy. The Broncos must be ready to win the battle of the middle with powerful surges from Matt Gillett, Blair, Alex Glenn and co. with the occasional dash out of dummy half from Ben Hunt or McGuire.
The big query here is who will have the attitude and patience to get the job done.