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Broncos unaffected by off-field distractions

Broncos coach Anthony Griffin is aware of the threat posed by ball-playing Bulldogs forwards such as James Graham. Credit: Col Whelan. Copyright: NRL Photos
Outgoing Broncos coach Anthony Griffin has quashed any speculation linking him with the soon-to-be vacated head coach's role at the Gold Coast Titans.

Speaking on the eve of Friday night's must-win game against the Bulldogs at Suncorp Stadium, Griffin insisted his focus is solely on the Brisbane's finals charge, denying any interest towards the Titans' head coaching position in the wake of John Cartwright's resignation on Tuesday.

"I've got no interest in any jobs at the moment other than this one," Griffin said.

"I'm enjoying doing this and always have and I want to make sure we take this [season] as far as we can."

Griffin's future employment prospects haven't been the only distraction at Red Hill this week, with the Broncos mentor quick to dismiss concerns that Brisbane's ongoing salary cap investigation was affecting his players.

"None whatsoever, our club and our management got on the front foot with that three months ago and took that to the NRL, so we've been open and transparent. The NRL wouldn't have known about it unless our management told them about it," Griffin said of the ongoing investigation.

"Obviously they are going to interview people… those interviews took place a week ago so it's not news to us. It's probably news in the paper but we've got a game of footy tomorrow and that's the news we're looking forward too.

"The important thing is that you live in the present; there's a big game of footy on and the other stuff is always going to be news, you've got to sell a paper somehow or get a headline, [but] our focus is on tomorrow night."

Slipping from sixth to 10th on the ladder in the past fortnight, the Broncos can ill afford a loss on home turf as they require a minimum of four wins from their remaining five games in order to make the top eight. 

The Broncos have two home games to come after the Bulldogs match with the Knights and Dragons both due to visit Suncorp in rounds 24 and 25 respectively. Currently on 22 competition points, Brisbane must collect the six points on offer at home and would also need victory against either South Sydney in Sydney or the Storm in Melbourne if other results don’t fall their way.

Despite the 'Dogs currently struggling through a three-match losing streak, New South Wales five-eighth Josh Reynolds returned last week from suspension and they boast one of the best packs in the NRL according to Griffin.

"They are a very strong side and obviously their strengths are their forward pack and their two Origin halves which play off the back off that, so they're going to be very hard to beat," he said.

"Their big men play a bit wider now and the forwards that they've got doing that have got a really good touch. [Sam] Kasiano and [James] Graham and both been ball-players for them in the middle of the field and they're using them a pass wider now as well. 

"That might be because they haven’t had their halves together for a while as well, but they've got both of them back in their team now so we're expecting a fierce battle.

"They've developed that flat passing game over the past couple of years and we've had to defend that a few times and usually done a good job against them so it's important to do the same thing tomorrow night."

Big-money buy Martin Kennedy, one of the Broncos recently interviewed by salary cap auditors, is expected to earn a place on the bench against the Bulldogs with youngster Corey Oates likely to miss out. The Bulldogs will travel north with a 19-man squad with another young star, Moses Mbye, likely to be the one to miss out.
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