Broncos players got their first look at Eels sensation Semi Radradra at the Auckland Nines in February. Copyright: www.photosport.co.nz Credit: www.photosport.co.nz Copyright: www.photosport.co.nz
Versatile Broncos winger Dale Copley has issued a call to arms to his fellow outside backs as they await the arrival of boom Parramatta winger Semi Radradra at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
The return of Justin Hodges means Copley is pushed out wider in Brisbane's backline to accommodate the return of the Test and Origin centre with unlucky winger Lachlan Maranta dropping to an extended bench.
This positional shift has left 22-year-old Copley the unenviable task of marking the huge 191-centimetre, 112-kilogram flying Fijian – affectionately known as the 'Semi Trailer' – who has scored 12 tries from only 11 NRL games, including a barnstorming seven tries so far this season.
"Seven tries in four games says it all – he's been scoring them from everywhere," Copley told NRL.com.
"He's a big, strong and fast thing, so if that's my assignment then I'll be doing my best to not let him score another one."
Copley's assignment is perhaps the most arduous one of the evening, so much so that he has called upon the entire Broncos' backline to rise to the occasion. Not only does the Broncos winger need assistance himself to contain Radradra, but the whole team needs to repair a leaky defence that has conceded a total of 50 points in their past two matches.
"We've leaked a few more points in the last two weeks than we wanted to and that's going to be a massive focus for us," he said.
"They've got some pretty good outside backs and that's where we conceded all of our tries on the weekend, so as a back five will have to make sure that defensively we've got a mindset like we did in Round 1 and Round 2."
That back five now has a new, albeit familiar face in the form of the returning Hodges, who will partner Copley on the right, joining fullback Ben Barba and the left-edge pair of Jack Reed and Daniel Vidot. They will all need to work together to nullify the multiple attacking threats of the Eels slippery backline, featuring the likes of Jarryd Hayne, Willie Tonga, Will Hopoate, Chris Sandow and former Bronco Corey Norman.
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Focusing on producing an improved defensive display against the Eels received much of the attention at Red Hill this week, with the Broncos looking to resurrect the watertight defence they displayed in the first two rounds of the season, where they only conceded 12 points in each clash against the Bulldogs and Cowboys.
Broncos' back-rower Alex Glenn was as equally adamant that an improved staunchness in defence was required in order to beat an Eels side capable of piling on points in quick succession.
"We let in too many points last week and to be honest that's not good enough for us," Glenn said.
"We really want to pride ourselves on our 'd' (defence), so before we start looking at the opposition we've got to take a look at ourselves and what we need to work on.
"Every time we play Parramatta up here they seem to be a very powerful team who come out in their colours and shine bright."
Leaking nine tries in two games isn't the type of defensive form you'd like to take into a clash against a team like the Eels, who have shown they enjoy travelling to Suncorp Stadium, with their last away win a 42-22 flogging of the Broncos in Round 21, 2012.
"We've got to prepare very well because they are going to be very strong this weekend.
"Letting in 20 points last week – we've got to fix that up and work hard. Limiting the points they score is going to be very crucial."