Barba ready for fiery Titan welcome
It's his second Queensland derby in the space of five weeks but Broncos fullback Ben Barba says he has seen enough on television to know that a Titans showdown brings with it plenty of fire and brimstone.
The last time these two teams met the Titans were accused of 'losing the plot' in the first half with a string of penalties for high tackles and late shots that prompted Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin to say "it was like a throw-back to the '70s".
With the Titans flying high on the top of the table and the Broncos surprising many with their strong start to the season, it shapes as one of the most highly anticipated south-east Queensland derbies in a number of years and Barba is expecting an intense contest.
"I didn't hear too much about the games when I was in Sydney, but I always watched the games (between the Broncos and Titans)," Barba said.
"There was one [game] on upstairs before playing on Fox Sports so I got to sit there and watch that one and it was a pretty fiery clash.
"It'll be a great game this Friday and it makes it even better with them coming first and us in third (position) so all the boys are looking forward to it.
"We definitely have to pick ourselves up from last week and be up for this game because it won't be an easy challenge going down there."
The Broncos have been boosted for the Titans clash with star centre Justin Hodges set to start having come off the bench in his return from an achilles injury last Friday night against the Eels.
Hodges spent the first 25 minutes of their 25-18 loss watching from the pine and admits the Broncos took the Eels lightly, a mistake that won't be repeated on the Gold Coast.
"The boys underestimated Parra' to be honest," Hodges said.
"They are a great side and have some quality players, so it just goes to show that we weren't on our game and they really hurt us there [as a result]."
Returning to the field after almost eight months out with injury, the 31-year-old stated that his troubled achilles had passed its first rigorous test with flying colours.
"It pulled up a lot better than I expected. Obviously it was a little bit sore after the game but the next morning it was fine," he said.
"I think this time I'll start (against the Titans) and maybe come off a bit early, but we'll see what happens."
Hodges has enjoyed some reasonable success against the Titans since their inception into the NRL in 2007, scoring four tries, while the Broncos have won seven out of the 11 clashes when the veteran centre has played.
The overall head-to-head battle sees the Broncos well on top of their South East Queensland rivals, winning 11 of the 15 clashes and averaging 24.1 points per game compared to the Titans who average 17.3 points against their bigger brother.
Brisbane have won four out of the seven clashes played at Robina and despite the statistics favouring the away team, Hodges says the Broncos will be ready and raring to go from the opening whistle.
"It's the Queensland derby so it's a massive game for us. We're coming off a loss and they're at the top of the table," he said.
"They are coming off a big win against Melbourne down there which is very hard to do and their confidence is sky-high so we have got to be on our game.
"They'll be pretty hard to beat on their home turf."