Broncos find beauty in ugly Titans
When he looks longingly at their position on the NRL ladder, Broncos co-captain Justin Hodges doesn't consider the manner in which the Titans have won six games through nine rounds.
Sure, he remembers Gold Coast snatching two valuable competition points from his side in Round 6 when they sides met at Cbus Super Stadium but other than that he sees a team well entrenched in the top eight while Brisbane search for a way back in.
With both team coming off convincing defeats and star players digging their Origin kit bag out of the back of the cupboard, Friday night's final Queensland derby of the regular season takes on extra significance not lost on Hodges.
"I think they've been one of the best sides all year. People say they are winning ugly, but they are still winning games and that's what you want to do this time of year," Hodges said.
"This week's pretty important and with Origin coming up players are going to be in and out so it's very important for us to finish on a high before the rep season starts.
"We don't want to drop any further than where we are at the moment."
The Broncos are currently 11th on the ladder with four wins from nine games, although a home victory over the Titans is the only thing fellow Broncos co-captain Corey Parker is concentrating on despite the Queensland Origin team named next Monday night.
"Origin teams get selected next week but it's the furthest thing from my mind at the moment," Parker said.
"We've got a job to do Friday night and it's a really important part of our season, so that's where our focus is at the moment.
"Our past two games we've been jumped at the start. Souths jumped us, then the Cowboys jumped us and they were both by 14 points.
"Credit [is due] to our side because we did extremely well to get back into the game and had opportunities to close them out but failed to do so.
"You get the rewards you deserve and last Friday night we didn’t deserve to win that game."
Regardless of the result of his hearing at the judiciary on Wednesday night, Titans co-captain Greg Bird won't be playing against the Broncos but Parker doesn't believe it will have an overly adverse effect on their preparation.
The Titans are looking to have the Grade 3 charge reduced to a Grade Two, therefore reducing Bird's suspension from six weeks to possibly two and represents the first high-profile example of the NRL's recent crackdown on lifting tackles in wake of the Alex McKinnon incident in Round 3 this season.
"I don't think it will affect their build-up. They'll prepare as if he's not playing and if he does it's a bonus for them," Parker said.
"The NRL have drawn a line in the sand and we've all got to abide by those rules. I think the [Alex McKinnon] incident that we all witnessed not so long ago was probably the driving force behind that.
"No one wants to see that happen again regardless of how frequent or infrequent they happen."
The Titans currently sit in third spot on 12 points with a -13 points differential after last weekend's heavy loss to Souths and are seeking to create club history by defeating the Broncos twice in a season for the first time.
"They've been winning really gritty and last time we played them we were in control for the majority of that game but they came away with the two points," said Parker.