Parker: Momentum key to victory
Gaining momentum during a footy match has become the key to victory in recent times according to Corey Parker, although the Broncos' co-captain has his own not-so-secret weapon also.
Renowned for his offloading ability, Parker believes creating second-phase play by promoting the ball is a crucial aspect in achieving momentum and piling on unanswered points against the opposition. The 32-year-old would know best, fresh from making 15 offloads in his past two matches against the Panthers and in Origin III.
The Broncos have learnt the hard way that increased possession of the ball can lead to sides running over the top over their opposition due to momentum. Brisbane only need to cast their minds back three weeks when they were leading the Sharks 22-0 early in the second half and went on to lose 24-22.
On that occasion Cronulla completed 11 out of 13 sets and scored three unanswered tries during that period, eventually scoring a forth try to win the game thanks to a healthy 64 per cent of possession in the second stanza.
The same situation happened in reverse for Brisbane against the Panthers on Monday night, as the Broncos came from 34-18 down to level the score at 34-all due to receiving 10 out of 12 sets during the latter stages of the game.
Brisbane would also go on to lose that match courtesy of a Matt Moylan field goal at the death, despite the best efforts of Parker who made 155 metres, 43 tackles and five offloads against Penrith.
"Lately every team that gets momentum is hard to stop," Parker said.
"That seems to be the key in footy with winning and losing games at the moment. Particularly [the Warriors] with the mobility of their pack and off the back of Shaun Johnson and Sam Tomkins – they can certainly play some footy."
The Warriors destroyed the Eels in Auckland last Saturday with the majority of the damage done in the first half. The Kiwis led 36-0 at the break and did so while completing 20 successful sets to the Eels who could only manage eight accurate sets in 40 minutes of football.
Rule changes implemented at the start of the season such as seven-tackle sets and quick taps in lieu of scrums have sped up the game in 2014, but Parker believes his signature offloads can always garner momentum for his side.
"Against structured defence certainly if there's an opportunity to promote the ball it can disjoint the defensive line," he said.
"I don't go into every tackle with the intention to offload but if there's an opportunity to get it away I'll try and promote the ball.
"First and foremost you've got to have intent and aggressive running to create that space."
There could be plenty of space to exploit on the Suncorp Stadium turf if the recent attacking performances by both sides come to the fore on Saturday night.
Over their past two matches, Brisbane and the Warriors have scored 134 points between them, however during that time the Broncos have conceded 58 points compared to the 20 leaked by the Warriors.
"There's been a lapse there – there's no hiding that," Parker admitted of the Brisbane defence that is ranked sixth in the competition.
"Scoring points hasn't been an issue for us, but on the flip-side you need to defend better and we'll look that squarely in the eye and get better."
The 290-game veteran also believes that last month's 19-10 Round 15 loss to the Warriors will have his side better prepared this weekend.
"We only played them a couple of weeks ago so we know what to expect," he said.
"They performed really well over there [against us] like they have the past four to five weeks.
"They are a big side, very mobile and can play some good footy… Our last start against them they played exceptionally well [and] I'm sure they'll come over here with the same attitude – so there's a big challenge for us."