Broncos wary of new-look Sharks
Broncos captain Justin Hodges says his side are still smarting from their 30-point loss to Souths last Thursday but have little time to dwell on that performance ahead of their meeting with the Sharks in Round 2.
An encouraging pre-season, strategic recruiting, Wayne Bennett's return and Corey Parker's 300th game had Broncos followers on cloud nine ahead of their opening round blockbuster against the defending premiers.
However, after an uninspiring display punctuated by errors and ill-discipline, the lofty expectations of Brisbane's loyal supporter base came crashing back down to earth.
Having had three days to mull over the 36-6 result before fronting up to Monday's gruelling training session in 32-degree heat, the new skipper saw their spanking as a good learning curve for his side.
"I wouldn’t say [we've put that loss] behind us, we just have to move forward now," Hodges said.
"When you shoot yourself in the foot so many times and give a classy side like Souths so much possession – in the first half they had 20 sets to our 13 – you're never going to be in the game.
"It's a good lesson learnt. It's only Round 1 and we know how far we've got to go now to hopefully get to the grand final."
Brisbane now turn their attention to the unpredictable Sharks, who were pipped 24-20 by the Raiders at Remondis Stadium on Sunday night.
"I watched [the Sharks] play [on Sunday] and they play aggressive obviously with 'Gal' (Paul Gallen), Wade Graham leading from the front and also Andrew Fifita so they're going to be a tough pack," said Hodges, who hasn’t scored a try against the Sharks since 2011.
"It's going to be another strong test for our forwards and looking beyond that the Cowboys (in Round 3), so we've got a tough first few weeks but I'm looking forward to this week and getting back on track."
Like the Broncos, the Sharks recruited well over the summer with the addition of quality players in key positions.
Hooker Michael Ennis, utility backs Kyle Stanley and Gerard Beale, back-rower Jason Bukuya and former Bronco Ben Barba are just some of the names drafted into the side by coach Shane Flanagan.
Having been friends with Barba for several years, Hodges hopes his ex-teammate rediscovers his form and confidence, but not against the side he was axed from after only one season.
"I probably won't talk to him too much [this week] – I don’t want to stir him up and him having a blinder against us," he said.
"He's a guy that plays with a lot of confidence, that's what we tried to give him here [at the Broncos].
"He's a quality player and he's only one try away from getting back to form. Hopefully he doesn’t get back to form this week."
The main concern for Hodges was seeing his good mate untroubled and enjoying his football again.
"It'll be good to see him happy again playing football – that's the most important thing for me to see him happy on the field," he said.
"At the moment he's just shot for confidence. Rugby league players are based on confidence and when he plays with confidence he can do anything on the footy field."
Meanwhile centre Dale Copley believes Barba isn't the only player the Broncos need to be wary of on Friday night, with new hooker Michael Ennis able to pose danger around the ruck.
"A hooker in any team touches the ball more than anyone else so Mick's going to be pretty pivotal to their structures and what they do," Copley said.
"We've certainly got to keep an eye on him and make sure we don’t give away quick play-the-balls he can take advantage of."