Defence is working for us: Thaiday

From a long list of sporting clichés, the saying 'defence wins championships' is probably the most applicable when it comes to winning the Telstra Premiership.

Since 2010 no team has lifted the Provan-Summons trophy without having a top two defensive record at the conclusion of the regular season. 

South Sydney won their first title in 43 years last year off the back of having the second-best defensive record in the competition; the Roosters (2013) and the Storm (2012) had the best record in their respective premiership seasons and the Sea Eagles were number two in their successful 2011 campaign.

St George Illawarra were the only side to conceded less than 300 points when they won the title under Wayne Bennett in 2010.

Having won the 2006 decider with the Broncos – who had the best defensive record of that season – back-rower Sam Thaiday is seeing some encouraging signs that Brisbane's class of 2015 has the same grit and determination in defence that previous alumni have displayed.

"[Defence] is working out really well for us at the moment and you can tell that by the looks in blokes' faces when they do make a defensive error," Thaiday said.

"It's good to see everyone is taking pride in our defence and the best thing about it is everyone is being accountable for their job in defence.

"It's working for us and if we continue to get better at it our attack will follow and it's usually the best defensive team which is playing in the big games at the end of the year."

When Brisbane won their sixth premiership nearly a decade ago they did so off the back of some desperate defence despite finishing third on the ladder and 12 competition points behind minor premiers Melbourne.

Leaking only 392 points during the regular season at an average of 16 per game, Brisbane's defensive resolve was on full display during their 15-8 win in the 2006 Grand Final.

The Broncos are currently ranked sixth in defence this season conceding an average of 17 points, but when you take away their 30-point Round 1 flogging against the Rabbitohs, their average reduces to 13.5 per game.

The Dragons are the best defensive team so far in 2015 having only leaked 86 points from eight games but sit second on the ladder by virtue of having the second-worst attack in the competition.

Brisbane had to make 53 more tackles than the Eels in their 28-16 victory at Suncorp Stadium on Anzac Day, managing to repel Parramatta's repeated attacking raids – especially during the opening and closing 10 minutes of the match.

Eels halves Corey Norman and Chris Sandow kept posing a constant danger throughout the game, with Brisbane's staunch defence the reason the team got over the line according to Thaiday. 

"We hung in there… Parramatta are a team that don’t lay down easily and they kept on coming," he said.

"When 'Milf' (Anthony Milford) realised he wasn’t as tired as he thought he was and ran [90] metres to score that (77th minute) try to put it beyond doubt that was the sealer, but we really needed to hang in there to get to that point."

Thaiday produced another barnstorming performance against the Eels making 110 metres, 40 tackles and two tackle breaks in an 80-minute display.

Acrimoniously dumped to the bench by Bennett after Round 1, Thaiday worked his way back into the run-on side and has started in Brisbane's past three games.

The 29-year-old is hoping his form reversal is enough to gain selection for Friday's Trans-Tasman Test against New Zealand in Brisbane.

Thaiday played in last season's Four Nations and the veteran of 24 Tests said he'll be eagerly waiting for a phone call on Sunday afternoon.

"Hopefully I've done enough in these first few weeks to get a call," he said.

"Being such a short preparation, (Australian coach) Tim [Sheens] would probably go with the players he has picked before so hopefully that works in my favour."