Senior Broncos issue fresh challenge
They have hailed it as one of the best defensive performances ever produced by a Broncos team but senior players Justin Hodges and Corey Parker have challenged their teammates to back it up against the Knights on Friday night.
Parker and Hodges were both helpless spectators back in their family homes in Brisbane as Melbourne continually pounded away at the Broncos' line on Sunday only to be turned away time and again as Brisbane prevailed 14-12.
The Storm had 53 per cent of possession, forced 11 goal-line drop-outs and won the penalty count 7-4 but were unable to break down a resilient Broncos team missing its two most senior campaigners.
Perched atop the Telstra Premiership ladder heading into Round 16, Hodges praised the performance of his teammates and challenged them to build on it for the remainder of the season.
"I said to Wayne (Broncos coach Wayne Bennett) that if someone was standing outside my house they would have thought I was a madman walking through the house pacing but it was a real tough win by the lads," said Hodges, who will return to lead the team against Newcastle.
"To defend 11 drop outs, so many tackles inside our 20 and the way they kept turning up for each other – it was a proud moment to be a Bronco. All the old players in the past would have been happy with the way they turned up for each other.
"There were a few times there where if the boys didn't shut that gate they probably would have scored but the boys really helped each other and turned up for each other and talked to each other. I think that was probably the big difference on the night.
"For myself and 'Coz' (Parker) it was a great game to watch and for those guys to stand up, our club's in great hands with those blokes.
"But that's only one game, they've got to learn to do that for the whole year and that's always the challenge."
Seeking to win the club's first premiership since 2006 in Wayne Bennett's first year back at the helm, Parker said the team's display on Sunday was the type of resolve they will need to show once the finals series rolls around.
"When you look at it purely on the defensive side of things, in terms of weight of possession, it is probably the best in that regard," Parker said of how the defensive performance rates in his time at the club.
"They had 11 goal-line drop outs; generally when a team has that many they win 99 per cent of the time.
"It's amazing what you can achieve when everyone is willing to give themselves to the side and that was a good example.
"Defence wins games and we need to come up with that same attitude on Friday."
Revealing that the torture of having to watch on TV may cause him to reconsider any plans to enter into coaching when his decorated career comes to an end, Parker said that the spirit of the 17 players who took the field vindicated their work in the pre-season.
"It was certainly tough from where I was, having no control in the lounge room," Parker said.
"It was one of those feelings, you feel so helpless, you can't do anything. At least if you are playing you can help.
"The most pleasing thing is that 17 players as a collective believe in what we are doing and turn up for each other.
"I am confident in the system and we saw on Sunday afternoon each individual pulled their own weight and it was a great Broncos victory."