Broncos v Titans: The final word
The stats don't make for pleasant reading for Titans fans as they travel to see their team take on the high-flying big brother Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
A crowd of close to 30,000 is expected at what is likely to be a rain-soaked surface with the Broncos seeking an eighth consecutive win while the Titans are hoping to avoid a fifth loss on the trot.
The numbers can sometimes lie but they are heavily in favour of the home side:
• The Broncos have scored the most tries in the NRL in 2015; the Titans have conceded the most
• Brisbane's 78 per cent completion rate is ranked fourth in the NRL; the Titans' 71 per cent is the worst.
• The Broncos are ranked second for tackle efficiency; the Titans miss more tackle per game than any other team.
The Titans do have an edge when it comes to fast play-the-balls but they will need to have an even share of possession and show the type of goal-line defence they displayed early in the season to go with the ladder leaders.
Broncos coach Wayne Bennett
On a Titans team down on confidence: "It's never that easy and they're not going to be coming up here to embarrass themselves. They're an arch-rival of the club here, just down the road. They're playing a quality football side, playing at a quality venue. That's what you want to do so they'll relish the opportunity to come and play here."
On a second-half scare against the Tigers: "That wasn't really who we were or have been so we've not paid too much attention to it. It's one of those things that happen, a few circumstances and situations that added to it, it wasn't major. Players are conscious of it but that's about all really."
On Dale Copley's chance to impress: "He hasn't really taken one back but he's got some injuries and he got left out of the team with everyone else playing so well. He's a victim because of the number of quality players in the position he plays. He's a quality player and it's a chance for him to have an opportunity."
On how players have responded to the shake-up: "In the media they've been honest about their own performances. They understand that other players need an opportunity and most of the players have been in that situation before too. If they're not playing first grade they want to be playing first grade so they're trying to get in there. It's opened the door for a couple of guys to come in and we're looking for them to spark the other guys up."
On how to break down the Broncos defence: "They're a team playing with enormous confidence at the moment. It's going to be a tough night if we don't control our possession. We can't be completing at around 60 per cent like we were last week and hope to be in a game of footy. We're not a good enough team to do that. If we can control the ball it's a great challenge for us. It's one of those ones where we're struggling and they're flying at the moment so there's no better challenge than that."
On the challenge he will set his players: "We need a focused performance. We need a performance where we control our possession, we roll through our sets, we've got some enthusiasm around our chase and our defence and that's what we need. We need to be competing and for two weeks I reckon we've competed for probably 30 minutes in two games and the rest of the time we haven't been in the hunt. That's been disappointing."
Late Mail: The Broncos are without Jack Reed (suspension) and Daniel Vidot (broken finger) but will take the field as named on Tuesday with Jordan Kahu moving into the centres, Corey Oates coming onto the wing and Dale Copley and Kodi Nikorima both added to the bench.
Titans utility Daniel Mortimer has failed to recover from a concussion suffered against the Knights on Saturday and will be replaced on the bench by Chad Redman. Josh Hoffman will be assessed for a knee injury on Friday morning but he and Aidan Sezer are both expected to play having trained strongly.
Betting: The money’s running seven-to-one in favour of the Broncos and Sportsbet are struggling to find many punters who want to back the Titans. But there are some exceptions to the rule. One customer has placed $5 on David Mead to score the first try into the Titans to win by 13-plus at the price of $216 and another has had $50 at the price of $21 for the Titans to win 13-plus. Eighty per cent of winning margin bets are on the Broncos 13-plus and Lachlan Maranta is easily the best backed in the first try-scorer market. One customer has faith in Broncos forward Sam Thaiday, plonking $100 on him at $26 to come up with the opening try of the night. Latest odds at Sportsbet.com.au.