Broncos wary of Manly backlash
Their coach has been told his services are not required beyond 2015 and their finals aspirations hang by a single thread but the Broncos insist they will be expecting to meet a Manly side resembling the dominant team of the past decade on Saturday.
It will be just the Broncos' third ever appearance at Central Coast Stadium at Gosford on Saturday where they will look to maintain their perfect record and put the minor premiership closer to their grasp.
While the Broncos have to travel south without the services of suspended forward Adam Blair, Manly players are coming to terms with the fact that Geoff Toovey has possibly just six weeks left as Sea Eagles head coach unless they can mount a miraculous finals charge.
Last week's upset win over the Warriors has kept the Sea Eagles within four points of the top eight and Brisbane fullback Darius Boyd is expecting another quality performance from a team brimming with talent.
"That's their issues and what they think is best for the club going forward but they played good on the weekend," Boyd said prior to Manly's announcement regarding Toovey's future. "It's always tough to go over to New Zealand and get a win and they won pretty convincingly so that will make our job a lot harder on Saturday.
"They're a class side whether they're struggling with crises or not. They've got a class side and we've just got to take it as they're going to be bringing their best on Saturday night and we've got to do our best to stop them and get a win.
"I know they're down the ladder a bit but that doesn't mean anything. They gave us a bit of a run when they come to Suncorp, we got a couple of lucky tries and got away with it in the end but it's definitely going to be a tough game on Saturday.
"It's not going to be what the ladder suggests for sure."
The loss of Blair for two games is a significant one for the Broncos whose players all hold the Kiwi international in very high regard.
As Jack Reed makes an expected return in the centres following a one-week suspension, Joe Ofahengaue is likely to be named in the Broncos' 17 with Jarrod Wallace set to come into the starting team.
With Josh McGuire (Achilles) and James Gavet (ACL) already out for the season, it's another blow to Brisbane's front-row stocks but Boyd believes Ofahengaue has shown enough in his five NRL appearances to date to fill the void.
"[Blair] has been a key player for us this year in the forward pack and he really dominates the ruck and is a leader there and talks a lot," said Boyd.
"He does a lot of extra efforts that the media or the public probably don't see and we really appreciate and will definitely miss it on Saturday. We'll miss him but 'Joffa' [Ofahengaue] gets his chance and I'm sure he'll do well.
"He's a good young kid who has played a handful of games already. I remember coming into the pre-season he was very fit and works hard so we'll need that on the weekend against Manly."