Broncos v Cowboys: The final word

The coaches give their squads a clean bill of health, Wayne Bennett reflects on an historic night in Townsville and Paul Green gives his thoughts on where Brisbane have improved this season.

Statgraph: Ben Hunt v Johnathan Thurston

 

Broncos coach Wayne Bennett on...

Going into camp on match eve: "There's no advantage, it is just to remind us we have a pretty big game ahead of us. If you sit at home it feels like another club game and it is much more than that. It is a case of getting the guys together and making sure everyone is around each other. Twenty four hours of that is all we need."

The first Broncos-Cowboys final in 2004: "We made that happen for them when we went to Townsville. We could have gone to Sydney and we made a choice to go to Townsville because we value the game and no one would have watched the game in Sydney. It was a pretty special night up there. Shane Webcke got an operation the Sunday morning (after a Saturday night game against Melbourne) and went up there, it was probably the most courageous thing I have seen in the game. He played six days later (after surgery), no one could believe he could do what he did. Ben Ikin was playing in the state league because he was close to retiring and we ended up taking him up as hooker. I thought that night we were as brave as we ever were."

Former Broncos assistant Paul Green's development as a coach: "He's done a good job. I always thought he had the makings of a good coach. I think the best thing that he did for himself was spend a couple of years at Wynnum. I only coached him a couple of times for Queensland and in a few games for the Broncos but he was always a smart player, switched on and doing his best."

 

Cowboys coach Paul Green on...

The difference in the Broncos 12 months on: "They're probably a little bit more potent attacking-wise. They've always competed well, that's been a trademark of Broncos teams and in particular Wayne Bennett teams. It's going to need an 80-minute performance for us to get the result but there are probably a few more attacking weapons there."

Whether his halves will be fit enough to kick: "I got asked a similar question about that and my answer to that was that anyone who is in the team will be expected to do their job and I'm sure they will be doing their job. Part of their roles in the team is obviously to kick the footy so they'll be doing that."

Concerns over his team's slow starts: "Teams have scored first on us recently but when you look closely at how we've actually played at the start of the game I thought we'd started pretty well. We probably just need to be a little more desperate when we're down on our own try line early in games. I don't think for a while now we've put our whole game together. Even on the weekend we played well against the Titans but we let them score first. The Broncos have probably been in better form particularly against teams higher on the ladder than us and in big games you need to put all parts of your game together."

 

Injury updates: A final decision on whether Michael Morgan takes his place for the Cowboys will be made on Saturday morning in the wake of the team's final training session on Friday afternoon. Broncos lock forward Corey Parker completed the entire captain's run at Suncorp Stadium on Friday morning as did Alex Glenn, who was in doubt earlier in the week with a foot injury. Cowboys superstar Johnathan Thurston has overcome a minor groin strain and trained fully on both Thursday and Friday.

Market moves: As soon as Michael Morgan was named, the dollars came rolling in for the Cowboys. Brisbane have drifted from $1.53 out to $1.71 while the Cowboys have firmed from $2.50 into $2.20. Fifty per cent more money has been wagered on the Cowboys in head-to-head betting compared to the Broncos. Broncos winger Corey Oates has easily been the best backed player to score the first try – in fact he's carrying three times as much money as Jordan Kahu, who's the next most popular pick. Latest odds at Sportsbet.com.au.