Fan-forced Broncos ready for Roosters
The Broncos hope to harness the energy of a city craving late-September football to move past the Roosters at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night and qualify for their first grand final in almost a decade.
It's been four years since the Broncos last appeared in a grand final qualifier and as anticipation builds ahead of an expected sell-out on Friday night, hundreds of fans turned out at the club's Red Hill training base on Tuesday to watch their heroes prepare.
The combination of school holidays and a warm spring day saw the training field completely ringed by loyal Bronco supporters who will play a critical role in what should be an epic finals encounter against the Roosters.
The night will also mark captain Justin Hodges' last game at Suncorp Stadium and he said the expected crowd of close to 50,000 can have a significant influence on the final outcome.
"You just go back to that Cowboys game. We were out on our feet, we were spent with how quick that game was and we were just lucky that we played that game at home," Hodges said of their 16-12 win over North Queensland a fortnight ago.
"We had our home fans cheering and hopefully they get us across the line this weekend. We're going to need them.
"It's been a long time since we've seen a crowd like this [at training]. Normally the first or the second week of the finals we've been on the sidelines so it's obviously a great lift for the boys.
"There are a lot of our boys who haven't experienced this before so hopefully it gives them a bit of confidence."
Like Hodges, each game Mitchell Dodds now plays could be his last for the club with the burly prop bound for Warrington in the English Super League at season's end.
The win over the Cowboys in Week One of the finals was Dodds's first finals appearance in 74 games for the club and he admitted that the nerves are starting to kick in a little earlier than usual.
"I don't usually get too nervous before games but coming to the end of the season I definitely feel a bit different coming into it," Dodds said.
"Getting a little bit more excited; just need to calm down a little bit I think.
"From the Cowboys game, the amount of people that turned up it just puts a bit of a jump in your step too. Everyone loving footy and the atmosphere there was great."
As halfback and chief kicker in general play Ben Hunt has a major role to play against the most potent backline in the competition but said the support of the Broncos fans will make his task just that little bit easier.
"Usually we've got a couple of fans that turn up now and then but you come out today and they're lined right around the fence," Hunt said. "It's really exciting and brings a real good buzz around the place.
"You see them at Suncorp every week, they just keep turning out. We've got the biggest fans every home game and they really mean a lot to us. They come on the weekends and they're very loud.
"A couple of those tough games when it's really close you can just hear the crowd get even louder and louder and you get a bit inspired by it and you get a bit of a lift."