STATE OF ORIGIN
Broncos plot demise of green monsters
They may have shed the brute force of the Hulk for the more diverse martial arts skills of Iron Fist but Broncos players believe the green monsters wearing the Canberra jerseys on Friday night can have their strength turned into a weakness.
Nine NRL teams are donning special Marvel jerseys designed in conjunction with ISC this weekend with Brisbane representing Iron Man and the Raiders' Iron Fist (no relation).
Where the Broncos' forward pack thrives on mobility and work-rate, the Raiders have filled their engine room with the biggest bodies they can find, starting with Shannon Boyd, Junior Paulo, Josh Papalii and now Dave Taylor.
Paulo, Papalii, Taylor, Clay Priest and Sia Soliola all ran for more than 100 metres against the Wests Tigers last Sunday but the Broncos are devising ways in which to minimise their impact in attack and expose them in defence.
After a rain-soaked session at Red Hill on Monday morning fullback Darius Boyd, halves Anthony Milford and Ben Hunt and hooker Andrew McCullough all gathered at the end of the session to discuss ways of turning the Raiders' size to their favour with assistant coach Jason Demetriou.
Of the two teams that took the field last weekend the Broncos' starting five forwards gave up 23 kilograms compared to their Canberra counterparts but lock forward Josh McGuire doesn't see it as an imbalance that cannot be overcome.
"Every pro has got a con and it's just about exploiting those cons when you get the opportunity," McGuire told NRL.com.
"It's no hidden fact that they've got a big team and they're a team that likes to run hard so it would be smart to make those big guys work hard and to run hard and make sure that they're working and keeping the ball in play.
"When you look across their pack they've got a big team so we've got to make sure that they're working hard and that you're making them work hard."
In order to try and tire out the big bodies within the Raiders team Brisbane's kicking game must be at its best and halfback Ben Hunt has accepted that responsibility.
After a somewhat nervous start against the Sharks in Round 1 Hunt has begun to look more and more the player that took Brisbane to a grand final in 2015 and said that the work of the spine will be crucial to his side's chances.
"Obviously everyone knows they've got a huge forward pack and the only way you can expose that is to tire them out and keep working through that middle," Hunt said.
"Hopefully a couple of their big boys will get a bit tired and we can expose them a bit.
"I want my kicking game to be perfect [this week]. Against a big forward pack we've got to keep turning them around and keep making them work out of their own end and that's on my shoulders to do that.
"If we can work their forward pack over and hopefully tire them out and then expose them late in the halves."
While Canberra boasts two starting front-rowers tipping the scales in excess of 120 kilograms Sam Thaiday is the only starting forward for the Broncos nudging up over the 110kg mark.
They each played in excess of 45 minutes and captain Darius Boyd has no doubt that as the Canberra forwards tire opportunities will present themselves.
"We're a smaller pack but we're pretty fit," Boyd said. "That's definitely something we'll look at through the week, coming up with a game-plan to try and tire those guys out.
"Keep the ball in play a little bit more and make them do a lot of tackles and repeat efforts and then guys like 'Milf' (Milford) and myself, 'Hunty' (Hunt) and 'Macca' (McCullough) can play around the ruck and see if there's some lazy guys in there and some open inside balls.
"While it's their strength everyone has a weakness too."