Cutting the errors Broncos' top priority
Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett has one message for his side as they prepare for their clash with the South Sydney Rabbitohs on Friday night: respect the ball.
The Broncos had an uncharacteristically error-riddled performance in Round 7, making 16 errors in their thrilling 24-22 win over the Gold Coast Titans.
It was double their season average, with Brisbane averaging just over eight errors a match heading into that game.
All things considered, the Broncos were lucky to get away with the win and it's something the players are well aware of.
Hooker Andrew McCullough was again huge in defence, making 52 tackles. But for all the good work he and his side do in defence, they at times let themselves down with poor execution in attack.
McCullough told media that these issues could be fixed if the team put greater emphasis on ball security.
"The biggest thing we learnt out of the Titans game was to respect the ball," McCullough said.
"Our completion rate was down and that let the Titans back in.
"They are a gritty team and they've shown that throughout the year. They fought really hard and it meant we needed a big play to get home.
"We've lost some close ones so it was nice to win one."
Front-rower Adam Blair was one of few Broncos to not make an error, putting in a solid performance at prop.
Bracing for a huge South Sydney pack this week, he said last week's team performance against the Titans was just one of those times where the game plan didn't come off as intended.
"We lacked respect for the ball in first 20 minutes of the Titans match," Blair said.
"The week before we played a similar style against the Roosters and it came off with a big win, but I guess you can't play like that every week.
"We came into our own later in the match against the Titans because we started to respect the footy a lot more.
"That helped us come away with a vital win against the Titans."
Brisbane will be looking for a third straight win when they face South Sydney at ANZ Stadium in Round 8, and they've received a boost with Rabbitohs superstar Sam Burgess set to miss two matches for a shoulder charge.
Burgess will challenge the grade-one charge at the judiciary on Tuesday night, with the Englishman to miss two games even if he is unsuccessful.
It means there is no risk in fighting the charge, and Blair said South Sydney were making the right decision in trying to free Burgess of any charges.
"He's a key part to their team and a leader. It'll be a big loss if he doesn't play because of the experience he brings," Blair said.
"In saying that, they've got some players that can do some damage if we turn up with the wrong attitude."