Raiders won't take battered Broncos lightly
Losing both Anthony Milford and Darius Boyd to injury and having two forwards backing up after 80 minutes of Origin torture would be enough to knock most teams around but Canberra captain Jarrod Croker believes the Broncos have the depth to cover for their high-profile outs.
Milford (dislocated shoulder) was joined on the injured list by Boyd on Thursday when it was revealed that he had suffered a broken thumb playing for Queensland on Wednesday night and would undergo surgery on Friday afternoon, the early prognosis a 4-6 week recovery.
|In Boyd's absence Jordan Kahu will revert to fullback and David Mead promoted to the wing, Croker pointing to Ben Hunt's presence on the bench as an indicator of the quality team Brisbane will be taking to the nation's capital.
"You'd obviously rather have Darius Boyd there but Jordan Kahu is a quality player and David Mead will slot straight onto the wing," Croker said. "He's obviously played a lot of first grade and is a great player as well.
"They do lose a lot losing Darius but they've got some handy replacements.
"They'll obviously miss those two guys but good teams have good depth and when you've got Ben Hunt on the bench and [Kodi] Nikorima and Benji Marshall in the halves it's still a pretty good halves pairing.
"While they lose a lot of experience and some high quality players they've got some pretty good depth there and some good players coming in."
The Broncos are currently on a four-game winning run against the Raiders who make a welcome return to GIO Stadium on Saturday having played just one of their past six games at home.
After last weekend's bye the Raiders now have a run of four straight games at home against Brisbane, North Queensland, St George Illawarra and Melbourne, a run that will determine their premiership credentials in 2017.
Canberra have won 16 of their past 21 games at home and Croker knows the next five weeks will be crucial if they are to move up from their current position of 10th on the table.
"I think we've had two home games in about eight weeks so we've got a little block of four in a row now with a bye in between so we're looking forward to playing at home again," Croker said.
"We've got an important block of four home games against four quality sides but we don't want to look too far ahead either. We've got to win this one [on Saturday] and that's only a kick-start if we do.
"It's a tough little period but one I'm looking forward to.
"The boys have trained really well this week, they've been jumping out of their skin and nice and excited with a bit of a buzz around.
"We've got four home games now and the boys are itching to get back into it."