Bronco mindset key to stopping Fifita
Broncos captain Darius Boyd has declared that his side has rediscovered the mentality needed to win the Telstra Premiership in 2017 and that they can use it on Friday night to shut down Sharks power forward Andrew Fifita.
In a mouth-watering match-up of top four hopefuls that will have all the hallmarks of a September showdown, Brisbane leap-frogged Cronulla to move into third position on for-and-against after their 54-0 blowout against the Titans and the Sharks' 18-point loss to the Raiders two hours later.
The only change to the Broncos' 17 from last week is Jai Arrow coming in for the suspended Joe Ofahengaue while the Sharks welcome back James Maloney but lose Brisbane-bound Jack Bird with a shoulder injury.
Although the Broncos spoiled the homecoming of the defending premiers in Round 1 the Sharks have won four of their past six against the Broncos including the past three contests at Suncorp Stadium.
To make it four in succession Fifita will need to be prominent but Boyd believes the intent the Broncos displayed against the Titans last week and the way the Queensland team approached the Blues prop in the final two games of the Origin Series is the blueprint to keep him quiet on Friday night.
In Game One of the Origin Series Fifita tore the Maroons to shreds with such a dominant display that it drew comparisons to the great Arthur Beetson but Boyd is confident the Broncos know how to reduce his influence.
"He's a great player and it's an energy thing really," Boyd said on Tuesday.
"In Origin I we weren't at our best and to his credit he played a great game. I thought Origin II and III we practised a few things and our energy was better and had a bit more of a focus on what we wanted to do in the middle of the park and I thought we really nullified his attacking game in particular.
"It's the same again when we play Cronulla. If you want to nullify him you've got to get up in his face early and not let him run with the ball because he's got some great skill.
"He can offload, he can pass, he can break tackles so he's definitely a danger person."
Admitting that they weren't at the level required against the Eels a fortnight ago, Boyd spoke to the intent that Brisbane displayed early against the Titans as the home side pounded away on their try-line with a number of repeat sets only to be turned away time and again.
In their run to the finals the Broncos play four teams all still in finals contention and Boyd is adamant they can carry that finals-type mindset through until the season's conclusion, wherever that might prove to be.
"A lot of games in the past against the Titans, those local derbies have always been really close and they've put it to us so I thought we took it away from them early and broke their spirit," said Boyd, who has a personal tally of 15 wins from 20 career games against the Sharks.
"I just think we really took it away from them early and you could see our intent right from the start of the game. We didn't have that against Parramatta and we spoke about it during the week and it wasn't us.
"We trained accordingly through last week and to put those words that we spoke about through the week into action was the most pleasing thing.
"You can speak a lot but to actually go out on the field and live it and do it is another thing and I thought we really took it away from them early.
"We want to finish in the top four but more importantly so we've got our game right for finals.
"We need to be playing our best football and be confident with our game and where it's going.
'It was a great start last week but we need to continue it in the next four weeks. They're all hard games but most of them are at home which is good for us.
"We need to be mentally up for the next four weeks until the finals and then four or whatever after that."