Broncos chasing top two finish
The Brisbane Broncos are eyeing off a top-two position with three weeks to go in the regular season, and are using their 2015 experiences to go one better.
Brisbane finished the regular season in second that year, going on to make the grand final before falling just short of premiership glory, losing by one point to the North Queensland Cowboys in one of the most memorable decider's of all time.
The players believe finishing second on the ladder was the key to their run to the grand final and their fate is once again in their own hands.
The Broncos currently sit second, with a superior for-and-against putting them in the box seat to stay there during the final weeks of the competition.
The first-placed Melbourne Storm are out of reach, but two wins from their next three matches would all but secure a top-two finish for Brisbane, assuming the third-placed Sydney Roosters drop at least one game during their run home.
Second-row forward Alex Glenn believes the advantages that come with finishing this high on the table are massive and his team have one eye on the ladder heading into this week's match-up with the St George-Illawarra Dragons at Suncorp Stadium.
"Finishing top two is massive when it comes to finals football. We got a taste of that in 2015 so we just have to make sure we are playing with a lot energy week in, week out," Glenn said.
"We've done that the past two weeks. We can't get comfortable. Teams are going to be coming up here pumped to play us and it's a great challenge for them. We know it's not going to be easy."
Although they did not achieve grand final glory in 2015, the Broncos had the perfect lead-up after finishing second on 38 competition points.
Brisbane defeated the Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium in their qualifying final before disposing of the Roosters two weeks later at the same venue.
Winger Jordan Kahu said the home finals and extra week off were the keys to that achievement and he hopes for something similar this time around.
Kahu cited the Cowboys' failed 2016 finals run as further proof of the importance of a top-two finish, saying that Paul Green's men fell short in the preliminary finals that year because of the toll three finals games in a row had taken on them.
"I think in 2015 when we had that spot it was pretty crucial to us getting to the grand final. That week off in the finals is vital," Kahu said.
"It showed last year with the Cowboys how much of a toll it took on them the following week when they got beaten after playing us in the semi-finals.
"To finish well, get that home final and get that week off is just so important."
Departing utility Ben Hunt echoed Kahu's thoughts, saying that any team in a position to finish in the top four must try and force their way into the top two.
"It definitely makes your finals run a lot easier if you finish in that top two," Hunt said.
"I think every team aims for the top four and if you get there you want to be in that top two. It definitely makes your preparation and everything a lot easier so it will be good to finish there."