Oates out for redemption after Origin omission
Being overlooked for Origin has put Brisbane winger Corey Oates on a mission to redeem himself against the Sharks on Saturday – particularly in second half when the battling Broncos have been "flipping out".
Oates believes the Broncos have to "complete for 80 minutes and compete for 80 minutes" to avoid repeating the second-half fade out against Melbourne last week, which has been all too familiar this season.
And he knows he has to simplify his focus, as does the whole team, to put himself in contention for the Maroons.
While Dane Gagai and Valentine Holmes seem to have cemented their positions on the Queensland wings, Oates's desire to wear the maroon jersey has not faded one bit.
"Just because I have played four Origin games doesn't mean I want to just forget about it," said Oates.
"Every week I am doing my best and trying to put myself in contention for Origin.
"Last week I don't think I did myself any favors but this week I'll be focused on getting back to my game, getting that go-forward, helping the team out wherever I can and try to do that little bit extra off the ball and try to offer the team something else.
"There's a little bit of fire in the belly, maybe I let it get to me too much [not being selected]."
The Broncos have dropped their second-half intensity in the past month, outscoring their opponents only once – 18-10 against the Roosters in round 11. In three of their past four games they have been outscored, and mostly outplayed, in the second sessions – 20-10 by Manly, 8-6 by the Eels and 20-8 by the Storm last Sunday after being the Broncos of old when leading 12-10 at half-time.
They were never outscored in the second half in the previous six games.
"If we're ahead we seem to die down a bit," said Oates.
"In defence it seems to just completely flip on us.
"We'll have 80% ball control, be in their 20 for 80% of the time and in the second half it will halve.
"It's just mindset I think. We need to go in there and start the game again. Do what we do in the first half and compete."
And keeping it simple, and relying on the good old-fashioned grind, may be the key, Oates added.
"It's the way the game is going. If you get good meterage in your attack sets, you're dominating from the start," he said.
"When you do that well, you really put pressure on teams.
"That is what we have to do this weekend. Try to get those metres down the middle, tire their forwards out and then dominate the backs coming out of their end.
"We have to complete for 80 minutes and compete for 80 minutes. That will win any team the ball game and that's what we'll be focusing on."
The bonus for Brisbane is the sole dedication to team by skipper Darius Boyd, who has retired from the representative arena.
And the team needs it to lift itself back into top four contention, according to Oates.
"He's our captain and we need him now more than ever," he said.
"We could really do with our captain every week now and he can focus on playing great footy for the Broncos.
"I feel he is building every week and it's pretty exciting to see what he will bring for the rest of the year.
"When Darius is on [Anthony] Milford and Kodi [Nikorima] are on. They build off his confidence and his leadership."