The man the Broncos wanted to take over from Wayne Bennett faces an early-season acid test when the North Queensland Cowboys visit Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
Anthony Seibold's men turned in a strong showing against the Storm but weren't good enough to get the job done. That has heaped even more pressure onto both him and his side as the Cowboys ride into town feeling pretty good about themselves.
Leading the charge for the team from Townsville will be a forward pack that enjoyed a great night in their round one win over the Dragons.
Another performance of that nature will give Michael Morgan all the time he needs to organise a side that looked as good as any in round one.
Match: Broncos v Cowboys
Round 2 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Broncos: The Broncos are 1-17 as named by Anthony Seibold on Tuesday. Matt Lodge (two-week suspension) is replaced by Tevita Pangai jnr at prop, while David Fifita starts in the second row with Jaydn Su'A back to the bench. Shaun Fensom is the new man on the interchange. Patrick Mago and Richie Kennar were omitted from the 21-man squad on Thursday night and Patrick Carrigan and Gehamat Shibasaki were cut an hour before kick-off.
Cowboys: As he did last week Paul Green has promoted Josh McGuire into the starting side after originally naming him on the bench. Coen Hess goes back to the bench. McGuire will play his 100th NRL game at Suncorp Stadium. Corey Jensen and Enari Tuala were cut 24 hours before kick-off. Ben Hampton and Jake Clifford were omitted an hour before the match
Fullback for Broncos is number 1 Darius BoydFullback for Cowboys is number 1 Jordan Kahu
Winger for Broncos is number 2 Corey OatesWinger for Cowboys is number 2 Nene Macdonald
Centre for Broncos is number 3 James RobertsCentre for Cowboys is number 3 Justin O'Neill
Centre for Broncos is number 4 Jack BirdCentre for Cowboys is number 4 Tom Opacic
Winger for Broncos is number 5 Jamayne IsaakoWinger for Cowboys is number 5 Javid Bowen
Five-Eighth for Broncos is number 6 Anthony MilfordFive-Eighth for Cowboys is number 6 Te Maire Martin
Halfback for Broncos is number 7 Kodi NikorimaHalfback for Cowboys is number 7 Michael Morgan
Prop for Broncos is number 8 Tevita Pangai JuniorProp for Cowboys is number 8 Matthew Scott
Hooker for Broncos is number 9 Andrew McCulloughHooker for Cowboys is number 9 Jake Granville
Prop for Broncos is number 10 Joe OfahengaueProp for Cowboys is number 10 Jordan McLean
2nd Row for Broncos is number 11 Alex Glenn2nd Row for Cowboys is number 11 Gavin Cooper
2nd Row for Broncos is number 12 David Fifita2nd Row for Cowboys is number 15 Josh McGuire
Lock for Broncos is number 13 Matt GillettLock for Cowboys is number 13 Jason Taumalolo
Interchange for Broncos is number 14 Kotoni StaggsInterchange for Cowboys is number 12 Coen Hess
Interchange for Broncos is number 15 Jaydn Su'AInterchange for Cowboys is number 14 John Asiata
Interchange for Broncos is number 16 Thomas FleglerInterchange for Cowboys is number 16 Mitchell Dunn
Interchange for Broncos is number 17 Shaun FensomInterchange for Cowboys is number 17 Francis Molo
- Referee: Grant Atkins
- Referee: Gavin Badger
- Touch Judge: Michael Wise
- Touch Judge: Todd Smith
- Video Referee: Steve Chiddy
- Senior Review Official: Ben Galea
Kodi Nikorima surely must be relishing his battle with classy Cowboys halfback Michael Morgan. Morgan showed last week he is prepared to take ownership of his team following Johnathan Thurston's retirement, piloting the Cowboys to a solid win over the Dragons. Nikorima will have to be at the top of his game to get the better of Morgan.
For the Broncos to win
Kodi Nikorima needs to become an organiser. It is easier said than done, but if Seibold can add an organisational aspect to his game, happy days are ahead for the Broncos. Their young forwards are also facing a test against the star-studded North Queensland pack. If they hold their own, their backline can do the rest.
For the Cowboys to win
Get the ball to Taumalolo. Arguably the best ball-running forward in the game, Taumalolo started 2019 with a powerhouse display against the Dragons. The input of McLean, Matt Scott, Josh McGuire and Coen Hess set a great platform for the Tonga international. His performances are must-watch TV.
Brett Kimmorley says ...
The Broncos didn’t get off to the start they wanted against Melbourne. Let’s look for them to start faster this week. I still have some thoughts on Anthony Milford as a five-eighth. I’d love to see him just running the ball and forgetting about structure. The Cowboys had the wrecking ball in Jason Taumalolo last week. The key to stopping him is probably forcing him to make some tackles. That might slow him down. Broncos by 4
Broncos Stat Attack
Corey Oates enjoyed a great start to 2019 from a personal standpoint. He scored two tries and ran for 227m. Whether it be Kyle Feldt or Javid Bowen opposing him on Friday night, that man will need to be at his best.
Cowboys Stat Attack
While much was rightly made of the monster game Jason Taumalolo enjoyed against the Dragons, his fellow forwards also played strongly. The platform set by Josh McGuire (154m), Jordan McLean (141m), John Asiata (112m) and Matt Scott (97m in just 28 minutes) proved invaluable. If that continues this season Paul Green's men will be very hard to beat.
Played 50, Brisbane 32, North Queensland 16, drawn 2
At Suncorp Stadium
Played 15, Brisbane 10, North Queensland 5
And another thing ...
Josh McGuire is never short of advice for opposition players. It will be interesting to see what he has to say to his former teammates when he plays on Suncorp Stadium as a member of the visiting team for the first time. McGuire is much more than just a niggler, he's also a middle forward who gets through a mountain of hard work each week.