The Broncos have identified in-form Bulldogs centre Will Hopoate as the key man they must nullify as they prepare for the home clash at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday night.
The Broncos had their final training session behind closed doors at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday morning where countering the star Bulldogs right centre was high on the agenda.
Rookie Herbie Farnworth has been named in the centres but NRL.com understands it is more likely veteran Alex Glenn will start in the role after he trained at left centre on Tuesday once it became clear that Matt Gillett (groin) was not going to be fit to play on Thursday night.
Hopoate ran for 235 metres last week and made seven tackle busts, one line break and scored a typically robust try when monstered by Knights defenders.
The former NSW Blues representative has been identified by Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold as a man that must be stopped by Glenn or Farnworth.
"It is a big challenge. He has been outstanding, Hopoate," Seibold said.
"He has probably been from what I can see the Bulldogs most consistent player. [Dallin] Watene-Zelezniak in the last couple of weeks has really added something to the team as well.
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"Hopoate has been averaging around 180 metres in recent games so he is a real handful. Whoever it is, Herbie or Alex, they have a big job to do."
With Gillett out, Seibold trialled a few options at Brisbane training to counter for his loss.
"We have named Herbie in the centres but Lexi [Glenn] trained there yesterday. We will have a look at it today [at the Suncorp session] and make a final decision on our final 17," Seibold said before the captain’s run.
"Yesterday was more about trying to fit Gillo, David [Fifita] and Tevita [Pangai jnr] in the starting side and get our best 13 players on the park. We have got plenty of options to play back row. We thought Herbie did a good job against the Warriors and has played a bit of centre against Norths. We don’t want to put too much pressure on Herbie."
Pangai said the off-contract Glenn would do the job for Brisbane if given the task to mark Hopoate.
"We trust him out there. Seibs wouldn’t put him out there if he couldn’t do the job," Pangai said.
"Alex is fighting for a contract so I hope he stays. He has good been for young back-rowers like myself and David [Fifita] and keeps us on his toes."
Seibold said free agents Glenn, Corey Oates and Jake Turpin were all players the Broncos intended to keep long term and was confident they would soon put pen to paper.
"We hope so. With Corey Oates we are a long way down the line with negotiations there so we feel as though that will happen sooner rather than later," he said.
"Jake Turpin, there has been a bit of interest from a number of clubs but we have made Jake an offer and we are working towards retaining him.
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"Alex Glenn is somebody that I think has been in our top three most consistent players this year. I think he has got great leadership ability.
"We have got some of the younger players sorted out first but I have let Alex know that I want to keep him. We will try as hard as we can. I am sure other clubs are interested but I don’t think a 10-year player like Alex should finish his career elsewhere.
"We just have to make sure we can offer him something competitive and we are working out a way to do that. Long story short, we’d like to keep all three."