Pat Carrigan insists the Broncos have just scratched the surface of what they can produce in the finals and says the camaraderie built over the past two months will make them a playoff "dark horse".
Carrigan, set to start at lock for the second week in a row, said the seventh-placed Broncos needed to focus on beating the Bulldogs on Saturday night first so they do not have to worry about an unlikely draw between the Wests Tigers and Sharks on Sunday.
If that goes to plan he said the team could go up another gear in the finals.
"We started the year really tough but the last 10 matches, while we have had some inconsistent patches, I think everyone is starting to gel and work out how we play our footy," Carrigan said.
Bulldogs v Broncos - Round 25
"The camaraderie that we are starting to develop will hopefully make us a bit of a dark horse, provided we get to the finals.
"There are clips we cut from every game with our attacking and defensive coaches and there are areas where we miss opportunities that some of the better sides aren't missing.
"For us personally we think we have so much further to go in what we can produce. If we keep working our heart out on the field hopefully those rewards will show.
"We have been the underdogs all year and been written off but when you are young you play footy, have fun and go out there and give your best."
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Carrigan has been averaging 40 minutes game time in recent weeks but last week against the Eels he received his first starting berth.
Wearing the No.13 jersey on his back is special to the 21-year-old who has great respect for the legends who have worn it in recent years.
"I was a Broncs fan growing up and Cozza [Corey Parker] was a personal favourite of mine, and so was Tonie Carroll. He used to be able to hit and blokes were slow to get up. He was definitely someone I looked up to," Carrigan said.
"They have had some greats to wear the 13 jersey here. Even some of the boys this year. You think Matty Gillett at the start of the year and obviously big Tevita. He could be anything in the game."
Carrigan re-signed with the Broncos last year until the end of 2022. He was a highly sought after player in his junior days but has no regrets about resisting offers from other clubs, including the Titans.
It's anyone's game
"When you are a younger kid coming through the system and have a few people in front of you there are always temptations to leave or pursue other offers but even back then I was a big fan of what the Broncs could develop me into," he said.
"I have aspirations to play Origin and for Australia like anyone and I thought this was probably my best pathway."
The camaraderie will hopefully make us a bit of a dark horseBroncos forward Pat Carrigan
Carrigan is a favourite of coach Anthony Seibold because of his no-nonsense approach and defensive prowess.
"When you are in the middle Seibs calls it the washing machine. You have to keep turning up and make your tackles for the outside backs. I pride myself on my defence and like to play a bit aggressive. Most middles tend to do that," he said.
"We have one more week against the Dogs. Get a win and it is in the knockout phase. Our fate is in our hands and hopefully, we can get the job done this weekend and not have to worry about Sunday."