Oates tells young guns: Senior Broncos will lead from front

Brisbane's young guns have played lone hands several times in 2019 but experienced winger Corey Oates is adamant the veterans will lead from the front in Sunday’s elimination final against the Eels.

Forwards Payne Haas and David Fifita, in cahoots with Kotoni Staggs, have been standout performers this year, but they have played just two finals games between them.

Broncos coach Anthony Seibold wants more out of his more experienced players, including Oates. The 141-gamer, who has played in 10 finals games, said he was up for the challenge.

"The experienced players have to lead by example and by their actions," Oates said leading into the clash at Bankwest Stadium.

"We have been in the finals and been in the big games. We know what it is like and what the aggression and speed is going to be like, so we have to lead and try and get the young fellas to come with us

"We have to start well and show the young boys what it is all about, and how much it really means."

Matt Lodge has only played in one NRL final, last year’s 48-18 loss to the Dragons, but the 23-year-old has been in first-grade systems for a lot longer than Haas and Fifita.

"Dave Fifita and Payne are playing out of their skin. You want to be on the same level as them. They make players around them better and that's what good players do," Lodge said.

"Payne has been good for me. It's been good this year to have someone else who takes on the workload. We split that and he gets momentum for me and I get it for him. We work together. It's crucial me and Payne turn up on Sunday and set the platform for the team."

The Broncos had a disrupted start to their year with James Roberts and Jaydn Su’A leaving for Souths and Kodi Nikorima joining the Warriors.

It took a while for the Broncos to adapt to new coach Seibold’s methods and is why, despite a late-season rally, they find themselves in a sudden-death situation in the first week of the finals.

For a club that sets a top-four benchmark each year that isn’t good enough but Oates said the momentum was with the Broncos.

"It is no excuse for the way we have played," Oates said of the disruptions.

"It has been tough with a lot of changes with the team and all the stuff that has happened off the field, but that is part of the game now.

"There is always going to be change, but to beat those great teams you have to be able to deal with that sort of stuff a lot better.

"I feel like the end of our season has been pretty good. We are starting to play some pretty good footy, apart from last weekend. We are still pretty confident."

Match: Eels v Broncos

Finals Week 1 -

Full Time
Eels

Home Team

Eels

Scored 58 points
Broncos

Away Team

Broncos

Scored 0 points

Venue: Bankwest Stadium, Sydney

Match broadcasters:

  • Nine Network
  • FOXTEL
  • LIVE PASS

Oates will have his hands full marking Blake Ferguson and on the other flank the NRL’s leading try scorer Maika Sivo poses just as many challenges for Jamayne Isaako after a hat-trick last week against  Manly.

Brisbane's right edge of Jake Turpin, Matt Gillett, Staggs and Isaako are well aware of the damage Sivo can cause.

"He is a tough man to handle, there's no question about that … but you have to try and do some sort of job on him. We can't give him too much space," Oates said.