David Fifita will be key again for Broncos against the Rabbitohs, says Corey Parker. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)
David Fifita will be key again for Broncos against the Rabbitohs, says Corey Parker. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Parker: Broncos will go up the middle against the Bunnies

They say a week is a long time in rugby league, but given the events of the last week it feels like it's been a year since round one.

I was really impressed with what I saw from the Broncos last Friday night in Townsville.

With Alex Glenn, Matt Lodge and Joe Ofenghaue ruled out and then to lose Jack Bird on the eve of the game, the Broncos could have been forgiven for going into the game with their heads down.

But this young Broncos side showed plenty of grit and resilience and got the job done.

There were plenty of questions marks over the Rabbitohs heading into this season, but I think they showed enough in the first half against the Sharks to prove that they'll be there when the drums are beating come finals time.

The Rabbitohs second half performance would not have pleased Wayne Bennett, but the master coach would no doubt have worked on the Rabbitohs short comings during the week.

Anthony Seibold won't be looking to recreate the wheel this weekend.

The Broncos will look to attack the Rabbitohs through the middle and they'll fancy their chances of winning that battle.

Seibold will again call on his big men, Payne Haas and David Fafita, to lead from the front. There are few, if any players in the game who could have done what those two did against the Cowboys.

Brisbane Broncos player Brodie Croft had a decent start against the Cowboys. (AAP Image/Dan Peled) NO ARCHIVING
Brisbane Broncos player Brodie Croft had a decent start against the Cowboys. (AAP Image/Dan Peled) NO ARCHIVING

I also like what I saw from Brodie Croft on Friday night.

There was plenty written about Croft in the off-season and there's no doubt that there's plenty of pressure on him this season, but from what he showed last weekend, I think he's up to the task.

I liked the layers in Croft's performance against the Cowboys. When he needed to pass the ball he came up with the right option, when he saw something he took the line on and his kicking game top notch.

For the Broncos to win this game they'll need another solid performance from Croft because he's coming up against one of the best number 7s in the game in Adam Reynolds.

Everything the Rabbitohs do comes off the back of Reynolds, Damian Cook and Cody Walker.

If the Broncos middles are tired and or lazy around the ruck, Cook will punish them with his running game and will have Reynolds and Walker firm in toe.

And then there's the elephant in the room and I'm not talking about the battle of the coaches.

I'm talking about the crowd, or the lack there of.

Put simply the crowd factor will matter, until the first tackle is made. Once that first hit-up is out of the way, it's game on and the players won't bat an eyelid at the empty seats.

Now to the other elephant in the room, the coaches.

Make no mistakes, both coaches will want to win this game, but it's not because of who they're coaching against, it's because they'll want the two competition points.

The 'feud' between Seibold and Bennett makes for good paper talk, but it means very little once the players take the field.

Bennett has had the wood over Seibold in their most recent match-ups, but that means nothing heading into this weekend.

While both sides managed a win in round one, I liked what I saw more from the Broncos than the Bunnies and I think Seibold's men can make it two from two to start the year.

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