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19 Jan 2018 20:39
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    Broncos overcome Origin minefield

    Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett says his side have come out on top after successfully navigating the NRL representative period with five wins from eight games.

    - article from www.rugbyleague.co.nz

    Brisbane NRL coach Wayne Bennett says the Broncos have come out "on budget" after successfully navigating the representative period minefield.

    The Broncos go into Saturday's clash with Newcastle just two wins off top spot and firmly positioned to be competitive come September.

    The loss of State of Origin stars has traditionally wrought a hefty toll on Brisbane but, this year, they have come out relatively well placed in fifth.

    Bennett does have injury worries - Darius Boyd (thumb), Corey Oates (staph infection) and David Mead (knee) - however, after winning five of eight since Origin I, they are heading into the straight in good position.

    "Results are wonderful but outside of that (injuries are a concern)," Bennett said.

    "We're on budget - we made budget. We won five out of eight games when we were budgeting to win four out of eight. I think we're okay.

    "We've had a week's bye; they've had a week's training; they're fresh now; they won't get another break between now and the end of the season."

    The Broncos will be without Queensland Origin forwards Matt Gillett and Josh McGuire against the Knights because of concerns about their short turnaround heading into Thursday's clash with Canterbury.

    They will, however, receive a massive boost with five-eighth Anthony Milford making his comeback from a dislocated shoulder to partner Ben Hunt in the halves.

    The Knights are sweating on the fitness of skipper Sione Mata'utia after last week's hand injury against Canterbury.

    Bennett bristled at the suggestion his side could take the Knights lightly, after the bottom-placed side pushed the Bulldogs and St George Illawarra, prompting criticism certain sides weren't giving them due respect.

    "I don't see why we'd be complacent - I just can't see that happening," Benentt said of his former club.

    "They're a quality footy team, better than their win-loss record suggests. They had St George on the rack three weeks ago and they had Canterbury gone and they managed to unfortunately lose both of those games."

    STATS THAT MATTER:

    * The Broncos have won nine of the past 11 matches between the two sides including five straight

    * The Knights are conceding the most second-half points at 15.9 per game

    * Brisbane are making the equal-most run metres in the league - 1508m per game


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