Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett is challenging the Broncos to break into a full gallop in Saturday’s NRL clash with Newcastle.
The Broncos are sitting pretty on top of the ladder with five wins and just one defeat in 2016 but Bennett has been far from satisfied with his charges in the past fortnight.
Brisbane have followed up their draining golden-point win over North Queensland with comfortable, if uninspiring, displays against Gold Coast and St George Illawarra.
Bennett says the toll taken in the thrilling grand final rematch against the Cowboys cannot be underestimated but it is time for the Broncos to hit the accelerator once more.
“We’ve been a bit flat since the Cowboys game,” Bennett said.
“We haven’t been quite on that high that we were. That game took a lot out of us, physically and mentally.
“We’ve got the job done and I’m just hoping we can start to up the ante again now.”
The Broncos welcome the Knights knowing they hold a remarkable recent record against Bennett’s former club.
Brisbane have won eight of their past 10 fixtures against the Knights, scoring 155 points to 52 in four straight wins since 2014.
Knights coach Nathan Brown can seek solace in history himself, however, having won nine of 12 encounters against Bennett-led teams.
Newcastle are also sure to bring confidence after a first victory of the season last weekend against the Wests Tigers.
The Knights have included Sione Mata’utia after missing the Tigers clash due to concussion, with Jaelen Feeney dropping out of the 17.
Brisbane have named an unchanged line-up for the third consecutive week.
KEY MATCH STATS:
* Brisbane have scored more than 20 points in each of their past five games while Newcastle are averaging just 15.3 points per game this year
* Bennett’s win record of 25 per cent against Nathan Brown is his lowest against any coach he has faced at least 10 times
* In his past four games against Newcastle, Brisbane halfback Ben Hunt has had seven try assists