Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett believes last week’s shock NRL loss to Manly was merely a blip and not a genuine chink in their armour.
The ladder-leading Broncos face Canterbury on Friday night at Suncorp Stadium, still smarting from their huge 44-14 loss to the Sea Eagles on Saturday night that has put their top-two hopes in jeopardy.
Few in rugby league circles saw that result coming but Bennett said it didn’t come as a surprise to him or the players.
“I don’t think they were shocked,” Bennett said.
“They probably saw it coming themselves, individually.
“We’ve not been doing things as well as we should have been for a period of two or three weeks leading into that game.
“It was a timely reminder for them all to pick their act up and do the things we do well here.”
Bennett said the Broncos had since “addressed” their issues but won’t know for sure if they’ve been fixed until they face the Bulldogs.
Brisbane beat Canterbury 16-8 in their last meeting only four weeks ago in Sydney but Bennett admitted his side is no longer playing with the same consistency they once were.
Perhaps moved by Manly’s ability to almost blow the Broncos off the ball at will last week, Bennett has called on some emergency extra muscle in the form of winger Corey Oates, who is set to start in place of Lachlan Maranta.
Oates, who is nominally a back-rower, is about 18kg heavier than Maranta and provides Brisbane with some much-needed steel against the might of Canterbury’s notoriously large pack.
Bennett admitted the Broncos will find it tough to match the Bulldogs with Josh McGuire (Achilles), Adam Blair and Francis Molo (suspended) all sidelined.
“We’ve got four major hit-up forwards missing and that’s their strength,” he said.
“But I’m confident enough if we can do that provided we play well.”
Broncos pair Alex Glenn (sickness) and Ben Hunt (leg) have both been cleared to play, despite both having been in doubt earlier in the week.