Beware the wounded Tiger.
That’s the message Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett is delivering to his players ahead of Sunday’s NRL clash with Wests Tigers.
The table-topping Broncos head into a rare Sunday afternoon game at Suncorp Stadium as runaway favourites to overwhelm the Tigers.
But Bennett is having none of it.
“They’re always harder games to play than when you’re playing teams on the top of the table,” Bennett said.
“When teams like the Tigers are a little bit indifferent in their form, you just never know what you’re going to get and you never know what your guys have got going through their head as well.
“It’s always a bigger challenge.”
Brisbane’s cause will be boosted by the return of their State of Origin stars, including captain Justin Hodges and man of the series Corey Parker.
The Tigers have lost three straight and head north knowing their record against the Broncos is the merged club’s worst against any opponents.
The Broncos have claimed victory in 18 of their 23 clashes with the Tigers, including five straight wins since 2011.
But with young halfback Luke Brooks coming back into their lineup, the visitors are hopeful of snaring an upset in the Brisbane sunshine.
“He’s a big part of our team and we missed his kicking and setting up play, so it’s a big boost for us having him back,” Tigers’ fullback James Tedesco said of Brooks’ return.
“Also having (Aaron Woods) Woodsy and (Tim) Simona back is a big boost for us.
“We usually stand up against the big teams and we’re going in confident.
“If we can just play like we did against Souths and step up against those big teams, we’ll go well.”
BRONCOS v TIGERS – Key match stats
* Brisbane are searching for seven straight wins for the first time since 2011 when they won eight in a row from round 21 through to the second week of the finals.
* Broncos captain Justin Hodges is two tries from 100 in his career and has seven in 11 games against the Tigers.
* The Tigers have failed to score more than 18 points in their past eight matches against the Broncos since 2008.
(Source: Fox Sports Stats)