Brisbane have played down the early departure of key back-rower Alex Glenn from training ahead of Saturday night’s NRL qualifying final against North Queensland.
Back from a one-match ban, Glenn was notable by his absence when he failed to complete Tuesday’s session in Brisbane.
The Broncos said they were “resting” the Kiwi hardman ahead of his return from suspension against the Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium.
He will provide welcome defensive cover for rookie pivot Anthony Milford.
Five-eighth Milford is expected to receive more rough treatment in the finals after being manhandled in last round’s 15-8 loss to Melbourne in Glenn’s absence.
But veteran forward Corey Parker said Glenn would play against the Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium.
“We are just keeping him in cotton wool,” Parker said.
He said they would borrow Melbourne’s game plan to target kickers when they line up against the Johnathan Thurston-led Cowboys.
Despite Thurston’s constant call for more protection for playmakers this year, Parker admitted the Cowboys No.7 would be firmly in their sights.
“That could be the difference to where you start and finish your set, depending on how much pressure you put on the kicks,” Parker said.
“A good example was last week. (Melbourne) pressured our kickers pretty well and handed over some cheap ball in kick returns – that worked out in Melbourne’s favour.”
Meanwhile, Parker believed North Queensland would face a very different Brisbane to the one they bounced out of the 2014 finals race.
The Cowboys eliminated Brisbane from last year’s finals in the first round thanks to a 32-20 win in Townsville.
“Last year we fell over the line into the finals, went up there and got what we deserved and got knocked out straight away,” Parker said.
“This is a very different team to the one that last played the Cowboys.”
In contrast to last year’s erratic Broncos, Brisbane this year finished second on the NRL ladder with a 17-7 record – the same tally as third placed North Queensland.