Broncos brace for Cowboys in NRL rematch

Wayne Bennett admits Brisbane won’t win if Friday night’s NRL grand final rematch against premiers North Queensland becomes a shootout.

The Broncos coach concentrated on defensive drills on match eve at their Red Hill training base as they braced themselves for the Johnathan Thurston-led Cowboys to fire at a packed Suncorp Stadium.

“If it gets to a shootout about who can score the most points they will do that because they have players with great flair and they love that type of game,” Bennett said.

“Defensively we have to be good, make sure the scoreboard is in check to give ourselves a chance.”

Bennett rammed home the importance of defence after a second-half fadeout led to their shock one-point loss in Penrith last round.

“It was more mental than anything else,” he said.

“You don’t defend the way we defend and then all of a sudden it goes out the back door.

“You don’t lose it in a week – what you lose is an attitude.

“It will happen to every team at some stage. You just don’t want it to happen to you but it did. We have to live with it.”

Bennett was not concerned winger Lachlan Maranta would be a weak link in his first game back from wrist surgery.

In a reshuffled backline, Jordan Kahu moves to centre for Jack Reed (eye), while Maranta fills the wing vacancy.

Bennett tried to steer away from talk of a grand final grudge before the rematch but admitted talk of a sold-out Suncorp Stadium indicated it wouldn’t be “just another game”.

“It’s a great rivalry between the two clubs,” he said.

“Everyone should be excited (about Friday night) – there couldn’t be a better place to be.”

The Cowboys have not won at Suncorp Stadium since 2012.

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