Broncos bracing for another brutal Raiders clash

Joel Gould |

Brisbane rake Billy Walters is engulfed by Canberra forwards in last year’s Suncorp Stadium clash.
Brisbane rake Billy Walters is engulfed by Canberra forwards in last year’s Suncorp Stadium clash.

Brisbane are bracing for a bruising, bash-up in the forwards from Canberra but Broncos prop Corey Jensen says they are ready to return fire.

The Raiders ambushed the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium last year in a brutal 20-14 NRL win to the visitors on the back of a rampaging pack that edged out their more fancied opponents.

The two sides clash again on Saturday night at the same venue.

Last year there was carnage on both sides but Brisbane lost former prop Thomas Flegler to concussion during the match after an accidental elbow to the head. Ex-Broncos second-rower Kurt Capewell also got crunched, but returned from an HIA.

Both packs are not at full strength this year. The most notable omission for the Raiders is last year’s man of the match, firebrand Corey Horsburgh (groin). The Broncos are without representative prop Payne Haas (knee).

No matter the personnel, when prop Jensen was reminded of last year’s script he said he was expecting “exactly that”.

“They are a side that plays the long game and don’t mind getting into a grind,” Jensen said.

“(Raiders coach)  Ricky Stuart, that’s his game plan. That’s how they have been playing this year too. They love getting down and dirty with teams and that is something we are going have to be ready for. We are ready.

“They have got representative forwards through their squad led really well by (props) Josh Papalii and Joe Tapine.”

Jensen said the Broncos pack, led brilliantly last week in the win over the Dolphins by lock Pat Carrigan and tyro Xavier Willison, were ready to roll up their sleeves and return serve to the Raiders.

“It’s a game that suits us too. We have a fit forward pack and a fit team all round,” he said.

“I feel the longer that game goes the better we get so we just have to match it with them early and then we have to play the long game.”

The Broncos found the blueprint of how they want to play in a 26-0 semi-final shutout of Melbourne last year in what was one of the club’s most aggressive and effective forward displays.

“This year is a new team but that is definitely something we want to get back to. We are striving to do that each week,” Jensen said.

“There are areas we need to improve on. We were nowhere near our best (against the Dolphins)  but we know we can back our defence. I thought it was strong for most parts of that game.”

The Broncos received a boost when winger Deine Mariner trained with the team on Monday. He is rated some chance of returning from a transverse process fracture in his back sustained in the round-five loss to Melbourne.

“I didn’t even know he was going to be running with us today but he is looking lively,” Jensen said.

“It would be lovely to have him back in the side.”

The Raiders are third on the NRL ladder with the Broncos in 10th.

AAP