Cavalry coming for Broncos, but Raiders first: Walters

Joel Gould |

Brisbane coach Kevin Walters says prop Payne Haas is on track to return from injury next week.
Brisbane coach Kevin Walters says prop Payne Haas is on track to return from injury next week.

Kevin Walters says a quartet of injured stars should be back next week for Brisbane, but first the side must negotiate an in-form and dangerous Canberra outfit.

Walters, who won the first of his six NRL premierships as a Raider in 1989, said prop Payne Haas (knee), winger Deine Mariner (back), captain Adam Reynolds (hamstring) and second-rower Brendan Piakura (ankle) were all tracking to be fit for the round-eight clash with Wests Tigers.

“(Haas) will be right for next week,” Walters said ahead of Saturday night’s home clash with the Raiders.

“Adam is running well, which excites me, and he will be right for next week. 

“Jock (Madden) is in there again at half and he has been working hard on his game to get it right for us, so I’m looking forward to seeing how that develops tomorrow.

“Brendan looks like he will be good and Deine, so that’s next week, but we have to get through this week first. We need a strong performance at home in front of our fans.”

In the 1990s the Raiders and Broncos had classic confrontations on their way to winning six titles between the two clubs.

Last year the Raiders beat the Broncos 20-14 at Suncorp  Stadium in a brutal encounter.

“They are well coached, have some really good players in their group and have had a good start to the season, but we’re up for the challenge,” Walters said.

“I remember back to the 1990s some of the great games between the Raiders and Broncos, and this one will be no different. It will be a great contest and one we are looking forward to, particularly with our forwards. 

“Canberra have a tough side and are very gritty, so it will be a good experience for our fellas.”

The Broncos have missed the work-rate and impact of Haas, but Walters has been delighted with the progress of tyro prop Xavier Willison. 

Fellow props Corey Jensen and Fletcher Baker will need to fire against the Raiders pack and support lock and stand-in captain Pat Carrigan.

“Patty has been leading the pack, but he has been well supported by the other guys and this game is another great opportunity for those guys to excel at home,” Walters said.

“And just be very disciplined and doing the little things in the game like running hard and making your tackles and being effective.”