Petero in fine form: Broncos coach
BRISBANE, July 14 AAP – As the battle heats up between young prop Josh McGuire and the more seasoned Ben Hannant, Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin says “old bus” Petero Civoniceva is warming up nicely for the NRL finals.
McGuire made the most of his starting promotion ahead of Hannant on Friday night, while Civoniceva ground out the metres against the hard-hitting Warriors as the Broncos toughed out a tense 10-8 win at a soggy Suncorp Stadium.
The dour battle was won up front where McGuire, Civoniceva, Andrew McCullough, Sam Thaiday and Corey Parker – who continued his outstanding season with 55 tackles – were immense.
While McGuire delivered with 44 tackles and 111 metres, Hannant came up with 42 tackles and 105 metres off the bench in a performance that clearly had a message attached.
“I thought all our forwards were terrific, particularly McGuire, Hannant, Civoniceva, Parker, all our tight forwards,” Griffin said.
“McGuire was great and Hannant did the job you’d expect him to do coming off the bench.
“Petero got a lot of metres for us.
“He’s warming up like an old bus.
“Hopefully he keeps that going. He can see the finish line for himself.
“He is (in) his best form now – his last Origin game, against South and again tonight, and that’s what we need from him every week.”
Parker, who kicked three goals, said the two-point victory was up with the club’s best wins of the season.
“Against the team we were up against in those conditions, the will and the faith we showed to hang in for each other is what we need to move forward,” said Parker, who had a wonderful State of Origin series culminating in being named players’ player in the decider earlier this month.
“Like any game it’s won or lost in the middle and it all starts with the forwards.
“We spoke about it as a group and I thought our defence took a big step forward tonight.
“What’s important now is we do it for another eight, nine or 10 weeks or how ever long we go.” The highlight of the clash was young fullback Josh Hoffman’s classic cover tackle of try-bound giant Manu Vatuvei with just seconds left in the game.
“It was a bit scary towards the end. It was a bit nerve wracking. I was a bit scared facing Manu. I was in all sorts,” Hoffman said.
“I just had to take his legs out, the big fella. I could see him tiring out. I thought he was cramping up a bit.
“I just had to go in and tackle him. It would have been a bit embarrassing if he had bumped me off.”
The only sour note for Brisbane was a possible broken leg suffered by young winger Dale Copley in the first half.
If scans confirm the worst he will join centre and English international Jack Reed on the sidelines until the finals.
14 Jul 5:04 PM