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2019 SEASON PREVIEW | Brisbane Broncos

As the National Rugby League season draws closer, we look at how the Brisbane Broncos will go in 2019.

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The Broncos’ Bennett dynasty is over and it will be up to Anthony Seibold to lead his pack back deep into September – a return to the big dance is the goal.
The off-season has not been good for them, with a player ranked in their top 30 best talents being jailed for assault, the young Payne Haas suspended for the first four rounds and the whole Bennett-Seibold coaching dilemma.
Once the first round is here this group will have to come together and get on with business. A challenge I think they are more then ready to take on.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Signings

Thomas Dearden (2019), Shaun Fensom (North Queensland Cowboys, 2019), Thomas Flegler (2019), Sean O’Sullivan (Sydney Roosters, 2020), Ilikena Vudogo (2020)

Departures

Jordan Kahu (North Queensland Cowboys), Josh McGuire (North Queensland Cowboys), Tom Opacic (North Queensland Cowboys), Jonus Pearson (St George Illawarra Dragons), Marion Seve (Melbourne Storm), Korbin Sims (St George Illawarra Dragons), Sam Thaiday (retired)

First Five

Storm (A), Cowboys (H), Dragons (H), Roosters (A), Tigers (H)

WHAT TO EXPECT

After a highly frustrating 2018, Seibold has a lot of work to do in getting his pack back to being true heavyweights, but I feel he can do it. No more repeats of last year where we saw the Red V travel to their home ground (Suncorp Stadium) and spank them 48-18 in a pure Dragons masterclass.

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Brisbane posses one of the competition’s best young forward packs, featuring the damaging likes of Tevita Pangai Jnr, Matt Lodge, Joe Ofahengaue, Jaydn Su’A and Payne Haas. Add to this the young and electric David Fifita and the case becomes even stronger. With the departure of McGuire (one of the best pack leaders they’ve had), they make up for it with this young herd of players ready to lead from the front.

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They need to sort out the plagued halves issues. Since the great Locky retired, they have had massive dramas with getting this fit right. I am going to say it and many agree with me: Anthony Milford and Kodi Nikorima are not the answer. Remember the name Tom Dearden, he’s 17 but a natural ball runner in the ilk of JT and Langer. Lining up for the squad during the trial against Souths Logan in Warwick, the youngster scored two tries on debut and showed what was to come, in what I see as his breakout year. A tiny frame and baby-faced but can bench press 120kg already and shows more leadership qualities or ability than Milford or Nikorima ever have. His high school coach Aaron Zimmerle – who formerly called the shots with Tweed Heads in the Intrust Super Cup – rates Dearden the best playmaking talent he has seen in 20 years (a testament echoed by many NRL greats already).

Matt Gillett returns from a serious neck injury and so does Jack Bird – let’s see if Bird still has those wings that brought him to Red Hill.

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FEARLESS PREDICTIONS

Top Tryscorer – James Roberts: cannot go past Jimmy the Jet. Blistering speed and knows how to find the tryline, whether through assists or just going himself.

Top Pointscorer – Jamayne Isaako is a lock here! Having missed the accolade for the entire league in 2018 by only nine points, the Ice Man will be ready to show once again what earned him his cult status and nickname; he’s one of the best performers under pressure.

Club Player of the Year – Matt Gillett to earn this after a massive season injury-free and leading the pack around.

WHERE WILL THE BRISBANE BRONCOS FINISH?

The Broncos will finish in the top four if their pack’s talents are utilised to their potential and Seibold can do what Bennett was able to do in the earlier part of his reign at Red Hill.

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