Last season placing: Grand Finalists
They went within a minute of winning the NRL Premiership in 2015. That hunger for revenge will drive the Broncos to go one step further in 2016.
Wayne Bennett had a near-perfect pre-season campaign with the addition of try scoring wizard James Roberts to the club. He toyed with the media for months on end before confirming the worse kept secret that Corey Parker would take over the captaincy from retired Justin Hodges.
Ben Hunt’s Grand Final blunder was followed up with breaking curfew during the Origin Emerging camp earlier this year. If anyone can get him back on track and performing at his peak, it’s the great mentor Bennett.
The Broncos only serious hit-out was in the World Club Challenge where they annihilated premier Super League club Wigan. Greg Eden set to get his chance to debut for the club after making the move from England last year, patiently waiting his time playing Intrust Super Cup.
James Roberts: the Titans poor management with ‘forge-gate’ presented one of the most exciting talents in the game with a move to Red Hill. Scoring sixteen tries in twenty-four game last year with a struggling club was exceptional. The one asset missing from completing Roberts as a player is his defence. This is something I am sure the Broncos will work on fixing as they develop this talent into the complete superstar.
Kodi Nikorima: the injection of Kodi Nikorima off the bench last year yielded instant success for the Broncos week in, week out. This year with the limited interchange it will be interesting to see if Nikorima’s role changes slightly and he gets more game time, compared to playing in the final quarter of each game. If his game in the World Club Challenge is anything to go by, Nikorima could have an even bigger year than his impressive first-up season.
Darius Boyd: so much of the media talk in Brisbane has been around Darius Boyd’s maturity as a person. With his wife giving birth to their first child just months ago, Boyd’s problems of the past seem to be a thing of the past. Given this, Boyd could be in for a big season with the Broncos. Look for a focused, determined Boyd to press for Origin selection at full-back with Billy Slater coming into 2016 under an injury cloud.
Likely Round 1 line-up
Darius Boyd, Corey Oates, Jordan Kahu, James Roberts, Greg Eden, Anthony Milford, Ben Hunt, Josh McGuire, Andrew McCullough, Sam Thaiday, Alex Glenn, Matthew Gillett, Corey Parker. Bench: Kodi Nikorima, Adam Blair, Joe Ofahengaue, Jarrod Wallace.
Story of 2016:
James Roberts the next Pearl: comparisons are already being made between James Roberts and Broncos great Steve Renouf. Roberts, 22, has crossed for 32 tries in 52 games. Renouf scored 142 tries in 183 matches for the Broncos. In 2016, the comparisons will be confirmed as Roberts chases down the record 23 season tries which Renouf (1994) and Darren Smith (1998) jointly hold.
Ladder: Make top 8
Predicted Top Tryscorer: James Roberts
Predicted Top Pointscorer: Corey Parker
Predicted Player of the Year: Corey Parker