2020 Brisbane Broncos Team Preview

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As the National Rugby League season draws closer, we look at how the Brisbane Broncos will go in 2020.

After an embarrassing ending to the 2019 season, Brisbane will be aiming for their seventh straight finals appearance. Led by a young forward pack, the Broncos will have plenty to be excited about for the upcoming season.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Signings

Jesse Arthars (Gold Coast Titans), Jordan Kahu (North Queensland Cowboys), Brodie Croft (Melbourne Storm).

Departures

Troy Dargan (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Shaun Fensom, Sam Tagataese, Matt Gillett (retired), Gehamat Shibasaki (Newcastle Knights), George Fai, Patrick Mago, James Segeyaro (all released).

SQUAD 

TOP 30 SQUAD: Jesse Arthars, Jack Bird, Darius Boyd, Patrick Carrigan, Brodie Croft, Xavier Coates, Thomas Dearden, Herbie Farnworth, David Fifita, Thomas Flegler, Alex Glenn, Payne Haas, Jamil Hopoate, Jamayne Isaako, Jordan Kahu, Richie Kennar, Rhys Kennedy, Matthew Lodge, Andrew McCullough, Anthony Milford, Corey Oates, Joe Ofahengaue, Sean O’Sullivan, Cory Paix, Keenan Palasia, Tevita Pangai Jr, Izaia Perese, Kotoni Staggs, Jake Turpin, Ilikena Vudogo.

SPOTS AVAILABLE: None.

DEVELOPMENT SQUAD: Ethan Bullemore, Tyson Gamble, Kobe Hetherington, Jordan Leigh, Fanitesi Niu, Pride Petterson.

First Five

Cowboys (A), Rabbitohs (H), Titans (A), Panthers (A), Cowboys (H).

WHAT TO EXPECT

The Broncos enter the 2020 season with essentially the same forward pack as last year, despite the loss of Matthew Lodge last week. The young pack should do enough for them to make another finals appearance, as the performances of their youngest players are expected to improve. But the biggest unknown for the Broncos will be how their new-look spine can play together. There will be a new fullback in either Jamayne Isaako or Jack Bird, a new halfback in Brodie Croft, and Jake Turpin will take over at hooker. It’ll be an interesting first month or so for the Broncos to see how these players will combine with each other. There’s going to be plenty of learning experiences for these players as they find their feet in their new positions alongside each other. If they jell well, they could be pushing for a top six spot, but if not, they could holding onto dear life for that eighth position.

The 2019 season was all about Payne Haas, but this’ll be David Fifita’s season. The 20-year-old back rower was excellent in glimpses last year, but as he starts to become more experienced and grow into his body, he could become one of the best back rowers in the game. He is already one of the most destructive runners of the football, averaging 6.4 tackle breaks per game in matches that he started. The Queensland Origin representative was damaging in the Rugby League World Nines at the end of last season and showed the sort of destruction he can cause when he is one-on-one with a smaller defender. Consistency will be the key for Fifita as he aims to build on his performances from last season.

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The rotating turnstile at halfback last season will hopefully not repeat itself with new signing Croft in the number seven. He has made the move north from Melbourne after falling out of favour with coach Craig Bellamy, and the Queenslander will be prepared to make an immediate impact to this Broncos outfit.

The 22-year-old made 40 appearances for Melbourne, making his debut back in 2016 as an 18-year-old. He will aim to fill the void left by Ben Hunt’s departure at the end of the 2017 season and direct the team around the park, allowing Anthony Milford to play second receiver and exploit the opposition’s edge defence with his running game. If this works out as they’re hoping, it should make the Broncos a less predictable team.

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The Broncos have a relatively easier start to the draw than some of their opponents as they avoid the Raiders, Roosters and Storm in the first half of the season. They face the Titans, Bulldogs and the Dragons all within the first 11 weeks, which they should win comfortably. After this they face a tough run against the Roosters (R14 – A), Storm (R15 – H) and the Raiders (R17 – A). This is followed by decent run of six matches, with only one game against a top eight side from last season (Parramatta). However, they’ll want to have wrapped up a finals spot prior to the last two rounds, which sees them take on the Storm in Melbourne and the Roosters at Suncorp.

FEARLESS PREDICTIONS

Top Tryscorer – Kotoni Staggs.

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Top Pointscorer – Jamayne Isaako.

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Club Player of the Year – Payne Haas.

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WHERE WILL THE BRISBANE BRONCOS FINISH?

The Broncos definitely have the forward pack to match it with the league’s best this season, but this won’t be enough to improve on their qualifying final exit last year. Their forward pack could again sneak them into the top eight, but it’s their new look spine that could determine their season. If they can jell together, they can realistically finish between fifth and seventh, and if they get off to a good start a top four finish isn’t out of reach.

 

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