If Brisbane can overcome their long-standing nemesis, Melbourne Storm, this Thursday night, it will serve as both an advantage and a potential setback. The incentive lies in their ability to secure the NRL minor premiership for the first time in over two decades. However, the hurdle presents itself with the likelihood that they would face the Storm, their relentless arch-rival, once more in the opening week of the finals at Suncorp Stadium.
Brisbane are set to suffer a triple withdrawal with Kotoni Staggs preparing to join Adam Reynolds (calf) and Pat Carrigan (foot) on the sidelines, posing an escalated hurdle against the side they have been consistently unable to outplay.
The Broncos have been unsuccessful in overpowering the Storm at their home ground for 14 years, a drought of 5277 days. Over the course of the last 25 head-on collisions between the two teams, Brisbane have emerged victorious only twice, including a consecutive losing streak of 13 games.
Therefore, even if Brisbane can overcome the odds this Thursday, defeating the Storm again in the following week’s first versus fourth playoff will pose a substantial challenge.
On Fox League, Corey Parker noted, “The Broncos last defeated Melbourne at Suncorp in 2009, so it’s been quite a while.”
He went on to note that the Broncos‘ current style of play differs from previous years, and the Storm‘s strong strategies have always been effective against Brisbane.
“The Broncos have an amazing watchable style of gameplay, but against rock-solid teams like Penrith and Melbourne, you need a consistent and controlled approach,” Parker added.
Broncos coach Kevin Walters, a former assistant coach at the Storm, stated he would welcome the challenge of facing the team twice. He said, “They have been the standard for years. You want to play against the top-notch teams.”
Reynolds expressed optimism on Triple M’s Sunday broadcast that he and Carrigan would be fit for the first final, but those selections aren’t straightforward. If he accepts a one-match suspension for elbowing Jordan Rapana, Staggs could return for the final.
Despite a hard-fought 29-18 win over the Raiders, the Broncos revealed periods of discord. Fox League’s former Test fullback Greg Alexander inferred that their first final against the Storm could pose a massive challenge if Carrigan and Reynolds miss their fitness deadlines.
“Patrick Carrigan is one of the finest forwards in the game and Jock Madden, while he played exceptionally well again, lacks the finals experience of Adam Reynolds. If these two aren’t fit for the initial week of the finals, it inevitably alters the competition’s dynamics. While it doesn’t eliminate Brisbane’s chance of winning, it certainly changes the scenario”, concluded Alexander.