The Broncos will look to bounce back against the Sharks on Friday. Colin Whelan/abc.net.au
Broncos v Sharks
Friday June 27 – 7:45 PM (AEST)
It’s time to look to the future. With Queensland’s dynasty coming to an end last week, Origin coach Mal Meninga is set to look at what the youth of today has to offer. As the Broncos organisation is a key hub for developing Queensland talent, expect the baby Broncos to step up another level. It’s bad news for the Cronulla Sharks , who are having their worst season on record, and that’s including the years under Ricky Stuart.
Brisbane’s centre Justin Hodges has called for Queensland selectors to have a look at the youth in Brisbane, especially young gun Dale Copley. We all know that Ben Hunt and Ben Barba will be wearing a Maroon jersey soon, but Copley has been a revelation for the Broncos. Debuting way back in 2009, Copley is finally becoming a fixture in the Broncos side, and Hodges has been impressed with the young winger. Hodges returns from Origin duty to captain the side in the absence of Corey Parker, with Copley shifting back to the wing. Matt Gillett has been ruled out with a shoulder injury, with Corey Oates moving into the starting side and Jarrod Wallace on the bench.
Not much can be said for the Sharks. Injuries are one thing, but the lack of discipline and urgency they showed last Saturday against the Sea Eagles, made a mockery of the historical club. Paul Gallen was due to have a break after leading the Blues to their first State of Origin series win in 8 years, but instead he chose to line-up for the Sharkies, to help his teammates out. But he can’t do it on his own and he would be hugely disappointed with the performance of the rest of the team. Coach Peter Sharp has made some important changes, with Jeff Robson returning to halfback and Blake Ayshford dropping back to NSW Cup. Jonathan Wright replaces Aysford in the centres, with Michael Gordon shifting back to fullback.
The dark times can’t last forever for the Sharks. They have the players to turn their season around, but it would be more for pride than a spot in the finals. To avoid the wooden spoon, they need to start against the Broncos, but the boys from Brisbane are ready to demolish the boys from the shire.