Pick Me Wayne

Brisbane Broncos Players
Broncos players are looking to impress the returning Wayne Bennett. Photo: Colin Whelan/abc.net.au

Brisbane Broncos NRL Logo

Broncos v Storm

Suncorp Stadium

Friday July 25 – 7:45 PM (AEST)




Melbourne Storm Logo


Everyone in Brisbane will all be saying the same thing in November; “Welcome Home Benny!” The super coach returns to where it all started, the Brisbane Broncos. Wayne Bennett was the inaugural coach of the Broncos back in 1988, and after six years away, he returns to rekindle the glory days. But they still have 2014 to finish, and the players will do everything they can to send current coach Anthony Griffin out on a high. To do that, a win against the Melbourne Storm on Friday night is a must.

Some might see it as the Broncos going backwards with the signing of Wayne Bennett. But he is by far the best coach in the game today, and how can that be a bad thing. He may not have had the success at the Newcastle Knights he's previously enjoyed with both the Broncos and the Dragons, but given they were one game off the Grand Final last year, he wasn’t far off. But there may be a headache coming next year, with the possibility of four premier fullbacks in the starting side, especially if Darius Boyd again follows Benny. Of course, the young man has some personal issues to overcome (having checked into mental hospital) before he can even think about his football future. Many Brisbane players now would be playing for their futures, and no more than crest-fallen superstar Ben Barba. He has been well below par this year, but there might be light at the end of the tunnel. He again switches with Josh Hoffman from fullback to five-eighth, while Matt Gillett returns to the second row. Ben Hannant drops to an extended bench which includes Jack Reed, Corey Oates and Daniel Vidot.

Normally competition front-runner at this time of the year, Storm just haven't been convincing in 2014. With the amount of stardom they have in their line-up, Melbourne should be in the Top 4 or at least very comfortable in Top 8. But they are at the bottom of a very congested Top 8, and one loss could see them fall as far as 11th. They lack direction at times, and their usual clinical backline movements seem to be missing that final punch. Maybe they are missing Gareth Widdop more than they thought. Ben Roberts just is not a half in my eyes. I think he runs good lines and is quick off the mark, but his playmaking skills just aren’t up to par. Maybe in the centres is the place for him. Ryan Hinchcliffe returns to lock, with Jordan McLean dropping back to the bench. Kenny Bromwich, Dayne Weston and Young Tonumaipea make up an extended bench, with Junior Moors dropping out of the side.

Every time these two face off it is an epic battle. Think back to the 2008 semi-finals, which Melbourne won in the final seconds; or the 2006 Grand Final where the Broncos ended up raising the trophy. Friday night will be no different, with the Broncos going back-to-back at home.

Channel 9

Toby's Tip: Broncos 1-12

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