Patched up Broncos ready for Warriors - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Patched up Broncos ready for Warriors

By Wayne Heming 08/08/2008 06:59:56 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane's disrupted preparations have continued, with utility defender David Stagg given leave to miss Saturday's key NRL showdown with the Warriors in Auckland.

Stagg's wife Temika is about to give birth to their first child and the club decided that was a priority, sending former Warrior PJ Marsh across the Tasman as Brisbane's 18th man.

Kiwi international Greg Eastwood will start at lock for injured veteran Tonie Carroll while lanky Ashton Sims moves into the second row of a reshuffled pack.

The loss of Stagg's defensive workload and his ability to play in the forwards and backs is a blow coming on top of the suspension of centre Justin Hodges and the axing of representative forward Sam Thaiday for missing a training session on Wednesday.

Having upset Melbourne 8-6 only recently, the Warriors will fancy their chances of knocking over Brisbane given the Broncos' week of upheaval.

The Warriors are the masters of second phase play and Brisbane have to limit the amount of off-loads the Warriors get away in heavy traffic.

"It's a part of their game they really punish sides with and we have to defend them and wrap the ball up as often as possible," said Broncos assistant coach Ivan Henjak.

"They're a very big, fast and physical side and they like to get the ball away in tackles which can put you under a lot of pressure."

Under-rated Joel Moon steps back into the centres for Hodges and Henjak said he was confident he could handle the occasion.

"Joel did a really good job when he was there before (when Hodges was last suspended) and he was probably a little unlucky to lose his spot," said Henjak.

"We're pretty confident .... he's not Hodgo but we're confident he can get the job done for us there."

Henjak wasn't expecting big things from Mt Isa's Derrick Watkins or Auckland-born Isaak Ah Mau who would come off the bench.

"I watched Derrick play last week and I was really impressed with him," said Henjak.

"He tackled really well and he hit some really good lines.

"We're not expecting him or Issak to do anything brilliant, just do their job and hold the fort until the other fellas get back out there."

Warriors coach Ivan Cleary reacted to a disappointing loss to South Sydney with several changes to his line-up, including the first appearance for fullback Wayde McKinnon following pre-season knee surgery.

Brisbane skipper Darren Lockyer, who took half the season to get back from knee surgery, said it would expecting a lot of McKinnon to hit form straight away.

"He'll have nerves, most players have nerves every week," said Lockyer.

"When you haven't played for six months, you probably have the nerves a little bit more.

"For Wade, it's about getting out there and playing well and hoping the knee holds up okay."

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