Broncos name Folau to return - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Broncos name Folau to return

25/08/2009 07:15:49 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane century-maker Sam Thaiday fears the loss of dynamic fullback Matt Bowen will bring the best out of North Queensland playmaker Johnathan Thurston in Friday night's NRL crunch clash.

North Queensland-born Thaiday - who may have played for the Cowboys had they shown more interest - is excited about playing his 100th NRL game in front of his family at Dairy Farmers Stadium.

He was quick to shoot down theories the absence of glamour No.1 Bowen, in danger of missing the rest of the season and most of 2010 with his second career-threatening knee injury, would make the Broncos' task easier by allowing them to zero in on an overloaded Thurston.

"It makes it harder actually," warned Thaiday, one of Thurston's Queensland Origin teammates.

"When Thursto has that (extra) pressure on him he actually stands up and performs even better."

Thaiday credited Brisbane's goal line defence for turning things around after a worrying losing streak which them lose all but one of eight games.

"It's been a big focus, especially with the forwards who've wanted to dominate in defence," said Thaiday.

"We lost a lot of respect when we were losing all those games.

"We won back a little bit of respect playing the Dragons down there and beating them.

"It help the younger guys by giving them a lot more confidence and a belief in themselves."

While the Cowboys were left gutted by Bowen's bad news, the Broncos were on a high naming giant youngster Israel Folau to make his comeback from a six-week lay-off with a fractured ankle.

A final decision on Folau however will be left until Thursday's final training session even though he ran strongly enough to suggest he's better than 50-50.

Just the sight of his 105kg frame motoring down the touchline sent a buzz around the Broncos Red Hill training complex.

Teammates clapped the shy 20-year-old onto the field when he joined them after his individual workout supervised by the club's medical staff.

"He's been hiding inside (gym) for weeks, we've barely seen him out here," said skipper Darren Lockyer.

"He doesn't say a hell of a lot and I think the boys just tried to embarrass him a bit when he came out.

"He's still got a little bit of work to do this week to get to Townsville but he's close."

After a testing few months during which the players and the club have copped some harsh criticism, Thaiday said the "fun" was finally back at Red Hill after a hat-trick of wins against the Sharks, Penrith and table-topping Dragons.

"It's a good place to be around at the moment," he said.

"Four weeks ago a lot of people were walking around down in the dumps.

Thaiday will have his own supporters club at Dairy Farmers Stadium on Friday with his mum and dad and two younger brothers travelling to Townsville.

While he had no regrets about joining the Broncos he admitted he could easily be playing for the Cowboys.

"I would have loved to have stayed in Townsville and played for the Cowboys, but that's the way things work out sometimes," he said.

"I'm really happy living in Brisbane and to be playing my 100th game.

"Hopefully I can play 100 more."

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