Young Broncos forwards need to lift again - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Young Broncos forwards need to lift again

Wayne Heming 22/03/2011 05:12:23 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin has challenged his improving young forwards to go to the next level on Friday night against a Gold Coast side fuelled by embarrassment.

The task got a little easier on Tuesday for Brisbane with Griffin confirming the return from injury of big guns Ben Hannant and Justin Hodges for the NRL local derby.

The pressure, however, remains on the young forwards to back up their massive effort against a monster Canberra pack last weekend, against a Titans side desperately seeking redemption following a 40-12 flogging from Melbourne.

Young prop Josh McGuire turned in a man-of-the-match performance off the bench against the Raiders, while last year's NRL rookie of the year Matt Gillett got back into the try-scoring groove in the 20-4 upset.

Griffin, though, has personally challenged his young forwards to step it up another notch at Skilled Park by repeating a stirring defensive effort, rated by former halfback great Allan Langer, as the club's best in recent years.

McGuire answered the call against Canberra's much-vaunted pack after starting front-rower Scott Anderson tore his calf during the pre-game warm-up.

He slogged out a bruising clash against heavyweight rivals Dave Shillington, Tom Learoyd Lahrs and Dane Tilse for 50 minutes, carting the ball up 17 times for 113 tough metres.

He also made two tackle breaks and 31 tackles in a display that caught the eye.

It was the dominant performance Griffin had been waiting for from the kid who was nicknamed "The Big Show" when part of his 2008 Broncos Colts side that made it to the grand final.

"It's about time he started doing that," Griffin told AAP, aware of the challenge confronting his players against a team stewing over the worst loss in the club's brief history.

"If he wants to be an NRL forward, and we need him to be that because he's on our list for the future, it's about time him and guys like Matt Gillett and Alex Glenn went to the next level.

"I thought they did that last week but the challenge for them now is to do it for four, five, six weeks in a row."

Griffin may me in his rookie NRL year but he knows enough about footballers to be worried about the Titans coming off such a big loss.

"I know the way I'd be feeling if I were in their shoes," he said.

"They'll come out all guns blazing and we need to be ready for that."

Hodges' return following almost 550 days on the sidelines recovering from a ruptured achilles and a recent hamstring injury, has created a buzz at Red Hill. Griffin surprisingly hinted his star centre could return with a bang despite a long absence from the game.

"Absolutely, in the trials he showed some signs," said Griffin.

"Everyone has to be ready. We wouldn't stick him out there if we didn't think he was ready, particularly on Friday night.

"Like all the guys, we'll need the best out of him against the Titans who will be up for the game."

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