Broncos have to take it up a few notches - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Broncos have to take it up a few notches

Wayne Heming and Melissa Woods 18/07/2011 05:38:03 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin says facing in-form Melbourne at AAMI Park on Friday will give him the chance to see just how good his young side really are.

The Storm, who were stripped of two premierships and three minor premierships last year following serial breaches of the salary cap, lead the NRL ladder after 19 rounds, having won their past seven matches.

Despite losing the likes of star centre Greg Inglis, and top-line players such as Ryan Hoffman, Dallas Johnson and Aiden Tolman, the Storm still have two of the world's best two players in their ranks in Cameron Smith and Billy Slater.

"There are plenty of incentives to play for and I'm really looking to see how we compete and see what's under the bonnet," Griffin told AAP on Monday.

"They're the best team in the competition at the moment.

"They've got a long and successful history. They're on top of the ladder. Going down there to their new stadium, you know you have to be very good to compete with them. That's the exciting part about the challenge ahead for us.

"Regardless of their issues last year, they played in four grand finals in a row.

"That's something no other club has been able to do in modern times.

"They've built that culture and that aura which makes it even more special if you can go down there and do well."

Brisbane did just that last year, upsetting Melbourne before fading out of the picture to miss their first finals campaign since 1991.

Many of Brisbane's young brigade were involved in that special 36-14 win but Griffin said the stakes will be even higher this time around.

"This game will be a level up on anything we've experienced the last couple of months," he said.

"They know how to win big games and the key for us will be to get our preparation right and our processes right to be as good as we can in every aspect of our game on Friday night and not just getting hyped up to peel off a one-off game.

"We'vebeen pretty good at preparing most of the year playing semi-final football and Friday night will be another good education in that area for us."

Both sides are in-form with Melbourne beating Canberra 26-0 on Sunday to inflict a first home shutout for the Raiders in their 30-year history, while the Broncos saw off Gold Coast 30-10.

Coach Craig Bellamy might say otherwise but Smith says the Storm are priming themselves for a battle royale with Griffin's side.

A former coach at Brisbane under Wayne Bennett for four years before joining Melbourne in 2003, Bellamy outwardly downplays the fixture against his old club.

But skipper Smith revealed there's a special rivalry between the two teams.

"I think he might be telling a porky," Smith said of his coach's denial of the rivalry.

"We've got a very big rivalry with the Broncos, ever since Craig came down to the Storm, and this one's going to be no different.

"He always liked us to have a win against them."

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