Broncos riding Lockyer emotion - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Broncos riding Lockyer emotion

By Wayne Heming 18/08/2011 04:45:10 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane hope to burst into the NRL finals on the back of two Darren Lockyer-inspired Suncorp Stadium sellouts if they can lock up a top-four spot with a win over Newcastle on Monday night.

While rookie coach Anthony Griffin refuses to look beyond the looming away clash with a desperate Knights, he says three games - including successive Sunday afternoon home blockbusters against a free spirited South Sydney and a physical Manly - are all "winnable".

News on Thursday that Lockyer's Father's Day farewell home game against the Sea Eagles at Suncorp on September 4 had officially sold out was expected to see fans rush tickets to the club's round-25 clash with the Rabbitohs.

While it sets up an emotional run into the finals for Brisbane and their fans, Griffin was trotting out the "one game at a time" line on Thursday when asked if he and his players would ride the hype their captain's retirement was creating.

South Sydney and Manly can expect to confront a State of Origin-like atmosphere, with Brisbane fans already rallying behind Lockyer's farewell game and ticket sales booming for the Rabbitohs clash in which Greg Inglis - who backed out of a deal with Brisbane this season - and former Broncos player Dave Taylor will face a hostile crowd.

"Newcastle is our only focus at the moment," said Griffin who likes the challenge ahead of him.

"We haven't secured a top-four spot yet and Monday night gives us an opportunity to do that.

"If we win Monday night, we give ourselves a chance of playing a home semi."

Griffin respects Newcastle's ability to attack.

"They've got representative halves in Jarrod Mullen and Kurt Gidley and they're extremely hard to shut down," he said.

"They put 50 on the Raiders and I thought they were a touch unlucky last weekend against the Warriors. They just lost their way a bit towards the end."

Brisbane have worked hard on their defensive structures during the past few months with Griffin "tinkering" with it week to week.

Like all coaches, Griffin has issued a watch on Knights winger Akuila Uate, the defensive responsibility of youngster Gerard Beale.

Uate, who made his Origin debut for NSW this year, has bagged 14 tries already this season.

"They use him a bit like the Warriors use (Manu) Vatuvei," said Griffin.

"He's on the end of their spreads but, if they're playing through the middle, he gets in there as well.

"He's a real key for them and someone we've got to do a really good job on.

Meanwhile Griffin hasn't closed the door on a late call-up for winger Jharal Yow Yeh (ankle) who trained on Thursday morning along with prop Ben Hannant (hip flexor).

"They had a run this morning but I'd say Jharal is more chance than Ben if one of them was to play," Griffin said.

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