Manly the NRL benchmark: Broncos coach - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Manly the NRL benchmark: Broncos coach

Laine Clark 20/09/2011 06:42:54 PM Comments (0)

All the talk may be about Darren Lockyer, but Broncos coach Anthony Griffin reckons he has been preoccupied by another name this week - Manly.

While keeping his fingers crossed Lockyer would play, Griffin believed the Broncos had already proved they could overcome adversity this season - and expected it to be no different if their skipper missed out on Friday night.

However, Griffin was very wary of a Manly side he rated the NRL's "benchmark".

The Broncos coach got the fright of his life when a Manly side depleted by their infamous "Brookvale Brawl" only fell 18-10 to Brisbane in their recent regular season finale.

And he was preparing for the worst after watching Manly pile on 42 unanswered second half points in their NRL final romp over North Queensland.

"Their form is the best," Griffin said on Tuesday.

"They beat Melbourne, they nearly knocked us off with their players out and flogged the Cowboys.

"They are obviously the benchmark sitting there waiting for us."

After enduring endless speculation over his skipper, Griffin said he looked forward to bunkering down in Sydney.

The Broncos flew into Sydney on Tuesday - 24 hours earlier than expected.

"Even though there has been some real hype around Locky, the boys have been nice and level headed," Griffin said.

"We are looking forward to getting down to Sydney.

"We know we are going to be in opposition territory, we are not going to have a 50,000 crowd around us any more.

"We made that point earlier. It's time to close ranks now and get back into the process that got us here."

After watching the Broncos grind out a 13-12 extra-time win over defending champions St George last weekend, Griffin backed his young side's self belief on Friday night - with or without Lockyer.

"We got here being a really strong team and being able to overcome a bit of adversity," he said.

"You saw it on Saturday night and it is important we get back to it again on Friday night and have a little bit more if we need it."

Halfback Peter Wallace's form also gave Griffin peace of mind with Lockyer's fate hanging in the balance.

"Pete goes unnoticed, mainly because he is playing with Locky," Griffin said.

"But if you went back the last six weeks and looked at the try assists or structure from where our tries are coming from, Pete has probably been in as many as Locky or probably even more with his kicking and passing game."

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