Josh McGuire returned for his first day of pre-season training with the Broncos on Monday. Photo: David Clark
Josh McGuire returned for his first day of pre-season training with the Broncos on Monday. Photo: David Clark

Bigger is better: Broncos complete premiership puzzle

THE Broncos have gathered all the pieces they need to achieve premiership success in 2018, it's now up to the players and coaching staff to put it all together.

Kangaroos representatives Josh McGuire and Matt Gillett reported for their first day of pre-season training on Monday before joining their old and new teammates on the Sunshine Coast for a camp that will build bonds to be tested every week in the NRL.

Currently fourth favourites to raise the Provan-Summons Trophy behind the Roosters, Cowboys and Storm, McGuire believes the addition of considerable size in the forward pack gives Brisbane everything they need to break a premiership drought stretching into its 12th year.

Former Storm and Wests Tigers prop Matt Lodge tips the scales at around 115 kilograms, Korbin Sims sits just under the 110kg mark while 18-year-old Payne Haas dwarfs most members of the full-time NRL squad.

The addition of 193-centimetre, 110-kilogram former Shark Sam Tagataese provides both size and experience and transforms a Brisbane team that in recent years has relied on a smaller, more mobile forward pack.

When they qualified for the 2015 Grand Final the Broncos used Adam Blair and Sam Thaiday as their starting front-rowers and McGuire admitted that the team will benefit considerably from a bulked-up front row.

"They just keep getting bigger every year to be honest. They must be eating a lot of chicken, the boys are just growing every year," McGuire said.

"It's only a bonus for us as a team to have a big forward pack and Matty Lodge and Payne, they're all 120 (kilograms) and Korbin Sims, Sammy Thaiday and Andre Savelio, we've got a really big team.

"Tevita (Pangai Jnr), Joe Ofahengaue, the list goes on.

Giant prop Matt Lodge gives something the Broncos have lacked in recent years. Photo: David Clark
Giant prop Matt Lodge gives something the Broncos have lacked in recent years. Photo: David Clark

"There's no real room for myself to play front row so us smaller forwards like myself and 'Gillo' (Gillett) and Alex (Glenn) get to play behind those big bodies and play off the quick play-the-balls.

"We've got a team that can score plenty of points as we saw last year. When you add Jack Bird to that team, Darius Boyd's coming back from his hamstring injury, we've got Andrew McCullough to come back too.

"We've got a great spine, some really electrifying outside backs and now we've added some extra size to our forward pack.

"That's like any good team, they've got a good balance and it's up to us to find that balance and our coaching staff to put the right guys in the right position.

"I only see our team going forward this year but we've got to make sure we put in the hard work now."

McGuire's total of 33 games in 2017 is the most of his career to date, taking the Ron McAuliffe Medal as Queensland's best player of the Origin Series and playing five of the Kangaroos six World Cup matches, four in the starting side.

NSW Origin rep Jack Bird brings an extra dimension to the Broncos. Photo: Courtesy Brisbane Broncos
NSW Origin rep Jack Bird brings an extra dimension to the Broncos. Photo: Courtesy Brisbane Broncos

It meant that his break was spent predominantly with family and fishing and after a mental refresh is ready for another massive campaign in 2018.

The 27-year-old believes the extra size up front will only help his game this season and help the Broncos to progress deep into the finals.

"My job's a lot easier when you've got giants like Matty Lodge and Payne Haas, Korbin Sims, big guys like that in the team," said McGuire.

"They make my job a lot easier because I get to play off the back of those guys.

"We've got to take a lot of positives out of last year but our ultimate goal is to win a comp.

"That's every team's goal at the start of a season. It's a long road ahead but we've got some great players here, some great additions to the team and I'm looking forward to a steady season that we can build on."


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