THE Broncos are looking to rack up a first for coach Wayne Bennett — a maiden win for him over a Michael Maguire-coached South Sydney side.
Bennett has a 0-5 win-loss record over the past four seasons when Maguire has been in the Souths coaching box for games against his Knights and Broncos sides.
In those five encounters, Souths have outscored their opponents by a combined points tally of 161-56.
While Brisbane are a much better side than they were at the time of a 36-6 loss to Souths in Round 1 this year, the Broncos have lost their past four matches against the Rabbitohs under the coaching of Anthony Griffin and Bennett.
In those four matches, Souths have not been held to fewer than 26 points by the Brisbane defence.
The absence of Greg Inglis because of minor knee surgery saves the Broncos from meeting a player who has scored five tries in the past three matches between the clubs.
Inglis scored a memorable 90m try in Souths’ 28-26 win in Round 8 last year and a hat-trick in a 42-16 thumping at ANZ Stadium in Round 23. The Rabbitohs fullback scored one try in Round 1.
The Rabbitohs have a dangerous runner in Alex Johnson at fullback and have welcomed ball players Issac Luke and Luke Keary back from suspension in training this week.
Fourth-placed Souths have slightly more to play for the Broncos, as the red-and-greens could slump with defeat to as low as sixth by the end of the round.
Souths need to hit back after their 32-18 loss to Canterbury last Friday.
“We had direction last weekend. We just didn’t play the way we know we can,’’ Maguire said.
“Issac and Luke play off the back of our forward pack.
“Round 1 is a long time ago. Teams have changed. They have (Darius) Boyd out the back and a number of players in great form.
“They have been the form team of the competition and we know we’ll be playing against a team that plays for 80 minutes and we have to make sure we do the same.
“We weren’t satisfied with our standards last week. We were the week before (in the defeat of North Queensland).’’
The Bunnies have been ravaged by injury while the Broncos will be trying to climb back to top spot after falling away for the first time since Round 12. Monster game doesn’t begin to describe this one.
Brisbane have had a lot more stability in their side recently and with Souths losing Greg Inglis Broncos is the play. The Broncos have a fantastic record coming off a loss and they will build on a very good second half performance against the Roosters. Brisbane will win the forward battle and that will be a telling factor in the final outcome.