Home Ground: Suncorp Stadium, Lang Park, Milton (Brisbane)
Coach: Wayne Bennett
2015 finish: 2nd
2015 top pointscorer: Corey Parker, 144
2015 top tryscorer: Lachlan Maranta, 15
2015 Player of the Year: Corey Parker
Gains: Greg Eden (Castleford Tigers), James Roberts (Titans)
Losses: Dale Copley (Roosters), Mitchell Dodds (Warrington Wolves), Justin Hodges (retired), Todd Lowrie (retired), Jayden Nikorima (Roosters), Matt Parcell (Broncos), David Stagg (retired), Ash Taylor (Titans)
If anyone dared to doubt Brisbane’s credentials as NRL Premiership favourites they would have revised their opinion after the Broncos put the cleaners through Wigan Warriors in the World Club Series.
The Broncos were without a key playmaker in scrum-half Ben Hunt.But they had a ready-made substitute in 21-year old Kodi Nikorima, one of two young Broncos to have made his Test debut for the Kiwis last year, the other being utility back Jordan Kahu.
But they had a ready-made substitute in 21-year old Kodi Nikorima, one of two young Broncos to have made his Test debut for the Kiwis last year, the other being utility back Jordan Nikorima was in truly dazzling form against the Super League side.
We all wondered how the Broncos would react to the retirement of Justin Hodges. And we quickly found out. Well, the young guns quickly lined up for a piece of the senior action.
The Broncos have a side packed with international stars – no less than 13.
Darius Boyd, Matt Gillett, Hunt, Corey Parker and Sam Thaiday (all Australia), Alex Glenn, Kahu and Nikorima(New Zealand), Josh McGuire and Milford (Samoa), Francis Molo (Cook Isalands), Joe Ofahengaue (Tonga)and, of course, Jack Reed (England).
Throw into the mix a handful of Junior Kangaroos and Emerging Origin stars and you have an exciting line-up.
But coach Wayne Bennett believes the jewel in the crown is the off-season signing of reformed ‘enfant terrible’ James Roberts from the Gold Coast.
Roberts is one of the fastest players in rugby. He has scored 32 tries in his 52 senior appearances, but with a wealth of talent on hand to put him into gaps that strike-rate is expected to leap in coming years.
In just over 12 months time veteran loose forward Parker looks likely to smash Darren Lockyer’s Broncos record of 355 senior appearances. Parker is in the best form of his 16 seasons, but is expected to ring down the curtain on his illustrious career at the end of 2017. In the meantime, last week he was named as Hodges’ replacement as the Broncos’ captain.
But the defining factor will be Bennett’s coaching. It is little wonder that the RFL have turned to Benny in the hope that England will once again become the Land of Hope and Glory.