Brisbane’s forwards must justify the faith
Billy Moore says the Broncos middle forwards have to prove to their bosses they did the right thing in moving on Josh McGuire by playing 80-minute football as a pack rotation.
McGuire, Brisbane's only 2018 Kangaroos Test player, was released to North Queensland as part of a seemingly never-ending mission to clear room in the Broncos' salary cap and his old club have staggered to a 2-6 start to the season.
"They can say to Joe Ofahengaue that they believe in him to be a starting prop,'' Queensland Origin stalwart Moore said.
"It's come to this - saying to these middle forwards of theirs, 'We got rid of McGuire to keep you. We backed you in and show us it was a smart decision to put our faith in you'.
"Anthony Seibold said they chose youth, and that's fine, but it's time to be shown that wasn't a mistake.''
Moore said it was instructive that Brisbane's worst matches in the forwards have been against the Roosters and Rabbitohs.
"The Roosters and Souths don't relent. They are waiting to find a chink in the armour,'' he said.
"They aren't dominating the opposition inside a whole game. There are points when they do attack with their defence but they don't sustain it.
"It's the results of youth, them realising that you don't rip and tear and then have a lull in which to recover for a period.''
Moore said Tevita Pangai Jr is better suited to an interchange role because he is a high impact forward who battles to sustain consistent minutes during a game.
Pangai said he didn't object to being used in the bench player role which Seibold has switched him to for tomorrow night's clash with Manly.
"It's a fair comment (by Moore). It's been like throughout the first eight weeks for us, we've been good in patches in the 80 minutes and across the first eight games,'' Pangai said.
"I'm there to do a job for the team and if it's off the bench I'm happy to do that for the team.''
Moore agreed with Seibold's use of Matt Lodge and Ofahengaue as battering rams from the start of the game.
"I think Pangai is better coming off the bench when it's 20 or 25 minutes into the game and he might tear people apart against some second-string forwards,'' he said.
"Lodge is the middle forwards' leader and he hasn't played 50 NRL games. It's a steep learning curve for Lodge as much as it for the younger forwards and they are all learning how to play for Seibold, because he's a very different coach to Wayne Bennett.
"Manly are missing Daly Cherry-Evans and Tom Trbojevic (through injury), but they have arguably the most productive middles in the game. They will come down the field unrelentingly and the Broncos need to make sure they match their middles.''