Elliott: Broncos tougher with Origin reps back
Warriors coach Matt Elliott regards his team's 56-18 win over the Broncos a few weeks ago as irrelevant ahead of tomorrow's NRL rematch at Mt Smart Stadium.
The Broncos side the Warriors beat that night, which was their second win in their current four-game unbeaten streak, bears only a passing resemblance to the one lining up at Mt Smart Stadium this weekend.
Justin Hodges, Sam Thaiday, Corey Parker and Matt Gillett were all on State of Origin duty for that game, while Ben Hannant was injured.
Elliott is fully aware that the inclusion of these players into the Broncos side makes them a far tougher proposition. "If you took the four best players out of our team we'd probably get beaten by 50," he said.
"They're a massive challenge to us this weekend and I don't think the bye is such an issue for them, it's a five-day break for some of them after a pretty impressive performance [in Origin] and they'll be buzzing."
During the Warriors' winning streak they have conceded 12, 18, 16 and 12 points in each game. Compare that to the four games prior to that where they leaked 20, 28, 24 and 62 points and it becomes clear that the Warriors are improving defensively.
"I'm sure coaches say it a million times, but defence is really about attitude and that's been a bit of a driving force for us," Elliott said.
"The thing that we've got to recognise is that it's not entrenched at this stage.
"So our mindset needs to be that if you don't see a full effort with a lot of intensity guys faint because the Warriors always play that way, but we're not quite there yet."
The Warriors and the Panthers are the only clubs not to have a player in the State of Origin this year, although prop Jacob Lillyman was called up to be Queensland's 18th man in Brisbane on Wednesday when the Roosters' Martin Kennedy was ruled out with a knee injury.
Although Lillyman didn't get to play, Elliott felt it was a confidence boost for his charge, who made the last of his six Origin appearances back in 2011.
"I was surprised he wasn't immediately 18th man and I reckon he's knocking pretty hard on the door." Fairfax NZ