Coach hard taskmaster ahead of Broncos test
The way Warriors coach Andrew McFadden went about training this week, you could be forgiven for thinking the side were on the wrong end of a 48-0 thrashing.
A video session dissecting last Saturday's eight-try-to-zero win over the Eels at Mt Smart saw McFadden focus on errors and areas where the team could improve, veteran Thomas Leuluai said.
"You would have thought we had lost 48-0," Leuluai said.
"He is very hard and strict and he kept picking out things that we need to get better at, and that's what we have to continue to do.
"The better we play, the more people talk us up, the more teams will get better prepared for us."
The Warriors coach will know that defeating a full-strength Broncos side at Suncorp Stadium in front of an expected crowd of 40,000 will be a tough ask.
He even prepped his players for the noise of the stadium by getting them to wear earplugs during training.
"We have got to keep working hard," McFadden said.
"The real focus for this week's performance is whether we can do that sort of stuff under pressure."
Recent form might be with the Auckland-based side - they have won the past three encounters, including inflicting a 56-18 thrashing at Suncorp Stadium last year - but this Broncos team are on the verge of boiling over.
They are injury-free and have plenty of players capable of breaking the game open. They will also be desperate to get clear of a log-jam of teams on 20 points.
The Warriors have made big moves up the ladder in recent weeks and sit in sixth place, two points ahead of the Broncos.
Some of the matchups in this game - Ben Barba and Ben Hunt against Sam Tomkins and Shaun Johnson respectively - mouthwatering. will be fierce.
Leuluai, who returns to the side after an injury layoff that at one stage threatened to derail his season, said he expected to come on at hooker.
He was confident his groin injury would withstand the rigours of first-grade football.
"I have put it through enough tests, I have done a lot of work, I have had an operation. I know [McFadden] and the medical staff wouldn't let me have a crack if they didn't think I was right.
"It's been a long time and a lot of hard work.
"I've never come across an injury like this ... it tests you in different ways. It was definitely frustrating not knowing when you would be back and how to fix it."
It was helpful, he said, knowing the side were in good form.
"There was no real push for me to get back, no rush. At the start it was a bit different and I maybe jumped in a bit early."
Leuluai was more than impressed at the impact McFadden had made on the club.
"It's like I signed for a new club mid-season. The training sessions are a lot more intense ... the detail of our game is a lot better. Our attitude in defence is a lot better, too."
Meanwhile, the Broncos last night axed three players from their starting lineup after the trio went on the town mid-week.
England international Jack Reed, winger Daniel Vidot and utility Corey Oates have all been dropped to the Queensland Cup.
Lachlan Maranta and Jordan Kahu have been called up to start on the wings and Dale Copley moves into the centres.
AT A GLANCE
WARRIORS v BRONCOS
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Sky Sport 2: 9.30pm tonight
Referees: Adam Devcich and Grant Atkins
TAB odds: Broncos $1.75 Warriors $2
1 Ben Barba
2 Lachlan Maranta
3 Dale Copley
4 Justin Hodges (c)
5 Jordan Kahu
6 Josh Hoffman
7 Ben Hunt
8 Josh McGuire
9 Andrew McCullough
10 Corey Parker (c)
11 Alex Glenn
12 David Stagg
13 Sam Thaiday
14 Ben Hannant
15 David Hala
16 Todd Lowrie
17 Jake Granville
Coach: Anthony Griffin
1 Sam Tomkins
2 David Fusitu'a
3 Konrad Hurrell
4 Dane Nielsen
5 Manu Vatuvei
6 Chad Townsend
7 Shaun Johnson
8 Jacob Lillyman
9 Nathan Friend
10 Suaia Matagi
11 Ben Henry
12 Simon Mannering (c)
13 Sebastine Ikahihifo
14 Feleti Mateo
15 Ben Matulino
16 Agnatius Paasi
17 Thomas Leuluai
18 Jayson Bukuya
Coach: Andrew McFadden