broncos season preview

NRL expert Steve Green has put together his mammoth season preview for 2021. We’re running through every club, from his predicted wooden spooners to those he thinks will take out he premiership. Today it’s the Broncos season preview.

2020 recap

Last season was a complete nightmare and easily the worst on record for the glamour club. Heading into the season they boasted a forward pack that looked capable of destroying all comers and a backline featuring stars like Milford, Staggs and Oates, with up and comers like Coates, Staggs and Dearden.

After winning their opening two matches, something went awfully wrong during the COVID shutdown. The former coach clearly lost the dressing room and guys like Milford, Croft, Lodge and Glenn failed to provide the leadership this team so sorely needed.

With Coach Walters taking over, there is some hope they can turn things around in 2021… but it still looks like it’s a rebuilding year for the Broncos.

Broncos season preview: Losses

David Fifita is the big name missing for the Broncos in 2021. His high profile defection to the Titans means the Broncos will lose one of the few players they had that could break the line at will.

Although he did not pull on a boot during the regular season, Jack Bird is a big loss for the Broncos. He looked set for a breakout year based on his pre-season form. I am predicting big things from him at the Dragons.

While he was criticised by everyone in 2020, I thought Darius Boyd finished his career with some strong performances. He was clearly past his best and he needed to retire. But I think casual fans and critics did not understand what an important figure he was for the club. His leadership will be missed considering this is a very young and inexperienced backline.

Broncos season preview: Gains

No one of note has signed with the Broncos. Billy Walters linking with his Dad the only signing that could really change how this team plays. He will put pressure on the Broncos halves and he could turn into a handy bench player.

Asiata is a good player on his day, but I am not sure he is in the Broncos best 17 if all of their forwards are fit and firing. His ball play is sensational, but he does not do enough of the tough stuff in my view. I think guys like Riki and Glenn will be ahead of him.

David Mead provides much needed experience. But I think his best days are behind him and the Broncos would be better off running with the likes of Niu, Isaako, Coates and Oates if their form warrants it. Dale Copley is also a handy pick up. The former Bronco is capable of snagging a backline spot if he gets back to his best form.

Broncos season preview: Rookie radar

Although he played eight games in 2020, I thought Ethan Bullemor was not given a fair crack at the top grade by Siebold. The powerful backrower was given an opportunity to play in the matches where the Broncos were totally outclassed. In his eight games he played the Eels twice, Roosters twice, Souths once and Panthers once. Only one of his games was against a team that was not a top eight team in 2020. He did not get many minutes in most of his games, but his impact in those short stints was impressive.

He has another year of pre-season under his belt and an opportunity to get more game time with Fifita gone. I think Bullemor will nail down a bench spot and provide the Broncos with plenty of punch with his time on the field.

Broncos season preview: Players to watch

All eyes will be on Anthony Milford, who was pretty bad in 2020. He was out of shape and disinterested. However the mercurial play maker needs to secure his next contract and he has always had a good relationship with Coach Walters. So I am backing him to recapture his 2016 form.

Tevita Pangai is another freakish talent that has continually under-delivered. Though in recent years we have seen increasing signs of him reaching his best. If he can tone down his aggression and stay on the field, he’ll be one of the best forwards in the game.

Jamayne Isaako was another guy that really failed to fire last year. His skills let him down and he looked a bundle of nerves. But if he can make the number 1 jersey his own, then he could finally evolve into the superstar he looked to be a couple of years ago.

Broncos season preview: Weaknesses

The spine of the Broncos is among the most out-of-form in the competition. Whoever Walters chooses to play at 9 and 1 will come into the season low on confidence. They’ll need to prove they deserve the position. Dearden and Milford could form a great halves combination. But both are very small and have proven to be targets for opponents when defending. Without Staggs in the centre (recovering from knee surgery), the Broncos are also a little light on in the centres, with no obvious strike weapon to target their attack towards.

Broncos season preview: Strengths

Guys like Riki, Coates, Niu and Carrigan all looked great at times in 2020 and have heaps of potential. If they improve as I predict they will, then they can provide Broncos fans of hope for future success. Coach Walters will also likely bring back strong team morale, something sorely missing under former Coach Siebold.

Broncos season preview: Ladder prediction

14th

NRL season previews

Manly
Dragons
Bulldogs
Knights
Storm
Souths
Sharks
Warriors
Eels

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