Premiership Odds: (via betting.club): $4.50
Big Outs: Dale Copley, Justin Hodges
Big Ins: James Roberts
The Broncos looked home and hosed with only a few minutes to go in last year’s Grand Final.
Two pieces of Johnathan Thurston magic, as well as a magic piece of work from Michael Morgan took the title away from Wayne Bennett’s men.
The Broncos lost a super player in Justin Hodges through retirement but were gifted James Roberts, who is a more than capable replacement.
With Josh McGuire back to full fitness and this side having had yet another pre-season under the great Wayne Bennett, they may be even more dangerous in 2016.
Key Player: Ben Hunt
Forget the final minutes of the Grand Final, Ben Hunt has a brilliant 2015 season and deserves plenty of praise for it, despite his error.
In his 23 games he scored 10 tries and lad on 18 try assists. Add to that he made eight line-breaks himself making him one of the elite attacking halves in the competition.
His partnership with Anthony Milford was one of the most exciting in the modern game, and should be better for having a year together.
At 25 years of age Hunt has plenty of improvement left in him. Despite the horror moments of 2015’s golden point, he has enough experience to use it as motivation.
Young Gun: Corey Oats
For the record I believe Anthony Milford has played himself past a “young gun” tag and has entered genuine superstar status.
21 year-old Corey Oats will play a big role this season following the retirement of Justin Hodges and the moving on of Dale Copley.
Oats has played 54 games for the Broncos and has scored 27 tries. If he stays fit he’ll ad many more games and plenty more tries.
At 192 cm tall and well over 100 kilos, he’ll be one of the bigger wingers across the competition. He’ll be a target on the wing for cross-field kicks, which should put him well and truly in the game.
Best Signing: James Roberts
As good as Justin Hodges was, James Roberts may prove to be an even more dangerous replacement, given his pace and try scoring ability.
He had a supreme 2015 in a horrible season for the Titans, and with the likes of Hunt and Milford pulling the strings, I have Roberts on my shortlist for top try scorer.
His speed is obviously his biggest asset but an off-season under Bennett, and a season outside of Hunt and Milford will help make him the all-round centre.
He had problems in defence last season so I’d assume he’ll be doing a lot of work on that during the off-season, and if he can get that right, watch out.
Roberts moved to the Broncos for a shot at the premiership and to work under Bennett. If he plays to his potential this season, a blue jersey is in his future, along with a stack of tries.
Strength: Attacking weapons everywhere
Boyd, Kahu, Milford, Hunt, Roberts, Gillett, Parker. There are attacking weapons all across the park in this brilliant Broncos line-up.
They have forwards who can create second phase through offloads, and the outside backs to back that up.
The Broncos contain two of the best halves in the competition who get to play behind one of the best packs going around.
Their bench is full of impact and size, but is mobile enough to adjust to the reduced interchange rules.
Like the Cowboys, their strongest 17 looks very similar to the squad that went so close to winning it all last season.
Weakness: Possible Grand Final hang over
How will the Broncos bounce back from their Grand Final heartbreak? For the large majority of the 80 minutes last October, the Broncos felt as though they had the title won.
They went into their shell in the final ten or so minutes, kicking for the line to soak up time rather than trying to pin the Cowboys in their own ten or twenty.
For some players that drives them on to improve, however some will carry that in the back of their minds even as they enter the next season.
The pressure will be on the Broncos from the start from fans, critics and the players themselves. If they can overcome that, there may be no stopping them.
1. Darius Boyd
2. Corey Oats
3. Jack Reed
4. James Roberts
5. Jordan Kahu
6. Anthony Milford
7. Ben Hunt
8. Sam Thaiday
9. Andrew McCullough
10. Adam Blair
11. Alex Glenn
12. Matt Gillett
13. Corey Parker
14. Josh McGuire
15. Joe Ofahengaue
16. Jarrod Wallace
17. Kodi Nikorima
The Broncos will be chomping at the bit to avenge their Grand Final loss in 2015, and have the squad and coach to go on further than last season.
James Roberts is a brilliant signing and adds yet another weapon to an already dangerous arsenal.
The Broncos starting forward pack are all capable of playing big minutes which will be a big advantage in the early rounds as teams come to terms with reduced interchange.
There really is no weakness in this line up. They have arguably the top 17 across the competition and have plenty of depth.
Throw in Wayne Bennett and the drive given to them by falling short last season and I simply can’t see any side matching the Broncos across the season.
Anything less than a premiership will be underachieving for this ridiculously talented quad.