Broncos fight to get Sam Thaiday off tackle charge
BRISBANE is expected to go to the NRL judiciary in Sydney with all guns blazing to try to clear inspirational forward Sam Thaiday of a crusher tackle charge for Friday night's do-or-die clash with the Storm in Melbourne.
The Broncos hierarchy believes there was nothing in the 50th-minute tackle on Dragon forward Will Matthews last Friday night, and is prepared to fight tooth and nail to get the in-form former captain off the charge.
With loading and carry over penalties, Thaiday's 25% discount for an early plea would not reduce his points tally enough for him to play against the Storm.
Regardless, Brisbane will have to overcome its worst record of the past decade against any NRL side to give outgoing coach Anthony Griffin a win in his 100th game, and a bonus farewell finals series.
The two clubs have been bitter rivals since Brisbane denied Melbourne a grand final win in 2006, a painful loss the Storm has made the Broncos pay for since.
In their last 16 clashes, Melbourne has come out on top 14 times.
Brisbane ruined the Storm's christening party of AAMI Park in 2010, but the Broncos have been on the wrong end of the scoreline in the last seven meetings.
They have also clashed seven times in finals, with Melbourne holding a 5-2 advantage - including the three times they have met since the 2006 grand final.
It will be a daunting task for Griffin and his players to go to Melbourne and win, even though Brisbane has found some good form at the right time with three wins from its past four games.
Melbourne's loss to the Roosters last weekend means Friday night's showdown is suddenly an all-or-nothing game for the Storm. Win, and it could finish as high as fourth, but lose and it could drop out of the eight if the Bulldogs beat the Titans.
So tight is this year's ladder with one round to play, that even the minor premiership is up for grabs with Manly, South Sydney or the defending premier, the Roosters, still in the hunt.
Brisbane fullback Josh Hoffman is in the mix for Friday night's game after returning to the training paddock on Monday, but has less than a 50-50 chance of playing after suffering an ankle sprain against South Sydney last month.
Veteran Justin Hodges, who played fullback in Brisbane's last grand final win in 2006, has been exceptional in the No.1 jumper covering for Hoffman.