Seibold challenges Broncos after latest setback
THE Broncos have been dealt a blow with Queensland Origin forward Matt Gillett ruled out of Saturday night's derby against the struggling Titans with a back injury.
Gillett was originally named in the starting side but the veteran back-rower did not appear at Brisbane's captain's run with coach Anthony Seibold confirming his withdrawal after the session.
It continues a season of positional turbulence for the Broncos and a year of frustration for Gillett, who missed the Origin decider and Brisbane's subsequent clashes against the Warriors and Canterbury with a groin injury.
Gillett was due to return this week against the last-placed Gold Coast, but has suffered a fresh setback, meaning the Maroons ace has not worn Broncos colours for the past month.
Seibold will finalise his squad tomorrow but Tevita Pangai Jr is expected to move from lock to the right edge. Interchange prop Joe Ofahengaue is likely to be promoted into the midfield with 18th man Keenan Palasia set to join James Segeyaro, Rhys Kennedy and Pat Carrigan on the bench.
The Broncos are one competition outside the top eight in 11th place and Seibold challenged his side to overcome the Gillett setback and prove they deserve to be in the playoffs.
Asked if his side are a finals team, Seibold said: "Yes there's no doubt about that but the proof is in the pudding.
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"We're not looking ahead to the finals because if we do we go off task.
"But I know where we stand, we are one point outside the top eight and we're close enough if we're good enough.
"Our focus is on tomorrow night. If we look ahead to seven weeks' time, you lose your focus and one thing that happens in the NRL, you get bitten on the backside if you don't stay focused on your next job.
"It's about actions during the game and that's what I expect.
"I believe we can play our best football tomorrow night and the Titans will be waiting for us there and we will need to be at our best."
Brisbane have dominated the M1 derby but Seibold is wary of a Titans ambush after their shock 26-18 upset of the Broncos in round 13 at Suncorp Stadium.
"The last time we played the Titans, they lapped us at Suncorp Stadium which was really disappointing," he said.
"They jumped out of the blocks pretty well. We had a few guys missing with State of Origin duties, but they certainly came here with a job to do and they were far better than us on that occasion.
"Every time the Titans play the Broncos, it's a big game. We are both in the southeast of Queensland and I expect no different tomorrow night."
Gold Coast recruit Kallum Watkins will make his Titans debut at right centre and Seibold backed veteran utility Alex Glenn to muzzle the decorated England international.
"Kallum is a world-class centre so they look really strong there," he said.
"I've watched Kallum Watkins and admired him for a long time. I was at the Celtic Crusaders when he made his debut for Leeds Rhinos in a Challenge Cup game against us and he has been an outstanding player.
"Everyone saw at the World Cup a few years ago what he could do so he's a fantastic signing for the club and I'm excited about coaching against him. He will add a significant boost to their team.
"We're keeping Alex in the centres. He's done a really good job the last few games defending at centre.
"Alex will defend on Kallum Watkins, it's a big job for him, but I'm confident he can do the job. He did a good job on (Will) Hopoate last week and a few weeks ago on Josh Dugan so it's another good challenge for 'Lexi' and he is up to the task."
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