Broncos forwards Ben Hannant and Josh McGuire have been flying under the radar according to rival prop Matt Scott but they are now in NQ’s sights.
At a combined 213kg, Broncos bruisers Josh McGuire and Ben Hannant should find it hard to fly under the radar.
But North Queensland co-captain Matt Scott reckons the Brisbane forwards have been doing just that this season – an advantage he says they will no longer hold in Saturday night’s NRL elimination final, even with Sam Thaiday’s return.
Then again, the Cowboys could lay claim to having one of the NRL’s most underrated forwards after Ashton Sims punched above his weight in the finals lead-up.
Hannant and McGuire may have been overlooked by Queensland Origin selectors this year but they made Scott sit up and take notice when they rolled up their sleeves in Thaiday’s absence last round in Melbourne.
Brisbane were made to rue missed opportunities in the 22-12 loss to the Storm but thanks to other results still squeezed into eighth spot, setting a collision course with Scott’s Cowboys in Townsville.
“I think they have a forward pack that is under the radar a bit at the moment – players like Benny Hannant and Josh McGuire,” Scott told AAP.
“I thought they did a great job without Sammy. They should get a lot of confidence out of that.”
Hannant – a 12-Origin veteran – and ex-Samoan international McGuire may have unwittingly stepped into the Cowboys’ view but Scott reckoned North Queensland now had Thaiday in their sights.
Back from a one-match ban for a crusher tackle, Thaiday slots into lock with Hannant back to the bench and McGuire remaining at prop in the reshuffled pack.
“These are the games you want to play if you are a front-rower,” Scott said.
“And Sammy adds a lot to their side.
“He is one of their more aggressive players.
“What he is really good at is getting those quick play-the-balls and adding to momentum – he will be tough to stop.”
Scott revels in a derby – he notched 227m from 18 hit-ups in their round nine 27-14 win over Brisbane.
And since returning from a fractured cheekbone in round 21, Scott has tried to make up for lost time by averaging a staggering 186m.
Not that McGuire had to be told.
“He is the No.1 prop in the world,” McGuire said.
“And (halfback Johnathan) Thurston is the best ball-player in the comp, probably for the last five years.
“So there is a big emphasis to stop the ruck and tie that up.
“We have to produce some tough ‘d’ but that is a big call lining up against Matty Scott, (James) Tamou and those guys.”
One of the other “guys” at the Cowboys is Sims.
The ex-Bronco filled the void left by Scott after Origin II so well he is now keeping Test prop Tamou out of the starting front row.
“It’s a big task for our forwards,” Thaiday admitted.