NRL: Brisbane adopt Origin mentality

Brisbane could drop out of the top eight if they lose to Manly. Photo / Getty Images
Brisbane could drop out of the top eight if they lose to Manly. Photo / Getty Images

Brisbane have adopted an Origin-like mentality to Friday night's showdown with premiers Manly with the stark reality they could tumble from the NRL top eight at Brookvale Oval.

In a surprise tactic coach Anthony Griffin and his 18-strong Bronco squad sneaked off to Sydney after Tuesday's training session in Brisbane to escape any distractions a final hit out at Red Hill on Thursday morning might cause.

Instead, Griffin and skipper Sam Thaiday will put the team through its paces in private at a closed session in Sydney's eastern suburbs after setting up their base camp at Bondi on Wednesday.

The ploy revived memories of last year's finals series when Brisbane used a privately owned helicopter to secretly transport injured skipper Darren Lockyer to Sydney.

Lockyer had suffered a fractured cheekbone and eye socket and flying in a commercial jet was considered risky.

He didn't play and Manly steamrolled Brisbane before going on to win the grand final.

Brisbane (7th, 26pts) will drop out of the top eight if they lose to Manly and Canberra (9th, 26pts) end Canterbury's 12-game winning streak and Wests Tigers (8th, 26pts) beat the Roosters on Sunday.

It would then all come down to final round results with Brisbane playing Penrith at home in Petero Civoniceva's farewell to the fans game, the Tigers hosting Melbourne and Canberra away to the Warriors, setting up an intriguing finale.

What Brisbane can't afford, is to be blown off the park by Manly with the last spot in the eight expected to be decided on points differential.

Brisbane have a superior for-and-against differential of 37 to Wests Tigers (-1) and Canberra (-39).

The odds are stacked against Brisbane who are looking at a sixth straight loss for the first time in seven years.

"When you're losing you seem to find way to lose so we can't use any excuses," said hooker Andrew McCullough.

"We got the right team here to win the comp but if we're going to do that we have to make sure we perform well against Manly."

The players insist there is no panic in the camp after good performances against the two leading teams, Canterbury and Melbourne, in successive weeks.

"If we go through our displays, habits and attitude over the last few weeks it's right up their with our best all year," said veteran lock Corey Parker.

"There's no loss of confidence in our camp."

Griffin is expected to confirm the returns of key players Alex Glenn (hamstring) and young prop Josh McGuire (eye injury) after the team's run on Thursday morning.

- AAP

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