League: Broncos hoping to avoid any surprises

By Laine Clark

Brisbane Broncos coach Anthony Griffin. Photo / Getty Images
Brisbane Broncos coach Anthony Griffin. Photo / Getty Images

Nothing much surprises Broncos' coach Anthony Griffin these days.

Not his unfancied Broncos' encouraging NRL season start.

Nor tonight's opponents St George Illawarra's 3-0 run.

So no wonder Griffin anticipates star fullback Josh Dugan making an early return from his knee injury for the Dragons against the Broncos in Wollongong.

"I think he is due back next week so I wouldn't be surprised to see him run out tomorrow night, he is not far away," said Griffin of Dugan, who was injured in the pre-season Charity Shield clash.

"His running game at fullback is as good as there is."

High-flying Dragons' winger Brett Morris' early nomination for try of the year last round also did not seem to be a revelation to Griffin.

He has put the entire Broncos' squad - not just Morris' opposite number Lachlan Maranta - on red alert as the NSW flyer again looks to ignite an exciting backline also boasting fellow in-form winger Jason Nightingale.

"The two wingers they have got they have done everything in the game," Griffin said. "They have won grand finals, played for their country and State of Origin.

"It really helps the team when they have those type of guys in form as they are at the moment.

"It is the whole team's job to scramble and keep those guys at bay."

Griffin added: "The Dragons have played some great attacking football. They have deserved their three wins."

Brisbane have also turned heads. Only two last-gasp tries that sealed the Sydney Roosters' 30-26 last round win denied the Broncos a 3-0 season start.

"We were all disappointed with what happened. I guess we will find out how we handled it tomorrow night," Griffin said yesterday.

Veteran centre Justin Hodges is still about four weeks away from returning from his Achilles tendon injury but Griffin reckons it can't come soon enough.

"I hope he gets back soon, he is annoying the hell out of us," Griffin said with a smile. "He will be a while yet but he is going all right."

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