Green wary of Brisbane’s secret weapon
COWBOYS coach Paul Green believes Andrew McCullough will kickstart Brisbane's misfiring halves as Anthony Milford admitted he was bracing for a North Queensland onslaught.
Broncos playmakers Kodi Nikorima and Milford have come under fire following Brisbane's sluggish start to the NRL season last week.
The 22-point loss to the Dragons has seen the Broncos ranked as underdogs for the Queensland derby against the Cowboys at a sold-out Suncorp Stadium.
The Cowboys boast arguably the best forward pack in the NRL, with Test stars Matt Scott, Jordan McLean and Jason Taumalolo forming an all-star trio in the middle.
And Milford believes North Queensland's big men are going to have their eyes set on compounding his poor start to the season.
"One hundred per cent they will be (targeting me)," he said.
"They will be trying to get quick play the balls to use their big mobile pack.
"They have Matt Scott and Jordan McLean and there's even more impact with their bench, so they will be ready to test us.
"There is a responsibility on the whole team, we all didn't play a part against the Dragons. But me and Kodi have worked on things in the last few sessions and we have a clear mind about what's expected against the Cowboys."
Green, a former Bronco, said criticism of Brisbane was unwarranted given the season was only 80 minutes old and he was expecting the six-time premiers to bounce back.
"It's round one, people forget that," he said.
"A lot has been said about their (forward) pack.
"One thing about the Broncos is they're a proud club. I'm sure they will fire back after the criticism they've copped this week
"That generally starts in the forwards. Historically, Wayne (Bennett, coach) probably simplifies his game plan and fires up the forwards.
"We're expecting them to come off the back fence."
McCullough, a veteran of 215 NRL games, will start at hooker after being benched in last week's season opener, his first match since undergoing a knee reconstruction last August.
Green said the return of McCullough to the starting side would help Nikorima and Milford.
"He is a really good player and will give them plenty of direction," he said.
"Some of the criticism has been levelled at their halves and I'm sure Andrew McCullough will help them.
"There is pressure on any halves combination. When a team doesn't play to their potential the first people they look at is generally the six and seven. That is natural after a loss like that.
"I'm sure they will be fired up to respond to the criticism. They are both very good players and we'll have to watch them."