Seibold’s Broncos to set the pace
BRONCOS coach Anthony Seibold has turned up the heat on his pack, with Brisbane's forwards under pressure to be fitter and faster under a new game plan to unleash star playmaker Anthony Milford.
The post-Wayne Bennett era officially begins for Brisbane on Thursday night when Seibold makes his Broncos coaching debut in his side's season-opening blockbuster against Melbourne at AAMI Park.
And Seibold has wasted no time making key changes to Brisbane's tactical style, believing the Broncos need to play more up-tempo to break the longest premiership drought in the club's 31-year history.
The Broncos haven't tasted title success since 2006, and at the core of Seibold's shift is imposing responsibility on Brisbane's forwards to win the ruck and create a platform for halves Milford and Kodi Nikorima to fire.
Under Seibold's game model, big boppers such as Matt Lodge, Joe Ofahengaue, Tevita Pangai Jr, Tom Flegler and Payne Haas will need first-class levels of fitness to overturn Brisbane's sluggish play-the-ball speeds last season.
Brisbane finished second last in the league for play-the-ball speeds in 2018.
Ofahengaue admits the pressure is on Brisbane's posse of forwards to be more proactive as they prepare for a daunting showdown with Melbourne front-row giants Jesse Bromwich and Nelson Asofa-Solomona.
"We need to bring energy and try to transition fast (between defence and attack)," said Ofahengaue, who will start in the front-row at AAMI Park.
"We have been practising that all pre-season and if we can transition fast hopefully we can be one of the fastest teams in the comp.
"We have been working hard with 'Seibs' (Seibold) and we will be trying to adapt to the way he wants us to play.
"We are busting our butts off the field and hopefully it transfers to the field."
At former club Souths, Seibold was renowned for asking his players train at speeds faster than that seen in NRL matches.
The notion is that making split-second decisions at faster speeds at training can buy players more time in the heat of NRL battle.
Brisbane's players trained in sweltering 36 degree heat on Tuesday in the ultimate test of their aerobic conditioning ahead of their showdown with the Storm - the best team of the past decade.
Ofahengaue concedes the fitness of Brisbane's top squad will be tested under Seibold's game plan.
"It takes a toll in the middle," he said.
"Any time that he (Seibold) tries to play fast footy, the (forwards) have a lot of work to do and it's a price to pay when you are playing in the middle but that's the little kick we get out of it.
"If I can play the ball as fast as I can for 'Milly' (Milford) this season, I will have done my job."
Seibold recently said: "There was criticism of Milford and Nikorima last season but they need the footy in their hands when they want it.
"If we finish 15th again for play-the-ball speed, we will get the same result. You need to play on the front foot. Halves need time and they need space and we need to try and create that."