Brisbane were belted in last year’s finals series by the Dragons. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Brisbane were belted in last year’s finals series by the Dragons. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

Oates eyes redemption for finals nightmare

Origin winger Corey Oates has urged the Broncos squad to bury the psychological scars of their Dragons drubbing as they prepare to face the opponent that sent Brisbane crashing out of last year's title race.

St George Illawarra are primed to stir up the gut-wrenching memories of their stunning playoffs pummelling of the Broncos when the Red V returns to Suncorp Stadium on Thursday night.

Broncos players were left gutted last September when their premiership hopes collapsed after being thrashed 48-18 by the Dragons in the opening week of the 2018 finals series.

It was St George Illawarra's biggest victory over Brisbane in 20 years and precipitated the demise of super coach Wayne Bennett, who was sacked by Broncos hierarchy six weeks after the Suncorp massacre.

If there was a posterboy for Brisbane's finals fadeout, it was Oates. The Maroons ace took a leg injury into the elimination final and made two handling errors on a day where Dragons back-rower Tariq Sims ran riot, scoring a hat-trick in the 30-point thumping.

Now the Dragons return to Brisbane under pressure to deliver their first win after back-to-back defeats and Oates admits the Broncos cannot afford to dwell on their worst ever finals showing at Suncorp.

"It hurt a lot, it was the worst way to go out," said Oates, who already has four tries this season after another double in Brisbane's 29-10 derby defeat of the Cowboys last Friday night.

"We have to move on from previous outcomes against the Dragons.

"Hopefully we can take a lot of confidence from our win over the Cowboys. If we can stick it to a forward pack like the Cowboys, we can do the same to this Dragons side.

"I don't like to blame injuries for my performances. If I'm playing, then I'm fit enough to perform to my best ability, but I had a bad game against the Dragons (last year), an off game ... and I don't want to repeat that."

Winger Corey Oates wants redemption for the loss. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)
Winger Corey Oates wants redemption for the loss. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)
 

Broncos coach Anthony Seibold has named an unchanged team to the side which opened their account with an impressive disposal of North Queensland last week.

Ex-Brisbane coach Bennett watched on helplessly last year as the Dragons raced in seven tries, with halfback Ben Hunt returning to haunt his former Broncos club in a masterful scrumbase display.

The Dragons have started the 2019 campaign shakily following consecutive losses to the Cowboys and Souths, but will run onto Suncorp buoyed by the 53 tackle busts they made in their Broncos carve-up last season.

Veteran Brisbane back-rower Alex Glenn challenged the Broncos to play with more desire on Thursday night or risk another Dragons demolition.

Brisbane were thrashed as favourites in the clash. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)
Brisbane were thrashed as favourites in the clash. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)
 

 

"The Dragons are coming here to play," he said. "That game last year, they came up here and thumped us in the first week of the finals.

"They came into the game wanting it more than us and it will be the same this week.

"They have had two losses so they will want to rectify that and come and prove a point at Suncorp Stadium.

"It's a great challenge for us, we have to back up our efforts from last week. We can't get comfortable and think that we're just going to cruise in and expect it to happen.

"If we do that, the same thing will happen to us again."