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Broncos fear backline Bermuda Triangle

Rather than fear an NRL finals black hole, coach Anthony Griffin is hoping recalled centre Jack Reed averts Brisbane's backline "Bermuda Triangle" in Newcastle on Friday night.
Broncos fear backline Bermuda Triangle
by AAP

By Laine Clark

BRISBANE, Aug 1 AAP - Rather than fear an NRL finals black hole, coach Anthony Griffin is hoping recalled centre Jack Reed averts Brisbane's backline "Bermuda Triangle" in Newcastle on Friday night.

Griffin welcomed back the English international from a fractured collarbone three weeks earlier than expected for a clash they must win to keep alive their faint top-eight hopes.

The Broncos mentor will also decide on Friday whether ex-Test prop Ben Hannant finally returns from a calf complaint against the Knights.

Griffin did not have to be reminded of the importance of their clash with Newcastle (8th; 9-9) as Brisbane (12th; 7-11) faced the real possibility of missing the finals for just the second time in 21 seasons.

However, he seemed more concerned about Reed breaking their left centre curse.

Griffin initially had to name their seventh left centre - David Stagg - of the year after utility Alex Glenn broke his hand in last round's last gasp win over North Queensland.

Reed now slots into the backline after training strongly - not that it made Griffin feel any less anxious.

"I just hope he gets through the game," he said.

"It's a bit of a Bermuda Triangle that left centre.

"Everyone who has played there since Dale Copley in the trials has come up with an injury."

Reed is a welcome addition as Brisbane looks to repel a Newcastle backline Griffin described as "very dangerous".

NSW flyer James McManus - who is nursing a back complaint - has scored 17 tries from 18 games and averaged 112 metres this year while fellow Knights winger Akuila Uate has scored 10 from 15, averaging 139m.

"I know Hodgo (Justin Hodges) had to come up with a try but if we had leaked any more than 16 points we were gone," he said of Hodges' match-winning try in their last round 18-16 victory.

"That gave him the opportunity to show a bit of class and that's what we need this week - to hang in there nice and tough until we get our chance."

Griffin said he would only play Hannant if fully fit despite the game's must-win nature.

Hannant would be a tremendous boost for a Broncos side hoping to outmuscle a Knights pack without usual frontrowers Willie Mason (jaw, calf) and Kade Snowden (suspension).

Brisbane have won six of their last nine games in Newcastle.

The Knights have not won a Friday game since September 2011.

Not that Griffin was counting his chickens against fellow top eight aspirants Newcastle which suffered their first loss in four games last round - a 28-12 defeat against Sydney Roosters.

"The Roosters got an intercept try against the run of play which probably kept them at arm's length for the match," Griffin said.

"Apart from that they more than matched it with the Roosters until the last 10 minutes."




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