Darius Boyd says the Broncos have the game plan to beat the Melbourne Storm, who he has labelled the NRL's version of NFL powerhouses the New England Patriots.
Boyd, speaking ahead of Thursday night's blockbuster Telstra Premiership season opener in Melbourne, hit on a comparison that is uncannily on the money.
In the 35-year-old Cameron Smith the Storm have their own match-winning version of the 41-year-old Patriots' talismanic quarterback Tom Brady.
The Storm and Patriots history is similar with Melbourne winning three NRL titles, with two others stripped, since 1998 and the Patriots claiming six Super Bowls since 2001.
Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold has spoken a lot this pre-season about his side’s pursuit of "peakless mountains", as they chase an excellence that has no end point.
The reality is the Broncos have rarely climbed the mountain against Melbourne, and when they have they've slid back down the bottom just as quickly.
Of the 47 games between the two clubs Brisbane have 13 wins and 31 losses with three drawn.
Since the 2006 grand final the stats are even more damning with the Broncos winning just four of 26 games against the Storm, and losing their last four matches on the trot against Melbourne while conceding 30 points or more in all of them.
Many of Melbourne's wins over the past 13 years have been orchestrated by Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith and Billy Slater but Boyd warned that the fact only Smith remained of the 'Big Three' did not make the Storm a less daunting opponent.
"While they are class players you can't replace they still made the grand final last year without Cooper and I'm sure they will be thereabouts this year without Billy," Boyd said.
"They have a great system and a great culture there. They are like the Patriots in the NFL. They say [quarterback Tom ] Brady is too old but they still won the comp this year. Melbourne are the same.
"Whether they win the comp, make the grand final or finish top four they will be there or thereabouts.They are well-coached, well-drilled and still have the best player in the comp [Cameron Smith] there."
In recent years the Broncos have lost the battle of the ruck against the Storm, made too many errors and been dismantled out wide.
"They never beat themselves. You have to beat them and I think sometimes in the past we have given it to them too easily," Boyd said.
"We have a game plan we have been practising all pre-season that we think we can beat the Storm with and I think we just have to focus on that. If we go away from it, make too many errors and don't defend well then we'll make it a hard night for ourselves. For us it is about not giving them anything."
In defence, Seibold will not allow his team to be as laissez-faire at the ruck as Broncos sides of the recent past.
Match: Storm v Broncos
Round 1 -
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
- Nine Network
- LIVE PASS
"Our defence let us down last year but Seibs has come in and changed our structures and been pretty hard on the players on the training paddock and in the video sessions," Broncos lock Matt Gillett said.
"There is nowhere to hide. If we do muck up he sits us down and makes sure we do know our role… and will pull us into his office.
"It has been good the way we have changed our defence. We've got confidence out of it to make our decisions and go full tilt at that."
There is hope in Brisbane that Seibold can deliver the club a seventh title. Whether he does or doesn't, Boyd said the expectation on the players would not change.
"There is a lot of talk about droughts and how many years we haven't been there but every year there is pressure on this club," Boyd said.
"It is a proud club with a rich history. Top four is always the aim and premierships the goal. You expect nothing less. That is what comes with this organisation and the name that it holds."
The Broncos won't want to read it but in relation to Melbourne they are in the same territory as the Buffalo Bills in comparison to the Patriots. The Patriots have won 23 of the 26 clashes between the clubs since 2006, eerily close to Melbourne's record against Brisbane in the same period.
If the Storm win their 23rd game out of the last 27 in Melbourne it won't change Seibold's approach the following week.
"It is not a sprint, this competition, it is a marathon," Seibold said.
"Regardless of the result on Thursday night it won't have any impact on what we do or where we go next. After we've played around eight or 10 games we will know where we stand as a team for 2019… our strengths and where we need to improve."