'Pit Bull' Turpin tipped to play key role against Dogs

The Broncos are set to unleash the man they call "Pit Bull" on the Bulldogs on Saturday night in Sydney.

Halfback Jake Turpin returns from a two-week suspension and it's no coincidence that the Broncos have lost just four of the 13 games Turpin has played this year.

The 22-year-old’s steel in defence - he averages 26 tackles per game - combined with his energy and proven ability to come up with the match-winning play have all been crucial in Brisbane's revival in the second half of the season.

Turpin scored match-winners against the Sharks and Cowboys and takes the heat off Anthony Milford and Darius Boyd with his creative playmaking, but it is his defensive clout for a man of just 178cm and 82kg that has inspired his teammates.

"We call him 'Pit Bull' and 'Bulldog' because he is so aggressive in defence. That aggression that he brings lifts the team spirits when we are down," Brisbane winger Jamayne Isaako said.

"When you are in tough games and someone makes a big hit it certainly lifts the team. The boys get geed up to want to make good defensive hits like that as well.

"Jake has taken on a leadership role. This week that energy he brings and his defence is going to be huge for us, particularly on our right side.

"You could see on the pads after training how he was putting it into some of the renegades [reserves]. We are going to have to shut down guys like Corey Harawira-Naera who is playing some really good footy at the moment."

Veteran rake Andrew McCullough said Turpin was raring to go after his break and praised the unlucky Sean O’Sullivan for two strong displays against the Rabbitohs and Eels while filling in for Turpin.

"Firstly Sean did a tremendous job and certainly did plenty of defensive work," McCullough said.

"It was one of those tough decisions I am glad I don't have to make. Anthony has made that decision but Jake should bring plenty of energy and he is well rested so that is good."

While the Broncos will be assured of a top-eight finish if they beat the Bulldogs, they will still progress to week one of the finals even if they lose, provided the Wests Tigers and Sharks don’t play out a draw on Sunday.

McCullough wants to have Brisbane’s finals destiny sealed by the time he turns the lights out on Saturday night.

"Playing with confidence got us back into the competition the last two months and we don't want to rely on other results. I have done that before and it is not the best. Destiny is in our hands," McCullough said. 

"The Bulldogs have had a tremendous two or three months and nearly got right back into the competition, and deservedly so.

"Dean Pay was under a bit of pressure at the start of the year but got the team going well. They have certainly defended really well and are doing a bit more with the ball lately which is something we will have to be wary of. They will be a tough ask."

Isaako will also be up for the challenge after playing with an injured shoulder in recent weeks. Eels winger Maika Sivo gave it a good workout last week and the Broncos winger was sporting padding on his AC joint when he spoke to the media.

Isaako said he was hoping the injury would heal on its own without the need for post-season surgery.

"I have had a wee bit of an AC joint problem the last couple of weeks and am a bit sore at the moment. I have it padded to get me through training and obviously through games," he said.

"I will probably needle it this week but I try not to pay too much attention to it. I have got through 80 minutes the last couple of weeks with the injury."