AAP Rugby

Glenn ready for NRL Broncos challenge

By AAP Newswire

The honour of being named Brisbane skipper may take some time to sink in for Alex Glenn.

But the veteran backrower is well aware of the challenge that faces his NRL team this season after their embarrassing 2019 finals exit.

Glenn admitted he was still pinching himself after being handed the captaincy in the off-season.

"It has probably been a month now that I have been told (by coach Anthony Seibold) that I was going to be skipper - it is a huge honour," Glenn told AAP.

"I am captain of a club that I see as family.

"Once footy starts back up it will start sinking in then, but at the moment it's like a dream."

Yet the way the 2019 season finished for Brisbane still seems like a nightmare for the former Kiwi international.

Glenn admitted he was still getting his head around the Broncos' record 58-0 loss to Parramatta in the finals' first round last year.

And no wonder.

The humiliating loss itself was hard to cop.

Then came revelations that senior players were seen playing pokies until the wee hours the night before the crunch game prompting speculation Seibold had lost his playing group in his first year at the helm.

Drastic change appeared on the cards.

Yet nothing really prepared the Broncos playing group for what was to come.

Seibold delivered some sobering home truths in the post-season player interviews.

Darius Boyd lost the captaincy.

The former Test fullback and veteran hooker Andrew McCullough were reportedly told in no uncertain terms they needed a strong pre-season just to earn a nod in the top 17.

A new leadership group was named after Boyd's demotion and back-rower Matt Gillett's retirement.

Everyone, it seemed, was on notice.

But Glenn claimed the Broncos were now in a better place.

"The way that we finished the season against Parra, that hurt us," he said.

"We addressed that on the first day of pre-season, where we went wrong,

"We have used that game as motivation to make sure that it never happens again.

"I am excited about how hard we have worked this pre-season and how close the group has come.

"That was something we were missing last year. When times got tough we went into our shell and started becoming individuals out there.

"This year we are going to be a lot better because we are united as a playing group."

Despite their bitter 2019 finish, Seibold has refused to hit the panic button.

Boasting one of the NRL's most formidable packs featuring Matt Lodge, Tevita Pangai, Payne Haas and David Fifita, Seibold was selective on the player market, simply bolstering the glaring area the Broncos needed to address - their halves.

After the failed experiment of Boyd and regular hooker Jake Turpin in the halves in 2019, Seibold signed former Melbourne playmaker Brodie Croft and asked incumbent fullback Anthony Milford to have another crack at five-eighth.

Glenn reckoned it was a master stroke.

"Crofty will lead the team around the paddock which frees up Milford with his attacking game - I think they will complement each other nicely," he said.

Seibold is also set to re-jig his backline with a rejuvenated Boyd set to feature in the centres and a fit-again Jack Bird challenging Jamayne Isaako for the No.1 jersey.

It was enough to convince Glenn that the six-time premiers were back on track after enduring what is now a 14 year title drought.

Asked what was a 2020 pass mark, Glenn said: "We always aim to be a top four team.

"We can't be happy to just make the eight.

"But we need to be a strong defensive team when times get tough. That is the difference between winning and losing.

"That's where we believe we have improved."

BRISBANE BRONCOS

Finishes over the past three seasons: 2019 - Eighth, 2018 - Sixth, 2017 - Third.

Coach: Anthony Seibold

Captain: Alex Glenn

Key gains: Brodie Croft (Melbourne), Jordan Kahu (North Queensland), Jesse Arthurs (Gold Coast)

Outs: Troy Dargan (South Sydney), Gehamat Shibasaki (Newcastle), Matt Gillett, Shaun Fensom, Sam Tagataese (retired), George Fai, Patrick Mago, James Segeyaro (unsigned).

Best team: 1. Jamayne Isaako, 2. Corey Oates, 3. Kotoni Staggs, 4. Darius Boyd, 5. Xavier Coates, 6. Anthony Milford, 7. Brodie Croft, 8. Matt Lodge, 9. Jake Turpin, 10. Payne Haas, 11. Alex Glenn, 12. David Fifita, 13. Tevita Pangai. Interchange: 14. Jack Bird, 15. Joe Ofahengaue, 16. Pat Carrigan, 17. Thomas Flegler.

Predicted finish: 7th