Broncos can't wait for bogey side Storm visit: Walters

Colin Whelan/AAP PHOTOS

Storm clouds are coming to Brisbane and Broncos coach Kevin Walters is thunderstruck with excitement about the prospect.

That excitement may be hard for outside observers to understand given that the Melbourne Storm have beaten the Broncos in their last 13 encounters. The last time Brisbane beat Melbourne was a 26-16 away win in 2016.

The most recent occasion the Broncos prevailed over the Storm at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium was a 16-14 victory in 2009. 

The Broncos, on top of the table, host their bogey team on Thursday night at Suncorp Stadium in the final round of the NRL when a win will wrap up their first minor premiership since 2000.

They will also likely be without centre Kotoni Staggs, after he was hit with a grade-two dangerous contact charge on Jordan Rapana in the 29-18 win over Canberra on Saturday.

Staggs can accept a one-game ban, allowing him to return in time for finals.

Regardless of the Broncos' record, Walters is even enthused about playing the fourth-placed Storm again at some stage in the finals. 

"I think that would be fantastic," he said.

"Two games against the Storm in a couple of weeks, how exciting is that? I'm serious. They have been the benchmark for a long time and you want to play against the best teams."

Walters' comments are no doubt a message to his team not to be daunted or fearful.

The past does not make good reading for the Broncos, particularly against the Storm at Suncorp Stadium where the Craig Bellamy-coached side have won their last 12 against Brisbane.

To provide context, Ivan Henjak was the Broncos coach and Darren Lockyer, retired for 12 years now, was the captain in the win over Melbourne on March 20, 2009.

Current star Broncos prop Payne Haas was nine years old. Kevin Rudd was the Prime Minister of Australia during his first stint. Ricky Ponting was Test cricket captain.

None of the players who will take the field on Thursday night had played an NRL game in 2009. Most of them were still at primary or high school.

Last year the Storm came to Suncorp and put the cleaners through the Broncos in a 60-12 walloping.

"It was a good lesson on how to play rugby league for our boys," Walters said after that loss.

This year the Broncos have learned those lessons. Their defence has become steely, instead of leaky, and they are not intimidated by any side. 

That was evidenced in the win over Canberra without injured captain Adam Reynolds (calf) and forward leader Patrick Carrigan (foot).

"I don't think Reynolds or Carrigan will be available (against Melbourne) so we've got to have full confidence in the group that they will go out next week and get a similar result," Walters said. 

Storm coach Bellamy, a former Broncos assistant coach under Wayne Bennett, is a master at getting his side ready for any clash with Brisbane.

In the past the Broncos have failed to handle Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster, who always seems to play his best football against Brisbane.