Broncos out to prove they are among NRL's best

·2-min read
Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS

Brisbane want to break a six-year trend but coach Kevin Walters says even a loss to Penrith won't dent their belief they belong in the conversation with the NRL's best teams.

The Broncos host the two-time defending premiers at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday night, having beaten them 13-12 in a March season opener.

That victory set the tone for Walters' side, who are 8-3 and occupied top spot until overpowered by Melbourne last weekend.

They were also outmanoeuvred by South Sydney a fortnight earlier but Walters said they was no doubt at Red Hill around the credentials of a side set to end a club record three-year finals drought.

"Yeah definitely, that's not a question mark in anyone's head here," he said.

"We've shown we're a very good side ... faced some adversity and come through.

"It's not a worry (if we lose to Penrith) we're still learning. We're getting better and win or lose we'll get plenty out of the game."

Brisbane haven't beaten the Panthers twice in the same season since 2017 and will have their work cut out given captain and halfback Adam Reynolds' (concussion) omission.

He was assisted from the field early in the side's loss to the Storm, while Payne Haas and Ezra Mam were suspended when the Broncos lost to the Rabbitohs.

Jock Madden will play in the halves alongside Mam on Thursday, while Reece Walsh will also be a fresh task for Penrith after he missed their season-opening win.

Madden was alongside Reynolds against Souths and battled to have an influence, particularly in attack.

"Just get himself into the game a bit more," Walters said of his advice to Madden.

"We've got great faith in what he can bring to the team and guys like Ezra and Reece stepping up without their general leader there, it'll be a good experience for those boys as well.

"Patty Carrigan as well ... I thought last week they did a great job between them all and Jock wasn't there so he'll add more."

Walters welcomed the NRL's attempt to clarify ambiguity around the controversial hip-drop tackle this week after Pat Carrigan was sin-binned for performing the act, but not charged by the match review committee.

"In fairness to the NRL they have tried to fix things up," he said.

"We get it wrong as coaches, players and referees and bunker are going to get it wrong.

"They need to get it right when it matters ... we expect our players to get better and I'm sure they're working hard to be better."

The Panthers will field the same side that dominated the Sydney Roosters last weekend.

Brisbane club great Steve Renouf will lead the side out on Thursday as part of the NRL's Indigenous Round celebrations.