Broncos training to be the six-minute masters
The Broncos have turned to match simulation methods to keep their season alive, employing six-minute shootouts at training to ensure they don't choke under pressure in the run to the playoffs.
Broncos coach Anthony Seibold has been using a six-minute "shot clock" at Red Hill, forcing Brisbane stars to confront the type of sudden-death situation they may face in Friday night's crucial top-eight clash with Penrith at Suncorp Stadium.
Brisbane players believe their recent match simulation tactics were decisive in holding their nerve to score the last-minute matchwinner which crushed the Cowboys 18-14 in last week's Queensland derby.
Clinging to eighth spot by one competition point, the Broncos now face three weeks of daunting home games against top-eight sides Penrith, Souths and Parramatta before a final-round away trip to Canterbury.
With their games certain to go down to the wire in the final weeks, the Broncos are mentally steeling themselves for the desperate dying minutes that can make or break a premiership campaign.
"The last few weeks we have been doing match simulation stuff," said hooker James Segeyaro, who plays his 150th NRL game against his former club the Panthers tomorrow.
"Even when we were down (14-12) against the Cowboys, I had confidence we could still win because there were six minutes to go and we've been working on those final minutes at training.
"Seibs sets a clock. He will say, 'Ok, guys it's 12-all with six minutes to go, we have two or three sets to score to win the game'.
"We'll then work through our sets and try to score to win the game.
"It's all about re-creating those pressure scenarios at training to help you mentally for those big moments when it matters in games.
"In those final six minutes, we try to play some football and it teaches you to keep communicating, stay calm and keep your attacking width to try and win the game.
"Every game for us now is do or die. Games over the next few weeks will come down to field goals or extra-time, so it's important we work on how to close out games."
At training on Wednesday, Seibold set the clock to the final six minutes with Brisbane trailing 16-14 on the scoreboard.
It could be the very scoreline they confront tomorrow night at Suncorp against a Panthers side charging to the finals after eight wins from their past 10 games.
Earlier this season, Brisbane badly botched a late set in round five against the Tigers.
With scores locked 16-all, Brisbane failed to set-up properly for a field goal attempt and the Tigers scored 60 seconds later to steal victory.
"That's why Seibs has got us doing this," centre Kotoni Staggs said.
"If we come into a tight game and there is six minutes to go, we have to look at the clock and think we have done six minutes at training, so we know how to handle these six minutes.
"The key is not getting too frustrated and playing what's in front of us. It definitely helped us against the Cowboys last week."
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