Brisbane captain Darius Boyd is adamant Friday's NRL clash against South Sydney is much more than about the return of ex-Broncos coach Wayne Bennett.
All eyes will be on Bennett after Souths' loss to Canterbury left the seven-time premiership winner implying his team's title hopes are on life-support.
The Bunnies are out of the top four after their seventh loss from their past 10 games and their captain Sam Burgess (quad) is again battling to prove his fitness.
By contrast the Broncos have climbed to seventh on the ladder after last Friday's win over Penrith and will be out to boost their own finals hopes against their former mentor.
Boyd says there's enough riding on the match for the identity of the opposition coach to be of relevance to him and his team.
"We have a great relationship but footy's footy and you want to get the win, he'll want to get the win and then afterwards you can speak about it and whatever," Boyd said.
"It's like when you play your mates when they're playing on the field instead of a coach. You have a bit of cameraderie, you have a bit of a chat, you might give each other a bit of a spray but it's all a game and a bit of fun at the end of it.
"At the end of the day Souths will want to get back on to winning ways and we need a win in front of our home crowd to get us as far as we can get up the ladder. It's a really important game for both sides."
The Broncos will have to make changes of their own this Friday with Tavita Pangai Junior only going to be able to play if he successfully challenges a grade two dangerous contact charge at the judiciary during the week.
Makeshift half Jake Turpin will also miss out due to suspension while winger Corey Oates failed to finish training on Monday and appeared to be struggling with an upper leg injury.
Veteran backrower Matt Gillett is poised to return while Sean O'Sullivan trained at halfback on Monday and is expected to slot in for Turpin.
Rugby union recruit Izaia Perese looms as Oates' likely replacement if the Queensland representative's injury proves serious.
"He's just a calm head out there," Boyd said of Gillett.
"Tavita's been playing some great footy there but I think sometimes when they're out of mind you forget what some people can do and Gillo's a big part of this team."
Australian Associated Press