Penrith planning to play 'Ipswich footy'
IT WAS the secret behind the Ipswich Jets most successful season in history, and Brisbane Broncos enforcer Joe Ofahengaue believes the Penrith Panthers are planning to use it on Friday night.
An Ipswich junior, Ofahengaue has seen how effective the Jets were in using flashy play and deceptive chaos to break down their opposition's defensive structure.
As the Broncos prepare to host ninth-placed Penrith, the young forward has warned his teammates to expect what he calls "Ipswich footy'' from the Panthers.
"Coming up against a team like the panthers they are really unpredictable," Ofahengaue said.
"I've played in a team like that. I've played in Ipswich so I know they kind of play Ipswich footy.
"They move the ball around a lot and they call it risky footy I guess. It works at times and sometimes it doesn't."
Just like Ipswich, the Panthers thrive on broken play and use offloads to terrorise their opposition.
Bryce Cartwright currently leads the NRL in offloads with 52, while teammate Trent Merrin isn't far behind in fourth highest with 38 offloads.
After suffering big losses at the hands of Canterbury and Melbourne, Ofahengaue believes a return to Brisbane's traditionally strong defensive record will be a must against the visitors on Friday night.
"The main thing for us to play our style of football and our style of defence," he said. "They've got a lot of offloads in the team so we need to make sure we are defending the way we have been and wrap the ball up.
"The scariest thing about Bryce is that he can skip across the field and he has a handy offload on him too. That can really jumble up our defence because it makes players want to shoot out at him.
"That's why they do it. It just means we have to be disciplined in our defence."
After a brief stint with Souths Logan during the Origin period, Ofahengaue said he was happy to be back on the bench for Brisbane but would have enjoyed a chance to run out against Ipswich in the Intrust Super Cup competition.
"I know the Jets are one place above us on the ladder," he said.
"I told the Souths boys I loved playing with the team. They are a good bunch of blokes and they just work hard for each other.
"It'd be good to play against some good mates if I got a run against the Jets. To come up against Ben and Shane Walker I think would be pretty fun."
Brisbane and Penrith will enter Suncorp Stadium both looking for a second straight win after the Broncos returned from the bye to defeat a disjointed South Sydney.
Meanwhile, the Panthers bounced back from a defeat at the hands of Cronulla to steal victory from the Parramatta Eels on Sunday.
Brisbane will welcome back captain Corey Parker for Friday night's clash, but an injury cloud still surrounds Matt Gillett and Jordan Kahu, who aggravated a torn pectoral in his first game back against South Sydney.
Fellow State of Origin representatives Matt Moylan and Josh Mansour returned for the Panthers last week. They will look to make up for lost time against Brisbane. The game starts kicks off 7.50pm.