Broncos' bash brothers to ready for Panthers powerhouse
Brisbane "Bash Brothers" Tevita Pangai Jr and David Fifita are primed to silence Viliame Kikau as the Panthers powerhouse prepares to send the Broncos crashing out of the top eight on Friday night.
Pangai Jr has kept Brisbane's season alive with his dangerous offloads and the Tongan international faces one of his biggest tests when he collides with Fijian firebrand Kikau at Suncorp Stadium.
Kikau traditionally wreaks havoc on Penrith's left edge, pitting him against Pangai Jr, but the 120kg monster embarked on some right-side raids against Cronulla last week, meaning Fifita must also be on guard.
Fifita and Pangai Jr are Brisbane's two most dynamic forwards but they will meet their match in the destructive Kikau, who is hellbent on igniting Penrith's title charge and derailing Brisbane's finals hopes.
The Panthers can cement a finals spot by beating the Broncos and Fifita admits he and Pangai Jr must stop Cyclone Kikau following his return from suspension last week.
"Kikau is a big boy so we (he and Pangai Jr) have to do a job on him," said Queensland Origin star Fifita.
"Tevita is one of the best back-rowers in the game, he has so much strength and a dangerous offload.
"He is a strong weapon for us on the edge, he gives us a heap of momentum with his offloads and we're playing off the back of that.
"It will be a good match-up against Kikau."
Currently clinging to eighth spot on 21 competition points, one behind Penrith, the Broncos must dispose of Kikau's resurgent Panthers to stave off finals challenges from Cronulla, Wests Tigers and the Warriors.
Kikau is Penrith's most dangerous forward weapon. The former Cowboys under-20s young gun is averaging 123 metres per game and has amassed 51 tackle busts, including 10 in a single match on two occasions this season.
But Brisbane have the ability to fight fire with fire in Pangai Jr and Fifita, the latter registering 57 tackle busts, plus three rampaging solo tries in the past five weeks since completing his debut Origin campaign.
Fifita sparked Brisbane's fightback in last week's desperate 18-14 derby defeat of the Cowboys.
With Brisbane trailing 12-6 with 15 minutes left to play, Fifita crashed past three defenders to level scores and knows he must maintain the rage against the Panthers with the Broncos walking a finals tightrope.
"Playing Origin has really helped me," said Fifita, who played all three games for the Maroons this year.
"It was one of the best things to happen in my life. I learnt a lot from that series, and now I want to come back and play my best football for the Broncos.
"We have spoken about the finals and down the track that's where we want to be, but Penrith is another big test for us."
Broncos hooker and former Panther James Segeyaro is wary of the Kikau threat.
"They are building momentum and he (Kikau) is a massive weapon," Segeyaro said. "We have to be better than we were against the Cowboys."
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