HE’S the big-name recruit suffering a crisis of confidence, but Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin isn’t worried by the form of Ben Barba.
The 2012 Dally M medallist will be desperate to bounce back against Newcastle tonight after back-to-back shockers for the Broncos.
The knives have come out for the fullback after a crucial error late in the 12-8 loss to Gold Coast last weekend.
Leaving a high ball to bounce near the uprights, Barba was then stripped of possession by Titans five-eighth Aidan Sezer, who scored the match-winning try.
After the game, a downcast Barba admitted he needed to lift. But Griffin said the only thing he felt Barba was doing wrong was putting too much pressure on himself.
‘‘He’s doing everything I want him to do,’’ Griffin said.
‘‘Obviously he’s a bit of a hard marker on himself.
‘‘He’s just a member of our side that’s got to do a job.
‘‘That’s the main focus he’s got to have this week.’’
The Broncos will travel to Hunter Stadium with no late changes despite Sam Thaiday leaving training early yesterday due to a tight calf.
Jake Granville will join the squad as 18th man, but Griffin said his presence was nothing more than a precaution.
The Knights have lost prop Kade Snowden to post-concussion symptoms.
Despite Snowden’s omission, Griffin was wary of the Knights after their convincing win in Canberra last week.
‘‘Gidley, Mullen and Boyd at the back are all Origin players, and they’ve got really good outside backs as well with Leilua, Gagai and McManus,’’ he said. ‘‘They’ve got heaps of strike and … they got within a game of playing in the grand final last year. They’re in pretty good form at the moment so it’s going to be a real good test for us.’’
Broncos forward Alex Glenn nominated Willie Mason as the man the visitors needed to stop.
‘‘Big Willie has been a big inspiration for their pack. He will be a key this weekend,’’ Glenn said. ‘‘If we shut him down, it will stop a lot of their momentum. He towers over me, so I have to put some oomph into my defence.’’
Mason has made 100metres in the past three games, including 119metres and 16 tackles in just 37 minutes off the bench in last round’s gutsy win in the capital.
‘‘He’s been around the game for a while; he’s got so much experience,’’ Glenn said.
‘‘He knows where the weaknesses are on the field and takes advantage of that. He is not a gentle man out there.’’
Glenn said Brisbane’s poor form paled in comparison to what the Knights had endured this season.
‘‘I feel for the team. What they have been going through has been pretty horrific,’’ he said.