David Shillington April 13, 2012
At around 9.15pm tonight, the Canberra Raiders will have a more accurate indication of just how well we are travelling.
Sure we've won three games from six matches but the three teams we've beaten - the Warriors, Tigers and Titans - are all down on confidence and near the bottom of the ladder.
The Broncos in Brisbane is by far the biggest test we've had to date, and the players view it as a great chance to win back some respect.
If we can win in front of 30,000 fans wearing maroon and yellow at Suncorp, we'll turn a few heads and start to get some respect back around the place.
We played pretty well against the Warriors last week, but we all know we need to take it to a new level to compete with the Broncos.
In the lead-up to the Warriors game the leadership group met to discuss how to address our hot and cold starts so far this year.
We're yet to win two games in a row, and striving for consistency is something we've really tried to ram home to the younger players this week. We were very ordinary against the Cowboys a fortnight ago, and our coach David Furner put a fair rocket up us at half-time and after the game as well.
He also later showed us a few clips of the lack of effort and urgency and desperation at times.
It was pretty obvious watching the clips, and from the players' point of view they realised it was an embarrassing loss and people weren't prepared mentally.
We spoke about that last week and drove that point home to the boys before the Warriors game, and it seemed to work well.
A lot has been said and written about the Broncos receiving seven day breaks between matches after playing all their games on Fridays.
It's a nice luxury to have I guess and if I was a Broncos player I wouldn't be complaining, but it doesn't necessarily suggest they're better off because of their bigger turnaround.
We're used to having a varying length of time between games, because we have a lot of Saturday night and Monday games.
The Broncos will be a much stiffer test than the Warriors were, and if you start dragging excuses into the game against such a quality team, we'll give ourselves no chance.
I know when I play games I look at who the front-rowers are for the opposition straight away, and the Broncos have one of the most physical packs in the business.
Every week you want to get over the other props for the benefit of your team, but I know when representative selections come up these games are an audition for that.
You want to prove yourself against great players like Sam Thaiday, Ben Hannant and Petero Civoniceva, and there's no doubt I'm desperate to reclaim my Queensland jersey after being denied last year through injury.
- David Shillington plays prop for the Canberra Raiders