Brisbane captain Sam Thaiday believes former coach Wayne Bennett had a plan to target the Broncos' big forward pack which backfired on the Newcastle mentor in Friday night's 24-10 NRL win.
Thaiday said the Broncos had anticipated Bennett, who coached Brisbane for 21 seasons up until 2009, would send plenty of traffic up the middle of the field and praised his pack for their resolute defence at Hunter Stadium.
Their task was made even harder by the absence of workaholic lock Corey Parker, who is a defensive rock but will miss up to eight weeks with a thumb injury.
"Wayne thinks we've got those big forwards in our side and teams had come at us, when Wayne was coaching us, up the middle," Thaiday said of Bennett, who coached the Broncos up until 2009.
"And I'm sure that he'd told his boys tonight to come up the middle.
"We really stuck tight and that was a defensive goal for us forwards tonight to stick tight and to really defend with a lot of toughness.
"And we did force a few errors on the Newcastle boys."
Broncos coach Anthony Griffin echoed his skipper's thoughts, praising the efforts of the club's backrow - which included tries to second-rower Alex Glenn and bench forward Matt Gillett.
"I thought we just did a really good job in the middle of the ruck tonight in attack and defence," Griffin said.
Parker is a steadying influence in the Brisbane pack and has one of the highest workrates in the NRL, but he was scarcely missed as prop Ben Hannant put in a man-of-the-match performance making 34 tackles and running for 104 metres.
Hannant also earned high praise in the Broncos locker room for the 106kg prop's effort in valiantly chasing Newcastle winger James McManus on his way to scoring a 99-metre try.
"I think Benny Hannant did all Corey Parker's work tonight," Thaiday said.
"I think he did a 1000 hit ups and 1000 tackles. He was outstanding.
"It just shows that we've got some good depth there.
"When you're missing good players like Corey Parker in your side, there's another good player there that's willing to put his hand up and take over that role."