Jordan Pereira has labelled Corey Oates and Selwyn Cobbo as two of the best wingers in the competition after the duo each earned representative honours for Queensland off the back of their impressive form for the Broncos last season.
“I’m going up against two of the best wingers in the competition, so I’m just learning from them and seeing what they do that got them there,” Pereira said.
Oates enjoyed a renaissance in 2022, scoring 20 tries for the first time in his near decade-long career.
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Along with Cobbo, who notched 15 tries in 18 appearances, the two formed a devastating partnership which made Brisbane one of the most lethal attacking outfits in the league during certain stretches of the campaign.
Pereira is under no illusion he is behind them in the pecking order at Red Hill but is eager to take the positives out of the situation, as the Broncos seek to address their dramatic loss of form at the business end of the year.
In pre-season, they are focusing on improving their finishing ability in the corner with the game’s best wingers increasingly more adept at contorting their bodies in their approach to the try line.
Kevin Walters and his training staff have the backline narrowing in on perfecting the art of finishing while positioned over the touchline, which Cobbo and Oates are already great at.
“That’s new- we didn’t really do too much of that last year. I didn’t score too many tries myself, so maybe it correlates, and I get over the line a couple more times,” Pereira laughed.
Yet while the Broncos excelled in an attacking sense throughout the season and will be boosted with the addition of Reece Walsh, their record in defence left a lot to be desired.
They conceded 211 points in their final six matches which included just a single victory against the Newcastle Knights.
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Pereira admitted it was up to the players in the backline, particularly those parked out on the wings, to take on greater responsibility and help their teammates in the middle.
This can vary from communication around the counting of opposition offensive numbers, to encouraging a forward to increase their line speed for an effort play to shut down a potential attacking raid.
“If we’re in defence, the main thing I try to say is ‘line speed’ and then it’s counting the numbers,” Pereira said.
“If they’re working really hard from the inside then it stops tries on my wing and I don’t even need to actually do anything.
“It’s easier for me to talk and stop tries that way than actually making a tackle because wingers don’t really like that.”
Pereira highlighted the importance of a symbiotic relationship between the No.1 and his wingers, with the trio constantly needing to help each other out throughout a match.
“If I’m on the short-side and they’ve got five attackers and we’ve only got four defenders, I’m screaming we need another defender. Otherwise, they’re going to score on my wing and I’m going to look like an idiot,” he said.
“Typically, it’s the fullback’s job but obviously the fullback helps us out with our pendulum, catching kicks and talking, so if we help each other in certain aspects, it all pays us back in the end.”
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Pereira noted that sometimes the lack of action out on the touchlines can negatively impact upon a player’s concentration levels, but it is up to them to recognise the advantage they have with time and space to help organise their defensive line.
“On the wing, there are a lot of times during the game where you’re not doing much,” he said.
“There are a lot of times where you’re bringing the ball back and stuff, but it’s the scope of what we can see. We can see a fair portion of the field, so it’s just about relaying that.”
The former St George player will no doubt have to bide his time in 2023, with Oates and Cobbo hoping to take their games to even greater heights.
Yet Pereira is happy to wait in the wings for his chance, while implementing lessons from the duo into his own game.
“We’ve got two Queensland Origin wingers and I can’t play any other position, so I’m going to take the opportunity [to learn off them],” he said.
“It’s great for me. I’m in a good position personally and I’m in a great environment as I really like the club.”