FORMER Sunshine Coast junior and Roosters rake Jake Friend is lamenting what could have been after Friday night's 31-12 preliminary final loss to the Broncos.
Friend said the boys from Bondi had no answer to the Broncos' onslaught, which hinged on the dominance of their forwards.
"The Broncos rolled our middle ... they were better than us," Friend said yesterday.
"I thought we had parts when we got our game on and then we did come back just before half-time there, but those parts of our games weren't long enough."
Broncos hard men and fellow former Sunshine Coast juniors Matt Gillett and Jack Reed were superb throughout the encounter in helping Brisbane to its first grand final since 2006.
The Broncos have a formidable grand final record, having won all six deciders they have contested.
Halfback Ben Hunt led the team around the park with precision on Friday night and was almost speechless at the prospect of taking part in his first grand final.
"I am still trying to get my head around the emotions," he said.
"It is extremely exciting and to get to the big one now is great, but we can't get ahead of ourselves."
Brisbane centre Justin Hodges was put on report for a lifting tackle on Aidan Guerra and could miss the grand final - his final match before retirement.
A grade-one dangerous throw charge carries a 125-point base penalty and Hodges has a previous offence that carries a 20% loading.
Hunt said Hodges would be sorely missed should he be rubbed out of the big dance.
"You want your best players on the field every week and Hodgo is one of our best," he said.
"It is going to be his last game at the club and if he doesn't get through that it is going to be extremely disappointing, but we just have to see how it goes."
Roosters coach Trent Robinson said he looked forward to seeing Hodges run out at the former Olympic stadium next Sunday.
"It would be tough (to miss the grand final)," Robinson said.
"I hope he gets his fairytale and gets to play."
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