IT IS not often the Broncos go into a game against "little brother" the Cowboys as the underdogs.
But after scraping into the finals in eighth place, that's the exact scenario confronting Brisbane in the lead-up to Saturday night's elimination final in Townsville.
It's a tag Broncos halfback Peter Wallace doesn't mind.
Wallace rates the Cowboys so highly, he believes they and Manly are the standout premiership contenders.
The Cowboys have won six of their past eight games, while the Broncos limped into the finals with just two wins in this period.
"They're (the Cowboys) probably up there with the likes of Manly. I'd rate them two the highest at the moment with the way they're going," Wallace said.
"Their all-round game's been good. They've got strike weapons all over the park, their outside backs are going great, their forwards are big and strong, and their defence is going well."
Wallace started the year in dynamic form, with many believing he could have worn the New South Wales No.7 jumper instead of the Roosters' Mitchell Pearce if not for injury.
He has failed to have the same impact over the past eight weeks, with his team averaging less than 13 points per game in that time.
Wallace did, however, have a bigger impact in Friday night's 19-12 win over the Panthers. He combined well with five-eighth Corey Norman and fullback Josh Hoffman to pick up man of the match honours.
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