Home team: Ben Barba, Daniel Vidot, Jack Reed, Justin Hodges, Dale Copley, Josh Hoffman, Ben Hunt, Josh McGuire, Andrew McCullough, Corey Parker, Alex Glenn, Sam Thaiday, Matt Gillett. Interchange: Martin Kennedy, Todd Lowrie, Ben Hannant, Lachlan Maranta, Jarrod Wallace, Corey Oates
Away team: Jarryd Hayne, Semi Radradra, William Hopoate, Willie Tonga, Ken Sio, Corey Norman, Chris Sandow, Tim Mannah, Nathan Peats, Fuifui Moimoi, Ken Edwards, Manu Ma’u, Joseph Paulo. Interchange: Peni Terepo, Mitchell Allgood, David Gower, Pauli Pauli
Parramatta Eels are the whipping boys of the NRL no more.
Despite being pummelled from upright to upright when they met the Roosters earlier this year, the Eels have shown they can mix it with the best teams in the competition, going close to toppling Manly at Fortress Brookvale, before giving it to the Panthers last week with a 32-16 win.
The Brisbane Broncos are on a team on the rise again, after falling from their powerhouse spot as one of the most consistently dominant team in rugby league over the last couple of years.
The Broncos find themselves second on the ladder winning three from their first four games, including a powerful display against St. George Dragons last week.
Heading to their clash at Suncorp Stadium on Friday, both teams can be confident in their form.
The advantage for the Broncos in the encounter, is the return of a couple of stars to add to their already performing playing roster.
Justin Hodges and Ben Hannant will be added to the Broncos side, giving the Brisbane team added fire.
In order to fit Hodges in at Centre, Coach Anthony Griffen has moved Dale Copley to the wing, and Lachlan Maranta to the interchange bench.
While starting on the bench isn’t what any football player desires it may be blessing in disguise for young Maranta, who now avoids facing the big Parramatta winger Semi Radradra, who is proving almost unstoppable this season, having scored four tries to be equal leading try scorer.
The successful return of halfback Chris Sandow last week will also have the Eels fans feeling confident, the number seven looking enthusiastic and seemingly enjoying his football again as shown by his infectious smile.
While both teams have had wins in their last start, it is the way the Brisbane side are winning that could prove a difficult challenge to overcome for the Parramatta side, with the Broncos forwards busting teams up the middle of their park, with four of their forwards making more than 100m in their last start.
Conversely, the Eels had just two players making over the 100m mark.
So while the Eels backline is firing and Hayne finding his best form, the key to the match will be how the Eels frontline can handle their opposite numbers.
It is here that the battle will be lost and won.
Brisbane by 8
/ 3 weeks ago
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