The Brisbane Broncos head off to the old dart in search of regaining some of the form they lost during last year’s competition, while their opponents Warrington will be looking to come up against the best in order to ready themselves for a long season ahead. Brisbane and England coach Wayne Bennett will also have his eyes fixated as he prepares his squad for the upcoming Rugby League World Cup.
LAST TIME OUT
This will be the first time these two sides clash, however it won’t be the first time they compete in the World Club Series. In 2015 the Broncos just scraped past the Wigan Warriors, winning after a controversial penalty goal, while the Wire went down to the St George Illawarra Dragons by a converted try. In the 2016 series Brisbane had a rematch against the Warriors, this time winning by 30 points in a classic Broncos shellacking.
In their first match of the 2017 Betfred Super League, Warrington lost 20 points to 12 against the Catalan Dragons after being reduced to 12 men and giving away a glutton of possession and penalties.
The Broncos have yet to play any competitive 13-a-side football this season so this will be a good test to see where they are at compared to this time last year.
Don’t be surprised to see some former NRL stars make the big plays for the Wolves this season. The likes of Kurt Gidley, the returning Mike Cooper and Ashton Sims are all key members of the squad and will be looking to show their wares against the Broncos this weekend.
Halfback Kevin Brown will make his first appearance with the club while veteran Ben Westwood will give the team a much needed boost having confirmed to play his first game since the Challenge Cup last August.
Popgun hooker Daryl Clark looms as an attacking weapon for the wire, while they will unfortunately miss the impact of prop Chris Hill, outside back Stefan Ratchford and backrower Ben Currie due to injury, which will be a massive blow.
Brisbane on the other hand have been able to name a near full strength squad, barring new signing Benji Marshall who has withdrawn from injury.
Forwards Josh McGuire and Sam Thaiday will lace on the boots for the first time in 2017, while Darius Boyd will play his first Broncos game with the © next to his name.
The game will also provide competition for the retired Corey Parker’s coveted #13 jersey, as well as the absent Adam Blair’s front row spot, while all eyes will be on how halfback Ben Hunt performs after he signed a lucrative offer to join St George Illawarra from next year.
New face David Mead will don the maroon and gold for the first time in his career, however besides that it is a fairly standard Broncos line up, and no doubt they will be looking to put Warrington to the sword with their exciting attacking footy.
While both sides are missing a few key men, the Broncos line up just oozes a class above not only most NRL sides, but most of the Super League sides too. I can see a similar score line to the Broncos result last year, and that’s no disrespect to Warrington, but their injuries and absences will really hurt them.
If the Broncos forwards get a roll on they’ll be very hard to stop with the support play of Hunt, Anthony Milford and Darius Boyd. The Wire get a bit of composure with the likes of Kev Brown, Daryl Clark and Kurt Gidley, but the bucking’ Broncs will be too much.
Broncos by 24