A Queensland derby closes out Good Friday, with the younger brother Titans travelling up the M1 to take on the Broncos. Brisbane’s 32-8 win over the Roosters gives them a boost after a few close games, while the Titans are still looking for win number two in what is panning out to be a long, tough season for them.
LAST TIME OUT
Coming off a surprising 10-7 loss to the Bulldogs, the Broncos needed to kick into gear at Suncorp last Thursday, and had a tough task at that to please the fans. The Roosters had only lost one game and entered in good form with halves Pearce and Keary as well as new-comer Michael Gordon playing well. Brisbane started well early on, with Andrew McCullough scoring within five minutes in some good attacking sets. The Broncos had the bulk of possession in the first quarter of the game, but a run against play saw Mitch Aubusson score in the corner, followed by a Blake Ferguson try minutes later in the same spot to make it 8-8. Brisbane managed to make it 14-8 at half time, and from their never looked back. Their offensive output was tremendous in the second half and had the Rooster left edge in defence, in particular, on the ropes. Ben Hunt’s injury is a huge loss, though Milford looked good in the final 20 minutes, and his prior experience playing with Kodi Nikorima will be a boost for Brisbane. The Broncos were efficient with the ball and committed only six errors in total.
The Titans took on a red hot Raiders side that was looking for their third straight win. The Titans were simply not in it, regardless of being within four points at one stage; the Raiders had this game in the bag from the start. Statically the Raiders were brilliant in the first half, with an 89 percent completion rate while and a Jordan Rapana hat trick gave them a comfortable 26-10 advantage. They were very efficient with the ball in hand, and had a third of the total errors the Titans had for the entire game. Three more tries scored in the second half secured a 42-16 victory with efficient plays and great ball control. The Titans struggled to pull together any sort of attacking sets, and all three of their tries were scored against the run of play. They accounted for 600 fewer metres in terms of running than the Raiders, and defensively could not handle the right edge of the Raiders and their powerhouse attack overall. The Titans will have to start fast, as they have struggled to be the better team early on in games this year, putting them on the back foot early.
The Titans boast a talented forward pack, led by Captain Ryan James, and he will go head to head with the Broncos enforcer Adam Blair.
A man that has been filled with controversy much of his career; Adam Blair has resurrected himself at Brisbane and continues to be their hard hitting, limit-pushing prop forward. Blair’s defensive ability is brilliant, and closing down the opposition is a quality that is rarely rivalled in today’s game. Isolating Ash Taylor will be a key for the Broncos, and Blair is the man to do so.
Ryan James on the other hand is a mellower player, who simply wants to get the job done. Arguably being one of the more underrated forwards in the game in terms of work rate and the heart he puts in, James has struggled with his side this year in leading them to consistent wins. The Titans will need some motivation in the middle, given their thin backline, and James as always will need to be the leader from the front. His strong ball running and hard hitting will need to be a boost to make up for the absence of Kevin Proctor.
It may be a lucky thing for the Titans that Hayne is still injured considering their better play when he is not on the field, but it really does not matter coming into this one. Wayne Bennett said his side was nowhere near their best until round five, so logically we should see the best Broncos games in the near future. The Titans simply do not have the class or culture to compare to Brisbane.
Broncos by 12
Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd 2. Corey Oates 3. James Roberts 4. Tautau Moga 5. Jordan Kahu 6. Anthony Milford 7. Kodi Nikorima 8. Korbin Sims 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Adam Blair 11. Sam Thaiday 12. Matt Gillett 13. Josh McGuire 14. Alex Glenn 15. Tevita Pangai 16. Herman Essese 17. David Mead 18. Todd Murphy 19. George Fai 20. Jamayne Isaako 21. Joe Ofahengaue
Titans: 1. Tyrone Roberts 2. Anthony Don 3. Dale Copley 4. Konrad Hurrell 5. Tyrone Roberts-Davis 6. Kane Elgey 7. Ashley Taylor 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Nathan Peats 10. Ryan James 11. Chris McQueen 12. Chris Grevsmuhl 13. Ryan Simpkins 14. Karl Lawton 15. Max King 16. Paterika Vaivai 17. Leivaha Pulu 18. Joe Greenwood 19. Daniel Vidot 20. Dan Sarginson 21. Morgan Boyle