The Parramatta Eels wiill host the Brisbane Broncos at ANZ Stadium this Friday Night. The home team will be looking to continue their form against the competition heavy weight Broncos, while the Brisbane side will be hungry to hold their top 4 spot. With just six rounds left in the regular season both sides will want to show consistency heading into the finals.
LAST TIME OUT
The Broncos clashed with the Canterbury Bulldogs last round smashing them 42-12 at Suncorp Stadium. The Bulldogs started well defending their line, they found their first four-pointer through Marcelo Montoya on the wing in the opening 7 minutes. The away side looked strong for the first quarter but a break from Brisbane hooker Andrew McCullough running 30 metres on his own to then passing to centre Tautau Moga for their opening points of the night. The flood gates opened after half time, in the 58th minute the Bulldogs who had been defending their line for majority of the match let in 3 tries in 8 minutes. The flying centre James Roberts bagged a double come the end of the game. It was Roberts best performance of the year with 2 tries, 3 line breaks and 6 tackle busts and the score finishing with a dominant 30 point win.
The Parramatta Eels were treated to a hard hitting Wests Tigers side playing better as the week’s progress. Last Sunday afternoon’s fixture was a sight to behold with both sides playing off-the-cuff rugby with the ball going from edge to edge. Eels winger Bevan French found himself over the line in the opening 5 minutes with a well manufactured shift to his side of the field. In the second half a break from winger Semi Radradra had Clint Gutherson in support to crash over for another much needed four pointer, just before 10 minutes was left in the game a cross field bomb from Wests five eighth Tui Lolohea found his winger in Malakai Watene Zelezniak to level it 16 all. A strong set from the Parramatta side had Corey Norman able to slot a low hovering field goal to win the match in the 75th minute.
The clash between the Eels and Broncos will provide a key battle with lock forwards Nathan Brown and Josh McGuire. The pair of forwards have had outstanding seasons and will no doubt be running hard at one another come Friday night.
Eels forward Nathan Brown has been one of the buys of the season, he has lifted to another level since leaving from South Sydney last year. The form of Brown has been incredible he’s one of the factors why the Eels are in contention of a finals berth, not playing finals footy since back in 2009. The lock has since harnessed his tenacity and hard running which back at previous clubs had him wayward and getting in trouble by match officials. Brown has an incredible 32 offloads, averaging 27 tackles as well as 30 damaging tackle breaks across the season. He will be looking at his opposition to get over the top of and tighten up the middle so he can break open the game late as well as provide much needed aggression against an impressive opposition.
Brisbane Broncos and Representative lock forward Josh McGuire has found new light since moving from the front row to that position. The retirement of former teammate Corey Parker has seen McGuire pick up from where he has left showing great impact in games, strong defence in the middle of the field and the ability to tackle break or producing a late offload. The Brisbane forward has been durable and has provided tremendous hit ups in all fixtures, McGuire has averaged 112 run metres so far in the season and with those runs has produced at least 25 tackles a game making him one of the superior forwards the competition has seen in 2017. Being tested in a huge battle between the locks this round McGuire will want to out muscle Nathan Brown while leading from example with his runs and assisting in as many tackles possible to see his side prevail.
This Friday will hold a great competitive match between the Broncos and Eels, both being in the top 8 and keen to continue to climb and hold their spots. The Eels losing their fullback in Clint Gutherson for the season will hold a huge bearing on the rest of their season as he has beenone of their best. Eels will have a huge test to whether or not they can compete against top tier teams in the back end of the season. The Brisbane Broncos will travel to Sydney hoping they can continue their red hot form having only played a top 8 side once in the last month this will also set as a challenge for them. The forwards in this clash will no doubt set the pace and the result of this game, the energy and skill that the Brisbane pack has shown so far this year will be likely too much for the Parramatta team to handle and evidently will see them fade away in the back end of the game.
Broncos by 12
Parramatta Eels v Brisbane Broncos, Friday 28th July, 7.50pm at ANZ Stadium.
Eels: 1. Bevan French 2. Semi Radradra 3. Michael Jennings 4. Brad Takairangi 5. Josh Hoffman 6. Corey Norman 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Siosaia Vave 9. Cameron King 10. Tim Mannah (c) 11. Manu Ma’u 12. Tepai Moeroa 13. Nathan Brown 14. Daniel Alvaro 15. Kenny Edwards 16. Suaia Matagi 17. Will Smith 18. David Gower 19. Peni Terepo 20. Frank Pritchard 21. Kirisome Auva’a
Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd (c) 2. Jonus Pearson 3. James Roberts 4. Tautau Moga 5. Jordan Kahu 6. Anthony Milford 7. Ben Hunt 8. Korbin Sims 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Adam Blair 11. Alex Glenn 12. Matt Gillett 13. Josh McGuire 14. Sam Thaiday 15. Tevita Pangai Junior 16. Joe Ofahengaue 17. Benji Marshall 18. Kodi Nikorima 19. Jai Arrow 20. Herman Ese’ese 21. Jamayne Isaako