NRL match preview: Brisbane Broncos vs St George Illawarra Dragons

Date:Friday, August 29 2014
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Broncos:1 Justin Hodges (c), 2 Daniel Vidot 3 Jack Reed 4 Dale Copley 5 Lachlan Maranta 6 Ben Barba
7 Ben Hunt 8 Josh McGuire 9 Andrew McCullough 10 Corey Parker (c) 11 Alex Glenn 12 Matt Gillett
13 Sam Thaiday Interchange: 14 Jarrod Wallace 15 Martin Kennedy 16 Ben Hannant 17 Corey Oates 18 Todd Lowrie

Dragons:1 Gerard Beale 2 Brett Morris 3 Josh Dugan 4 Peter Mata’utia 5 Jason Nightingale 6 Gareth Widdop 7 Benji Marshall 8 Ben Creagh (c) 9 Mitch Rein 10 Jack de Belin 11 Leeson Ah Mau 12 Joel Thompson 13 Trent Merrin Interchange: 14 Tyson Frizell 15 Mike Cooper 16 Will Matthews 17 Kyle Stanley 19 Nathan Green 20 Bronson Harrison 25 Jack Stockwell

This is the biggest game of 2014 for both clubs who remain an outside chance of making the finals. Whoever loses won’t be playing finals football and even the winner is no guarantee, but they may sneak in if other results go their way.

Both sides enjoyed easy wins in round 24; the Broncos beat the Knights 48-6 and the Dragons proved too good for the Titans in a 34-6 triumph. The Dragons are in slightly better form, winning 3 of their last 5, while the Broncos have won just two of their last 5.

The Broncos have named an unchanged line up with veteran Justin Hodges lining up at fullback, although Lachlan Maranta may spend some time at the back.The Dragons have added Nathan Green, Jack Stockwell and Bronson Harrison to an extended bench. Benji Marshall and Josh Dugan have been cleared of serious ankle injury and have been named.

This is without doubt the match of the round, with two teams playing for their season, so it should bring out the best in both sides. The Broncos will need to be at their best to contain the likes of Brett Morris, Jason Nightingale and Dugan, while Broncos winger Daniel Vidot will be looking for a big game against his former club. The Dragons haven’t won at Suncorp Stadium since 2009, but with so much to play for, they are set to win in a close one.

Dragons by 4.

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