Date: Saturday April 25 (ANZAC Day)
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Broncos: 1 Lachlan Maranta 2 Corey Oates 3 Jack Reed 4 Dale Copley 5 Daniel Vidot 6 Anthony Milford 7 Ben Hunt 8 Josh McGuire 9 Andrew McCullough 10 Adam Blair 11 Matt Gillett 12 Sam Thaiday 13 Corey Parker. Interchange: 14 Jarrod Wallace 15 Francis Molo 16 Mitchell Dodds 17 Kodi Nikorima.
Eels: 1 Reece Robinson 2 Bureta Faraimo 3 Will Hopoate 4 Brad Takairangi 5 John Folau 6 Corey Norman 7 Chris Sandow 8 Darcy Lussick 9 Nathan Peats 10 Tim Mannah 11 Manu Ma’u 12 David Gower 13 Anthony Watmough. Interchange: 14 Isaac De Gois 15 Joseph Paulo 16 Danny Wicks 17 Peni Terepo 18 Richie Fa’aoso.
The final National Rugby League clash on ANZAC Day will see Brisbane Broncos host Parramatta Eels at Suncorp Stadium.
Brisbane will go in as favourites despite their loss to St George-Illawarra Dragons on Friday night in Sydney. Justin Hodges played forty-one minutes last week before succumbing to a hamstring problem. Wayne Bennett has opted to play Lachlan Maranta at full-back this week. Alex Glenn also misses this game with facial injuries giving Sam Thiaday a second row berth. Adam Blair to start up front. Jarrod Wallace is back from suspension. Reports suggest Darius Boyd is closer to returning from a pre-season Achilles injury. James Gavet (season) and Jordan Kahu (hamstring) are the only other injury concerns aside from Hodges and Boyd.
Parramatta come into this match after an away win in Newcastle last Sunday. In team news Darcy Lussick returns to the side with Richie Fa’aoso out. Danny Wicks will start from the bench. Reece Robinson will play at fullback with Will Hopoate to play in the centres and John Folau on the wing. The Eels have season ending injuries to Kenny Edwards, Kaysa Pritchard and Beau Champion. Semi Radradra and Brad Takairangi should be back shortly from knee injuries while Vai Toutia is due back in five weeks from an ankle problem.
With rep round approaching there’s been no bigger game for Sam Thiaday. Against the Roosters he was brilliant facing off against Jared Waerea-Hargreaves. It will be interesting the approach Australian selectors take considering he’s been out of favour with Bennett. Ben Hunt will also be keeping up the pressure with a fit Cooper Cronk and Daly Cherry-Evans putting the Broncos halfback under pressure to retain his Australian jumper.
The forecast is for fine conditions and this will hopefully suit the back lines. Dale Copley could be one to benefit from the running game as he battles with gun Eel Will Hopoate in the centres. Reece Robinson will be the one to watch for the visitors with his lightening pace from the back. Hunt will have to make sure he doesn’t provide an easy kick return option for the fullback.
Parramatta’s record in Brisbane since 2010 has been fantastic winning three of four games. In their latest duel at Suncorp on April 4 last year they won 25-18. But this is a different Broncos outfit in 2015 compared to last season. They’ve played six times on ANZAC Day, winning four with one loss and a draw in 1999 against the Cowboys. Last year they lost to South Sydney 26-28.
Prediction Brisbane to redeem themselves for last week’s loss by 8 points.