In round 12 of the NRL Telstra Premiership, the Brisbane Broncos will host the Parramatta Eels at Suncorp Stadium this Friday night. The Broncos will be looking to enter the top eight with a win, while the Eels will need to win 11 of their last 13 games to make a run to the finals.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
Coming off a loss to the Sea Eagles a week earlier, the Broncos once again needed to pull out a great performance to reassure their fans of their post season credentials. Both sides traded tries in the first half, with a mere conversion separating them in a tight contest, 12-10 at half time to the Roosters. Both sides were even in terms of possession, but what hurt the Roosters was their level of mistakes which led to them only completing 71 percent of their sets compared to the Broncos’ 82 percent. The dropping of Jack Bird opened the door for rookie Kotoni Staggs to make an impression, and he did so with a great performance on both sides of the ball highlighted by a great solo try. The Roosters seemed to have locked the game up with two quick tries putting them up by six with just under 10 minutes left. However James Roberts created a try out of nothing with a blistering 70 metre run on the right wing, which leveled the scores. A reckless tackle from Dylan Napa on Korbin Sims saw him sent to the bin, and a few minutes Jamayne Isaako took advantage of broken defence and scored another dazzling try for the Broncos – this one securing a win for the home side, 28-20.
The Eels hosted the Warriors last Friday night, in a contest that seemed plausible for them to win given the Warriors injuries at the time. However, their disappointing season looked to continue as the visitors raced out to an early lead, and did so without Captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and playmaker Shaun Johnson. Two tries within the first 20 minutes to David Fusitu’a and Peta Hiku was helped by poor defence from the Eels out wide. Both sides were relatively even with mistakes and penalties, in what turned out to be an underwhelming first half. Warriors’ youngster Isaiah Papali’I was sent to the bin just before the break, giving the Eels a glimmer of hope to start a comeback. They took advantage with a try to Clint Gutherson in the 43rd minute, and trimming the lead to just four. Another try for Parramatta through Manu Ma’u gave them a two point lead, but when needed the Warriors kicked into gear in the final 13 minutes to score twice through Jazz Tevaga and Isaac Luke, confirming a 24-14 win for the Warriors.
Jordan Kahu returns for the Broncos and will start at left centre, seeing Kotoni Staggs moving to the bench. George Fai replaces Korbin Sims who is out with a broken jaw, and Josh McGuire is named in the reserves and a chance of playing.
Brad Arthur has swapped Clint Gutherson and Corey Norman in an attempt to revitalise his teams’ performances. Beau Scott is out with a season-ending ACL injury, with Siosaia Vave starting in the front row.
The left wingers for both sides will be huge components for each side’s attack, making for a key battle out wide.
Corey Oates is no stranger to tries and has been the main scoring weapon for the Broncos in 2018 so far. On top of his try scoring ability, Oates has been a handy ball runner out of back field with his big frame and strength making him tough to tackle. Bevan French on the other hand features the opposite qualities to Oates – great pace and footwork, making him one of the more elusive wingers in the game. French’s form has been trending upwards with three tries in his last three games for Parramatta.
Broncos’ veteran Sam Thaiday said he expects the Eels to turn up this Thursday evening, adding the injury list has allowed young guys to show their talents.
Eels coach Brad Arthur said that the change of Clint Gutherson in the halves and moving Corey Norman to fullback is a ‘why not’ and adding that it does not change the team’s game plan. Arthur said he wants to see the spine to have fun and nail their roles.
The Eels have won four of the past six games against the Broncos in Brisbane, including an emphatic 52-34 win in round 25 last year.
Broncos: 1 Darius Boyd (c), 2 Corey Oates, 3 James Roberts, 4 Jordan Kahu, 5 Jamayne Isaako, 6 Anthony Milford, 7 Kodi Nikorima, 8 Matthew Lodge, 9 Andrew McCullough, 10 Sam Thaiday, 11 Tevita Pangai Jr., 12 Jaydn Su’A, 13 Joe Ofahengaue Interchange: 14 Sam Tagataese, 15 George Fai, 16 Kotoni Staggs, 17 Patrick Mago Reserves: 18 Tom Opacic, 19 Troy Dargan, 20 Josh McGuire, 21 David Fifita
Eels: 1 Corey Norman, 2 Bevan French, 3 Michael Jennings, 4 Brad Takairangi, 5 George Jennings, 6 Clint Gutherson (c), 7 Mitchell Moses, 8 Daniel Alvaro, 9 Cameron King, 10 Siosaia Vave, 11 Manu Ma’u, 12 Tepai Moeroa, 13 Peni Terepo Interchange: 14 Will Smith, 15 Suaia Matagi, 16 David Gower, 17 Marata Niukore Reserves: 18 Raymond Stone, 19 Jaeman Salmon, 20 Kane Evans, 21 Josh Hoffman
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Thursday 24th May 2018
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kickoff: 7:50 pm (AEDT)
Match Officials: Ashley Klein, Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski (assistant)
WHO WILL WIN?
The Broncos form is far too patchy to confidentially say they will take this one out. Their win over the Roosters showed once again though they can pull a win out of the bag courtesy of their talented players. The Eels have slim hopes of making the finals, so they will have to take advantage what will be considered an easier game. Whether it is easier or not, travelling up to Brisbane and winning given how 2018 has gone for the blue and gold seems unlikely. At home for a second week and the return of Kahu should boost Brisbane’s chances and morale. Broncos by 6.