With both sides keeping their seasons alive with victories last week, the Brisbane Broncos host the New Zealand Warriors who will be looking to avenge their 8-2 defeat in Round 11.
Team Form Guide
The Broncos have been lacking in confidence but looked sharp in their win over the Cronulla Sharks. The forwards, led by Tevita Pangai Junior controlled the tempo of the match and allowed their young backline to test the Sharks edge defence, and their fans will be expected more of the same this week.
Handling errors were a concern last week, and the Broncos will need to show the ball more respect this week.
New Zealand Warriors
The Warriors were expected to defeat an under strength Newcastle Knights side, but they had to work for it in what was an enjoyable match to watch that was unfortunately talked about more for the official’s performance than the actual contest itself. The Warriors were slow starters last week but surged back into the match on the back of their giant winger Ken Maumalo.
The New Zealand side need to come out of the gates firing this week as another slow start may be their undoing.
The Broncos welcome back their State of Origin stars as Corey Oates, David Fifita and Joe Ofahengaue all named. Anthony Milford returns from injury, and Jake Turpin replaces Sean O’Sullivan in the halves, and Herbie Farnworth moves to the centres, replacing the injured Gehamet Shibasaki.
Brisbane Broncos 22-Man Team List: 1. Anthony Milford, 2. Corey Oates, 3. Kotoni Staggs, 4. Herbie Farnworth, 5. Xavier Coates, 6. Darius Boyd, 7. Jake Turpin, 8. Matthew Lodge, 9. Andrew McCullough, 10. Payne Haas, 11. Alex Glenn, 12. Tevita Pangai Junior, 13. Thomas Flegler, 14. James Segeyaro, 15. Joe Ofahengaue, 16. David Fifita, 17. Patrick Carrigan, 18. Keenan Palasia, 19. Rhys Kennedy, 20. Cory Paix, 21. Jamayne Isaako, 22. Izaia Perese
New Zealand Warriors
Only two changes for the New Zealand side as Issac Luke replaces the injured Karl Lawton as the starting hooker and Chanel Harris-Tevita replaces Luke on the bench.
New Zealand Warriors 21-Man Team List: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 2. David Fusitu’a, 3. Peta Hiku, 4. Gerard Beale, 5. Ken Maumalo, 6. Kodi Nikorima, 7. Blake Green, 8. Agnatius Paasi, 9. Issac Luke, 10. Leeson Ah Mau, 11. Adam Blair, 12. Isaiah Papali’i, 13. Jazz Tevaga, 14. Lachlan Burr, 15. Sam Lisone, 16. Bunty Afoa, 17. Chanel Harris-Tavita, 18. Hayze Perham, 20. Blake Ayshford, 21. Ligi Sao, 23. Leivaha Pulu
Head to Head
Played: 44, Brisbane 25, Warriors 18, 1 Draw
Latest Result: Brisbane 8-2, Round 11 2019
My key battle is between the five-eighths Darius Boyd and Kodi Nikorima. Boyd has had a year to forget in 2019, and his move into the halves hasn’t given the Broncos the attacking edge they were expecting. Broncos fans will be buoyed by Boyd’s improved performance last week, and he will need to continue on this road of improvement if the Broncos are to walk away victors.
Nikorima is still finding his groove with his new club, but his ability to spot a gap and attack it with pace always means that the Warriors can threaten from anywhere on the park. His kicking game has always been his weakness, but he needs to incorporate more kicks into his play to take pressure off Blake Green.
It should lead to an exciting clash between the former team-mates.
The Important Details
Date: Saturday, 13 July 2019
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Kick-Off: 5:30 PM (7:30 PM NZ Time)
Who will win?
Much like round 11, this match will be close with defence being key to victory.
For the Broncos to win, they will need a repeat performance from their forward pack. The Warriors have been exposed around the ruck area so if the Broncos can control the middle they will control the match, the Warriors defence has improves, but they continue to struggle with tries scored via kicks so if the Broncos look to the air on their last tackle options in the Warriors red zone it should bear fruit.
For the Warrior to win, they need to start strong and get their back three involved early and often. Ken Maumalo’s breakout year continues, and New Zealand will be relying on his strong runs to get themselves deep into the Broncos territory. If the Warriors turn up ready to offload and play a lot of second phase football their road to the winner’s circle becomes that much easier.
It will be a tight tussle, but I think the Warriors have the edge here. Nikorima will be looking at making a statement in his return to Suncorp, and his new team will be more than willing to assist.
Warriors by 8