Nathan Smith previews the Brisbane Broncos’ home game against the Parramatta Eels. This is what we have to look forward to.
Brisbane are undefeated thus far in the 2020 competition, having spoiled the Cowboys’ party at their brand new stadium in Townsville in round one, and taken down former coach Wayne Bennett’s Rabbitohs in round two.
Parramatta are also undefeated. They won their first home game of the year in a scrappy affair against the Bulldogs, and thoroughly put away the Titans in a blow-out match in round two.
1. Jamayne Isaako 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Darius Boyd 5. Jesse Arthars 6. Anthony Milford 7. Brodie Croft 8. Thomas Flegler 9. Jake Turpin 10. Payne Haas 11. Alex Glenn 12. Jamil Hopoate 13. Patrick Carrigan 14. Herbie Farnworth 15. Joe Ofahengaue 16. Rhys Kennedy 17. Ethan Bullemor 18. Tesi Niu 19. Xavier Coates 20. Tom Dearden 21. Matthew Lodge
1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Michael Jennings 4. Waqa Blake 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Ryan Matterson 13. Marata Niukore 14. Brad Takairangi 15. Ray Stone 16. Kane Evans 17. Peni Terepo 18. Oregon Kaufusi 19. George Jennings 20. Jaeman Salmon 21. David Gower
Brisbane have a clear advantage against Parramatta in the head-to-head stats, with 33 wins to Parramatta’s 23. Furthermore, they’ve defeated Parramatta 13 times at Suncorp, with the most recent occasion being a golden-point thriller in 2019. Of course, the most recent match between these two teams saw Parramatta score 58 unanswered points at Bankwest Stadium, so they’ll be confident in their ability to put points on the Broncos.
BATTLE TO WATCH
Anthony Milford v Mitchell Moses
These two halves had vastly different 2019 seasons. Mitchell Moses rebounded from a poor 2018 to be named Parramatta’s best player and guide his team into the finals. Contrastingly, Milford had a mixed year, compounded by the patchy form of players around him, with a poor showing in the 58-0 blow-out against Parramatta an exclamation point on a subpar season.
Things are different for Milford this year. The Broncos have been steady in their first two wins. Most importantly, he is partnered by Brodie Croft, a half who has been purchased to control the team and leave Milford to do what he does best: run. The result? Milford had 11 tackle busts in two games: a sign that he might settle in to some of his best work this year. If Croft continues to run the team effectively, Milford will enjoy the space on the field and prove a challenge to contain.
Moses has continued on from his 2019 form. He’s most notably improved his defence and is no longer a speed-bump. Moses’ ability to guide the team around the field and orchestrate plays has been demonstrated in the past; however his goal-kicking is another element to his game that has sharply improved. It will come into play if the game is as close as it was in their previous encounter at Suncorp Stadium. The team with the better performing half, Milford or Moses, wins the game.
Brisbane won’t concede 58 points this time around. With both teams in fine form in 2020, the match will be close and very similar to their previous encounter at Suncorp Stadium. Expect both teams to register points on the board with the winning margin to be within two points.
Parramatta by two.
Date: May 28, 2020.
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 7.50pm (local)