Brad Inger previews the round eight clash between the New Zealand Warriors and the Brisbane Broncos. This is what we have to look forward to.
New Zealand Warriors
It was another tough week for the Warriors. After showing some fight for the first ten minutes, the New Zealand side was blown off the park by the Melbourne Storm 50-6. The Warriors had plenty of opportunities to score more points but were hurt but their errors. To walk away with a much-needed win, the Warriors will need to improve their execution and more importantly improve their defence.
Since the season restarted, the Broncos have been a shell of their former selves losing five matches in a row. Morale must be at an all-time low after their 30-12 defeat to the Gold Coast Titans. The pressure is on for Anthony Seibold and his men to turn this team around, and this match against a struggling Warriors side is the perfect reset button on Brisbane’s season.
New Zealand Warriors
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has been named at fullback but still has to get through his meeting with the judiciary tonight after being sighted for a shoulder charge. Wayde Egan and David Fusitu’a return to the starting line up with Karl Lawton moving to the interchange and Gerard Beale moving to the extended bench. Loan player Poasa Faamausili has returned to the Roosters, but his spot on the bench has been taken by Jack Hetherington, who is on loan from the Panthers.
1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 2. David Fusitu’a, 3. Peta Hiku, 4. Patrick Herbert, 5. Ken Maumalo, 6. Kodi Nikorima, 7. Blake Green, 8. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, 9. Wayde Egan, 10. Agnatius Paasi, 11. Jack Murchie, 12. Tohu Harris, 13. Adam Blair, 14. Chanel Harris-Tavita, 15. Jack Hetherington, 16. Karl Lawton, 17. Josh Curran, 18. King Vuniyayawa, 20. Isaiah Papali’i, 21. Adam Pompey, 22. Gerard Beale
Corey Oates has been relegated to the extended bench with Jamayne Isaako taking his spot on the wing. Joe Ofahengaue is out due to his suspension. Pat Carrigan and Thomas Flegler are both back from their suspensions, with Carrigan starting at lock and Flegler on the interchange. Matthew Lodge has been named at prop but could still miss the game due to his injured knee.
1. Tesi Niu, 2. Jamayne Isaako, 3. Herbie Farnworth, 4. Darius Boyd, 5. Xavier Coates, 6. Anthony Milford, 7. Brodie Croft, 8. Matthew Lodge, 9. Issac Luke, 10. Payne Haas, 11. Alex Glenn, 12. Tevita Pangai Junior, 13. Patrick Carrigan, 14. Tom Dearden, 15. Thomas Flegler, 16. Rhys Kennedy, 17. Ben Te’o, 18. Corey Oates, 19. Cory Paix, 20. Richard Kenner, 21. Jamil Hopoate
Central Coast Stadium has been fruitful for the Warriors with them winning all four of their matches at the venue. The Broncos have not been so fortunate, winning only two from five.
BATTLE TO WATCH
My battle to watch is between halves Kodi Nikorima and Brodie Croft.
Kodi Nikorima had his best performance in a Warriors jersey last time they played at this ground, and the Warriors will want him to return to that form. Look to see Nikorima attack the Broncos defensive line, creating holes and getting his backline into open space and scoring chances.
Brodie Croft will be feeling the pinch as the Bronco’s field a mostly inexperienced backline. Croft was brought in to direct the Broncos around the park, and they need him now more than ever. Expect to see him target the Warriors edges and to kick the ball into open space, turning the Warriors larger wingers around and using his winger’s speed to the Broncos advantage.
It’s no surprise that both teams will be desperate to get back into the winner’s circle on Saturday. Each team can score points when confident, but I think defence or lack thereof is going to be the difference. I think the Warriors have a slight advantage here with the return of key players in their backline. If the Warriors can tighten their edge defence and get the ball out to their big wingers, then they should stay undefeated at Central Coast Stadium.
Date: 4th July
Venue: Central Coast Stadium
Kick-off: 5:30 PM (7:30 PM NZ Time)
Prediction: Warriors by 18