Todd Warren previews Tigers vs Broncos as both teams desperately need a win to get away from a very tight premiership table.
Wests currently sit in eighth position but only two premiership points separate them and the 15th placed Gold Coast. They have lost their last two although that was against the Rabbitohs and the Panthers, who are both more settled towards the top of the table.
Brisbane have been terrible since the competition resumed with last weeks win against the last placed Bulldogs being their first victory after six consecutive losses which had an aggregate score of 196-58. With players out of form, confusion around wether the coach is coaching the players or the players are coaching themselves plus injuries and suspensions, they are definitely struggling.
Luke Brooks has been dropped to the bench after missing nine tackles against the Rabbitohs and Josh Reynolds has been suspended. Billy Walters and Benji Marshall start in the halves. Russel Packer returns from suspension and Tommy Talau returns from injury.
1. Adam Doueihi 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Chris Lawrence 4. Moses Mbye (c) 5. Tommy Talau 6. Billy Walters 7. Benji Marshall 8. Josh Aloiai 9. Harry Grant 10. Russel Packer 11. Luke Garner 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Matt Eisenhuth 14. Sam McIntyre 15. Thomas Mikaele 16. Luke Brooks 17. Chris McQueen
Alex Glenn is out for two months with a knee injury. This moves Ben Te’o into the starting side as Joe Ofahengauae returns from suspension to play off the bench. Tom Dearden is on the extended bench and still can’t seem to break into the 17 for some reason. Kotoni Staggs is at least another week away.
1. Tesi Niu 2. Jaymayne Isaako 3. Herbie Farnworth 4. Darius Boyd 5. Xavier Coates 6. Anthony Milford 7. Brodie Croft 8. Tevita Pangai Junior 9. Issac Luke 10. Payne Haas 11. Ben Te’o 12. Corey Oates 13. Pat Carrigan (c) 14. Corey Paix 15. Thomas Flegler 16. Jamil Hopoate 17. Joe Ofahengauae
Broncos have won eight of the last 10 of these fixtures. However times have changed and the Tigers have looked the better team this year. The last matchup went to the Tigers after a memorable last minute try to Michael Chee-Kam broke the hearts of the Broncos.
BATTLE TO WATCH
The Broncos have the edge in the forward pack but the Tigers have the better backline. Adam Doueihi has been a good buy for Wests but David Nofoaluma has been fantastic this season and leads the competition in tackle busts and has been brilliant in helping his team get out of their own red zone. If the Tigers backs can take advantage of some big and tired Broncos forwards then they could bust the game wide open. Brisbane have been their own worst enemy a lot this year so it’s possible they beat themselves.
Neither team has been great lately and while the Broncos may take some confidence after beating the Bulldogs last week, the Tigers are definitely a class above Canterbury. Brisbane have seemingly refused to make changes to their side after their worst losing period in club history so it’s hard to see results being too different.
Tigers by 10
Date: Friday July 17
Venue: Leichhardt Oval