Lachy MacCorquodale previews the round 14 clash between the Canberra Raiders and the struggling Brisbane Broncos. This is what we have to look forward to.
The Canberra Raiders are coming off a 16-point loss to the competition leaders, the Penrith Panthers, on Saturday night. They were blown off the park in the opening half with the Panthers piling on 24 points to Canberra’s nil. They did improve drastically for the second half, leading the Panthers 12 points to four during those 40 minutes. The 2019 grand finalists are currently in good form with four wins from their last six fixtures as they sit in fifth place on the ladder.
The Brisbane Broncos are currently the most out-of-form side in the competition, with only one victory from their last 11 outings. This has by far been the worst season by any Broncos side since the club was founded in 1988. No Brisbane team has ever won less than 10 games and this current Broncos outfit have just three wins to their name this season. They have lost their last four matches and are just two points clear of the last-placed Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.
1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Jordan Rapana 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Curtis Scott 5. Nick Cotric 6. Jack Wighton 7. George Williams 8. Josh Papalii 9. Siliva Havili 10. Dunamis Lui 11. John Bateman 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Hudson Young 14. Tom Starling 15. Joseph Tapine 16. Ryan Sutton 17. Corey Harawira-Naera 18. Sam Williams 19. Michael Oldfield 20. Kai O’Donnell 21. Matt Frawley.
1. Darius Boyd 2. Richard Kennar 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Herbie Farnworth 5. Xavier Coates 6. Brodie Croft 7. Tom Dearden 8. Thomas Flegler 9. Jake Turpin 10. Payne Haas 11. David Fifita 12. Ben Te’o 13. Patrick Carrigan 14. Cory Paix 15. Jordan Riki 16. Joe Ofahengaue 17. Matthew Lodge 18. Isaac Luke 19. Ethan Bullemor 20. Rhys Kennedy 21. Jesse Arthars.
Brisbane have had the wood over the Raiders since 2014, winning six of the last seven matches between the two clubs. The Broncos have a 60% winning record against their Raiders, having won 32 out of the 53 clashes. This probably won’t have any effect on the weekend due to the aforementioned form of both clubs.
BATTLE TO WATCH
The battle of the front rowers
Firstly, Brisbane prop Payne Haas, has been one of the only positives to come from the Broncos’ season. The 2019 Rookie of the Year has established himself as one of the game’s best prop forwards and should be in contention for a New South Wales Origin jersey. The 20-year-old is averaging 179 run metres per game, sixth out of all forwards this season and a whopping 82 post-contact metres per game, second most this season behind the one-and-only Jason Taumalolo. A 65-plus minute forward, Haas also averages a massive 44 tackles per game, completing the seventh most tackles in the competition.
The 20-year-old Haas’ will have to deal with current Australian and Queensland prop forward Josh Papalii this Saturday night. Arguably the best front rower in the game over the past two years, Papalii is averaging a career high 159 metres and 35 tackles per game from 57 minutes an outing. Papalii has an unusually good try-scoring record when it comes to prop forwards, having already scored four this season and has scored at least five in each season since 2014. It will be a mouth-watering battle to see these two guns go head-to-head, but unfortunately it might not influence the result at all given the Broncos’ form this season.
Canberra by 22 points.
Date: 15th August, 2020
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Kick-off: Saturday 7:35pm