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2021 NRL Round One Preview, Broncos Vs Eels

Nathan Smith previews the Brisbane Broncos’ match against the Parramatta Eels. This is what we have to look forward to.

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TEAM NEWS

Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Date: 12th of March, Time: 8.05pm

Brisbane Broncos

  1. Jamayne Isaako
  2. Xavier Coates
  3. Herbie Farnworth
  4. Tesi Niu
  5. David Mead
  6. Anthony Milford
  7. Brodie Croft
  8. Tevita Pangai Junior
  9. Jake Turpin
  10. Matthew Lodge
  11. Alex Glenn
  12. Jordan Riki
  13. Patrick Carrigan
  14. John Asiata
  15. Thomas Flegler
  16. Ethan Bullemor
  17. Ben Te’o
  18. Tom Dearden
  19. Rhys Kennedy
  20. Richard Kennar
  21. Cory Paix

Team Changes

IN: N/A
OUT: N/A

Parramatta Eels

  1. Clinton Gutherson
  2. Maika Sivo
  3. Tom Opacic
  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. Nathan Brown
  14. Oregon Kaufusi
  15. Isaiah Papali’i
  16. Keegan Hipgrave
  17. Will Smith
  18. Haze Dunster
  19. Joey Lussick
  20. Jordan Rankin
  21. David Hollis

Team Changes

IN: N/A
OUT: N/A

Referee: Adam Gee

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Brisbane Broncos

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Brisbane have given Brodie Croft first crack at the halfback role, despite a mostly poor season last year that eventually saw him dropped. They’re also missing gun centre Kotoni Staggs to an ACL injury suffered last year. Form-wise, they haven’t won a game since round nine of last year, which is a drought they’ll be desperate to remedy.

2021 Broncos Season Preview

Parramatta Eels

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Parramatta have a mostly unchanged team from their 2020 iteration. Tom Opacic comes into centre for Michael Jennings. Their bench has been shuffled, with Isaiah Papali’i and Keegan Hipgrave the new faces. Though their form throughout the regular season was consistent, the Eels are coming off of two poor finals losses that have only strengthened the whispers that they are not up to big matches.

2021 Eels Season Preview

PREVIEW

Brisbane are coming off of their worst season in the club’s history. It was a season that saw their coach sacked, numerous thrashings, and at the end of it all, a wooden spoon. What changes have been made? Predominantly, the introduction of club favourite and proud Queenslander, Kevin Walters, as their coach.

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Though there’s no question that he will bring pride and passion back to the jersey, the Broncos will need to improve considerably to defeat a mostly unchanged Eels line up that finished the regular 2020 season in the top four. Having a mostly packed crowd at Suncorp Stadium will certainly help.

The Eels are coming off of a consistent regular season that saw them reach the top four. Unfortunately, they continued their poor trend of finals performances after bowing out in two games.

Parramatta come into this season with an expectation to make the finals, but little more than that. They will be keen to prove throughout the season that they’re better than that by stringing together consistently strong performances. As with any side, they’ll be excited for the chance to put in a strong round one showing that will become the foundation of their season.

KEY STAT

In recent years, the Eels have had a bit of an edge against the Broncos. Indeed, though there may have once been a time where their head-to-head form was lopsided towards the Broncos, the Eels have recently edged above with 23 wins to the Broncos’ 21. The Broncos’ last win over the Eels was a Golden Point affair in 2019, which just so happened to occur at Suncorp Stadium. Furthermore, the Eels have only won eight of their matches at Suncorp, which suggests that the home ground advantage will be one thing that the Broncos will need to truly embrace to get them over the line.

PREDICTION

Parramatta will win, but it won’t be convincing. In round one of last year, they toughed out a win against a Bulldogs team they were expected to thrash, and a similar showing might just be the case come Friday. Expect Brisbane to show plenty of fire in their first home game of the year underneath new coach Kevin Walters, with the Eels just getting up by 12 points.

Eels by 12.

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