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2021 NRL Round 19 Preview, Panthers Vs Broncos

Lachy MacCorquodale previews the Saturday night clash between the Penrith Panthers and the Brisbane Broncos. This is what we have to look forward to.

TEAM NEWS

Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Date: 24th July, Time: 7:35pm

Penrith Panthers

1. Dylan Edwards
2. Charlie Staines
3. Stephen Crichton
4. Matt Burton
5. Brian To’o
6. Jarome Luai
7. Tyrone May
8. Moses Leota
9. Apisai Koroisau
10. James Fisher-Harris
11. Viliame Kikau
12. Kurt Capewell
13. Isaah Yeo
14. Mitch Kenny
15. Scott Sorensen
16. Spencer Leniu
17. Liam Martin
18. Brent Naden
19. Paul Momirovski
20. Matt Eisenhuth
21. Izack Tago

Team Changes

IN: Jarome Luai
OUT: Brent Naden

Brisbane Broncos

1. Tesi Niu
2. Corey Oates
3. Kotoni Staggs
4. Herbie Farnworth
5. Jamayne Isaako
6. Tyson Gamble
7. Brodie Croft
8. Thomas Flegler
9. Jake Turpin
10. Payne Haas
11. Alex Glenn
12. Jordan Riki
13. Kobe Hetherington
14. Cory Paix
15. Rhys Kennedy
16. Keenan Palasia
17. TC Robati
18. Ethan Bullemor
19. Jesse Arthars
20. Xavier Willison
21. Xavier Coates

Team Changes

IN: Cory Paix
OUT:
Jesse Arthars

Referee: Ben Cummins

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Penrith

The Penrith Panthers have been one of the two top teams in the competition so far this season and they look set to continue their brilliant season this Saturday night when they take on the Brisbane Broncos. The Panthers have only two losses to their name this season with both coming during the Origin period when the team was forced to field a depleted side. Last weekend they knocked off a competitive Warriors side by 14-points as they get back on course in the race for the minor premiership.

Currently in second place, the Panthers will be stoked to welcome Origin winner Jarome Luai back into the squad after he missed the Warriors clash with a knee injury. He’ll be an important inclusion and will most likely spearhead the Panthers attack as they take on the weak Broncos defence. In conjunction with the form of the Panthers forwards, it’s expected that they’ll cause some havoc against the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium.

Brisbane

On the other hand, the Broncos have continued to struggle this season. Brisbane did have the lead at half-time against the Wests Tigers on the weekend and it was a great opportunity for the Broncos to win back to back games for the first time since the opening two rounds of the 2020 season. However, as has happened multiple times this season, the Broncos defence failed them as they let in 32 second half points and subsequently on their way to their 13th loss of the season.

Last week’s return of Kotoni Staggs saw some promising moments of attacking play, particularly in the first half when they had the Tigers pinned up against the wall as they led by eight points at the half time break. The key for the Broncos is to consistently create chances with the ball in hand and they’ll need plenty of chances given the amount of points they concede each week.

PREVIEW

With recent reports announcing that Apisai Koroisau will be serving a two match suspension should work in the Broncos favour for their clash on Saturday night. Koroisau has been one of the more important players at Penrith over the course of the past two seasons and his loss will be missed by the Panthers. Although it shouldn’t tip the scales in Brisbane’s favour. The Broncos still have a mammoth task ahead of them and will need something resembling a miracle to come away with the two points.

Brisbane’s defence has been their biggest downfall this season. They have conceded the most points in the competition and have on average conceded 31.9 points per game, making it very hard to come away as victors. Their attack hasn’t been exceptional either, although at a higher level compared to their defence, having scored just 282 points this season, the second lowest for the competition with 16.6 points scored per game. The margin between those two averages is substantial and essentially paints the picture for Brisbane’s season.

Penrith on the other hand have scored the third most points in the competition with 499 or 29.4 points scored per game while also boasting the best defence in the competition, conceding 173 point this season, just over 10 points conceded per game. These stats highlight the likely outcome for this weekend’s clash between both sides. Expect the Panthers forwards to get on a roll as they’re helped out by the metre eater that is Brian To’o and on the back of this field position, Jarome Luai and Tyrone May will be able to showcase their talents.

KEY STAT

Penrith have won their last two games against Brisbane, both happened to be played at Suncorp Stadium. However, Brisbane had the wood over Penrith prior to those two wins, winning the previous four matches, all bar one in pretty convincing fashion. That Broncos’ side is a distant memory for most NRL fans and it’d be surprising if they can return to that form.

PREDICTION

Penrith by 18 points.

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