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2021 NRL Round 23 Preview, Broncos Vs Warriors

Lachy MacCorquodale previews the clash between the Brisbane Broncos and the New Zealand Warriors. This is what we have to look forward to.

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TEAM NEWS

Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Date: 22/8, Time: 4:05pm

Brisbane Broncos

1. Tesi Niu
2. Corey Oates
3. Selwyn Cobbo
4. Herbie Farnworth
5. Xavier Coates
6. Anthony Milford
7. Albert Kelly
8. Thomas Flegler
9. Danny Levi
10. Payne Haas
11. Alex Glenn
12. Jordan Riki
13. Kobe Hetherington
14. David Mead
15. Rhys Kennedy
16. Ethan Bullemor
17. TC Robati
18. Cory Paix
19. Brendan Piakura
20. Brodie Croft
21. Jake Turpin

Team Changes

IN: Herbie Farnworth
OUT: David Mead

Warriors

1. Reece Walsh
2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
3. Peta Hiku
4. Adam Pompey
5. Marcelo Montoya
6. Chanel Harris-Tavita
7. Sean O’Sullivan
8. Addin Fonua-Blake
9. Wayde Egan
10. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown
11. Josh Curran
12. Euan Aitken
13. Bayley Sironen
14. Kodi Nikorima
15. Bunty Afoa
16. Eliesa Katoa
17. Jazz Tevaga
18. Edward Kosi
20. Jackson Frei
21. Jack Murchie
22. Chad Townsend

Team Changes

IN: Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Bayley Sironen
OUT:
Edward Kosi, Jackson Frei

Referee: Matt Cecchin

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Brisbane Broncos

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Despite winning just one of their past four games, the Broncos are in some of the best form we’ve seen from them since the start of last year. Those three losses have been all been decided by eight points or less, including a one point loss over the Sydney Roosters last weekend. The Broncos will once again be without Kotoni Staggs who was electric in the his few appearances this year. However, they’ll happily welcome Herbie Farnworth back into the side who missed last week’s clash with a leg injury. Farnworth has averaged 142 run metres this season, a career high, and the 21-year-old will be searching for his third try of the year.

Warriors

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On the other hand, the Warriors have peeled off three wins in a row and they’re aiming to extend that streak as they fight for that final top eight spot. Losses earlier in the round for the Titans and the Raiders have left the door open for the Warriors to place themselves amongst those teams with a win against the Broncos. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak returns to the starting line up after serving a one match ban and will play his 150th match in the NRL on Sunday afternoon. Edward Kosi is the player to make way for DWZ whilst Jamayne Taunoa-Brown moves into the starting side with Jackson Frei dropping out of the 17. Bayley Sironen also returns and will push Jazz Tevaga to the bench.

PREVIEW

This game has the potential to be a very close fixture as both teams are playing some of their best footy this season. The Warriors are going to be tough to beat given they’re playing to keep their season alive as they push for that final spot in the top eight. Rookie Reece Walsh has been a sensation this year having scored nine tries in his 13 appearances this season. Walsh has also accumulated 10 try assists, 13 line breaks and averaging 126 run metres per game. Pretty good numbers from a 19-year-old in his first year in the NRL. Walsh not only has been sensational this year as a rookie but he’ll make his first appearance against his former club the Brisbane Broncos, who let him go earlier in the season to pursue a contract with the Warriors. He’ll be dangerous with the ball in hand and given what we’ve seen this season, Walsh will tough to stop and may cause havoc against this struggling Brisbane defence.

The Broncos will be looking to Payne Haas to provide the go-forward for the side from Brisbane and given that he’s averaged 165 run metres this year, you’d assume he’ll be handful for the Warriors defence. Not only is Haas a running machine but he also averaged 35 tackles per game and breaks 3.4 tackles per game. These two will be exciting to watch regardless of the result and the match may very well be determined by one of these players.

KEY STAT

This will be the Brisbane Broncos’ 300th game at Suncorp Stadium, although they haven’t beat the Warriors in Brisbane since 2016. In fact, its a relatively fair record over their past five matches. Both sides have won two games and they competed for a draw in 2019. The Warriors won the last game contested between the two sides, where they knocked off the Broncos last year by 10 points in Gosford. Expect this game to go either way.

PREDICTION

Warriors by 12.

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