2023 NRL Preview Round 8: Eels Vs Broncos

Lachlan Jeffery previews Friday night’s clash of Parramatta and Brisbane in Darwin



Parramatta Eels Vs Brisbane Broncos
Venue: TIO Stadium, Darwin
Date: Friday April 21, 8:00pm


Eels: 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Viliami Penisini 4. Sean Russell 5. Haze Dunster 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Bryce Cartwright 13. Ryan Matterson 14. J’maine Hopgood 15. Brendan Hands 16. Wiremu Greig 17. Matt Doorey 18. Jakob Arthur 19. Jack Murchie 20. Makahesi Makatoa 21. Bailey Simonsson 22. Daejarn Asi

Broncos: 1. Reece Walsh 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Herbie Farnworth 5. Selwyn Cobbo 6. Ezra Mam 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Flegler 9. Billy Walters 10. Payne Haas 11. Kurt Capewell 12. Jordan Riki 13. Patrick Carrigan 14. Cory Paix 15. Corey Jensen 16. Kobe Hetherington 17. Martin Taupau 18. Jesse Arthars 19. Keenan Palasia 20. Jock Madden 21. Brendan Piakura 22. Deine Mariner

Referee: Ashley Klein

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Parramatta enter this game finally finding some form in 2023 after demolishing Canterbury 30-4 last weekend. While their attack looked a bit timid at times, their defence was far stronger than it had been in the opening six rounds. They will need to be at their best defensively against Brisbane, who have by far the best attacking record of any club so far this season.

The Broncos bounced back from their surprise loss to Canberra with a 43-26 win over Gold Coast, but it took them a long time to get in front and take control of the game, with a five try second half blitz sealing the result. Despite their defensive struggles against the Titans, they still have their third best defensive record in the competition.

Josh Hodgson has been named to return for the Eels after missing the win over the Bulldogs with illness, pushing Brendan Hands to the bench and Makahesi Makatoa to the reserves. Bailey Simonsson is also named among the reserves having completed his suspension. Shaun Lane will play his 150th first grade game, partnering Bryce Cartwright who has been named to start in the second row, with Ryan Matterson reverting to lock and J’Maine Hopgood dropping back to the bench, however Brad Arthur may again switch them before kick off.

Corey Oates has been named to make his first appearance since breaking his jaw in round 2, taking the place of Jesse Arthars on the left wing. Thomas Flegler also returns from concussion, with Corey Jensen dropping back to the bench and forcing Keenan Palasia to the reserves.

This year marks the ninth time that the Eels have taken a game to TIO Stadium, having done so every year since 2014 (bar 2020 due to Covid-19). This is also the third year in succession that the club has marked ANZAC Day in Darwin. They have won six of the eight matches they’ve played up there, however lost 35-4 against North Queensland in 2022. This will be the first time the Broncos have left South-East Queensland since win at Penrith in round 1. They won’t have fond memories of TIO Stadium, having been thrashed 46-6 by Parramatta in their only match there in 2021.

The Eels have won six of the past seven matches between the two clubs, including their most recent meeting in round 24 last year, thrashing the Broncos 53-6 to knock them out of the top 8. The Broncos won their other meeting earlier in the year, 36-14.


Eels 7, Broncos 3


Broncos by 8

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