NRL Preview Round 27: Broncos Vs Storm

The Broncos looking to end their Melbourne hoodoo and wrap up the minor premiership.



Brisbane Broncos Vs Melbourne Storm
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Date: Thursday 31st August, 7:50pm


Broncos: 1. Tristan Sailor 2. Corey Oates 3. Jesse Arthars 4. Delouise Hoeter 5. Jordan Pereira 6. Joshua Rogers 7. Jock Madden 8. Thomas Flegler 9. Tyson Smoothy 10. Corey Jensen 11. Brendan Piakura 12. Jordan Riki 13. Keenan Palasia 14. Blake Mozer 15. Cory Paix 16. Xavier Willison 17. Martin Taupau 18. Benjamin Te Kura 19. Israel Leota 20. Kurt Capewell 21. Kobe Hetherington 22. Selwyn Cobbo

Storm: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. William Warbrick 3. Justin Olam 4. Young Tonumaipea 5. Reimis Smith 6. Jayden Nikorima 7. Tyran Wishart 8. Tariq Sims 9. Bronson Garlick 10. Tepai Moeroa 11. Chris Lewis 12. Eliesa Katoa 13. Josh King 14. Sualauvi Faalogo 15. Alec MacDonald 16. Aaron Pene 17. Jack Howarth 18. Grant Anderson 19. Joe Chan 20. Keagan Russell-Smith 21. Cole Geyer 22. Tristan Powell

Referee: Ashley Klein

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The Broncos, sitting at the top of the ladder alongside the Panthers, could win the minor premiership should they defeat the Storm this Thursday night. However, to do so, they must overcome a losing streak that extends to 2016, against the ever-consistent Storm.

Coming off a testing victory against the Raiders last week, the Broncos have opted to take the conservative option leading into the finals and rest a large portion of their players, despite the opportunity to seal the minor premiership. Stars including Reece Walsh, Herbie Farnworth, Selwyn Cobbo and Ezra Mam, to name a few, have been rested, while the likes of Adam Reynolds and Kotoni Staggs are also missing through injury and suspension. This affords the opportunity for a few reserve-grade players to come in and get some time on the field, while also possibly making a tiny bit of history for the Broncos, with a minor premiership win being their first since 2000.

Similarly, the Storm have rested a large portion of their side after their convincing victory over the Titans last week. Cameron Munster, Christian Welch, Nelson Asofa-Solomona, and Tom Eisenhuth highlight a list of big names missing, while Harry Grant and Jahrome Hughes will both sit out with minor injuries. Notably, Ryan Papenhuyzen starts at fullback for the first time since the 2022 season, after a successful stint from the bench last week. This is almost an ideal situation to ease him into first grade, given most of the Broncos stars are missing. He shapes as a huge x-factor for the Storm heading into the finals series.

It will be interesting how the Broncos approach this one. The minor premiership is on the line, but one can assume they’re thinking ahead to a possible premiership as the obvious priority. Their record against the Storm is atrocious, and on paper, their opposition is slightly stronger in key areas for this game. However, Thomas Flegler will be as unrelenting as ever, and with the captaincy to his name, you can expect him to lift. Furthermore, Tristan Sailor is a livewire in attack and will be all over the field, relishing his fourth opportunity to play first grade this season.

Meanwhile, the Storm’s obvious one to watch will be Ryan Papenhuyzen. He looked solid last week. One thing that seems most apparent is that he still has his speed, which was a concern many punters had for him given the nature of his injury. It will be a joy to watch one of the game’s great superstars back on the field, in fullback, and what an opportunity it is for him to remind us of just how good he can be. Justin Olam is recalled into the centres and will have a point to prove, having been dropped back in July. At his best, he’s an extremely damaging bull runner, and as such you can expect his carries to be forceful.


Broncos 0, Storm 10


Melbourne by 12 points.

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