Last Time Played: Raiders v Broncos

Brisbane’s defence, a standout feature of their game for the first half of the season, is now bordering on embarrassment week to week. Through Round 13 the Broncos ranked second for effecting tackles, with just 26 misses per game. Entering this week’s clash they’ve dropped to sixth with 32 misses – and over the past three games, including a win over the Warriors, they’ve missed on average 52 tackles through 80 minutes! 

The Broncos have been the benchmark for keeping the opposition down the other end of the park, surrendering the fewest metres each week (1307). Although they still cling to that No.1 ranking, over the past three weeks they have gifted their opponents an average 1469 metres a game – that’s 20 metres more than the worst-ranked Eels’ season average! And they’ve conceded more than six line-breaks a game, too.

Clearly improvement is needed – not just modest improvement but quantum-leap stuff. When on song the Raiders are no popgun attacking outfit (average 21 points per game). It may seem incredible, given the Bulldogs’ stellar form, but the Raiders have actually scored more tries from line-breaks than any side (36, one more than the ’Dogs).

Also, the Broncos’ kickers need to get deeper when receiving the ball or else charge-downs will continue to hurt them. The Broncos have conceded one charge-down per game in 2012.