Broncos v Bulldogs: McCullough returns; Frawley replaces Lichaa

Broncos v Bulldogs: McCullough returns; Frawley replaces Lichaa

Ah the Broncos – what to make of their hot and cold performances?

Last week we got the good Broncos, the team that sticks to the game plan and fights through adversity to pull out an upset win. That's the same one we saw against the Warriors a few weeks ago.

But we've also had the Broncos that was upstaged by the Titans and Knights and brushed aside by red-hot Dragons and Storm outfits.

They should've gained a lot of confidence from last week's comeback win over the Rabbitohs, but the jury remains out on their top eight prospects, especially if they can't take care of business on their home ground against the struggling Bulldogs.

The Doggies are equal second-last on the ladder with two wins from eight games and can all but forget about the finals if they lose this one.

Brisbane Broncos v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, 7.50pm Thursday at Suncorp Stadium

Key match-up: Bulldogs props Aaron Woods and Dave Klemmer will be looking forward to their duel with Matt Lodge and Sam Thaiday up front. With Origin just around the corner, Woods and Klemmer will be keen to show selectors that they are worthy of Blues spots, even if the Doggies aren'ttravelling well. A lot of other things have to go right for the Dogs to get a win, but they will give themselves a fighting chance if Woods and Klemmer can lead the way against Lodge and Thaiday.

For the Broncos to win: It's no secret the Broncos aren't as intimidating in the forwards as they once were so it's a good thing they have a hard-running winger like Corey Oates to shoulder some of the ball-carrying workload. Oates stole the show in last week's upset win over the Rabbitohs and boasts the power and speed to leave all kinds of dents in the Canterbury defensive line.

For the Bulldogs to win: They are past their best and not as quick as they used to be, but the Morris twins need to become more vocal as team leaders. While it might not guarantee a win, it could instil a bit more confidence and belief in their younger teammates.

Broncos stat attack: The Broncos have won five of their past six clashes with the Bulldogs at Suncorp Stadium, while speedster James Roberts has posted six tries in his last six games against Canterbury.
Bulldogs stat attack: Dave Klemmer will play his 100th game for the Doggies when he lines up against the Broncos. Klemmer leads the NRL in post-contact metres (538).

And another thing: Powerfully-built teenager Payne Haas gave us a sampling of his potential with a solid cameo off the bench last week against the Rabbitohs and all eyes will be on the 18-year-old to see if he has a similar impact against battle-tested props Dave Klemmer and Aaron Woods.

Broncos: 1 Darius Boyd (c), 2 Corey Oates, 3 James Roberts, 4 Tom Opacic, 5 Jamayne Isaako, 6 Anthony Milford, 7 Jack Bird, 8 Matthew Lodge, 9 Andrew McCullough, 10 Sam Thaiday, 11 Alex Glenn, 12 Jaydn Su'A, 13 Tevita Pangai jnr

Interchange: 14 Payne Haas, 15 Joe Ofahengaue, 16 Kodi Nikorima, 17 Korbin Sims

Reserves: 19 Todd Murphy, 20 Sam Tagataese

The Broncos have named Andrew McCullough to make an early return from an elbow injury at hooker, replacing Josh McGuire (ankle, six weeks). Todd Murphy is included in the reserves as cover. Jonus Pearson and Patrick Mogo were the two players to drop off the bench 24 hours out from kick-off.

Bulldogs: 1 Moses Mbye, 2 Brett Morris, 3 Josh Morris, 4 Will Hopoate, 5 Marcelo Montoya, 6 Jeremy Marshall-King, 7 Kieran Foran, 8 Aaron Woods, 23 Matthew Frawley, 10 David Klemmer, 11 Josh Jackson (c), 12 Raymond Faitala-Mariner, 13 Adam Elliott

Interchange: 14 Clay Priest, 15 Danny Fualalo, 17 Kerrod Holland, 20 Rhyse Martin

Reserves: 19 John Olive, 21 Renouf Toomaga

Michael Lichaa won't play against the Broncos after being dropped. Matt Frawley has been named at hooker. Greg Eastwood has been dropped, with former Raider Clay Priest called up onto the bench for his first game for his new club. Along with Lichaa, Asipele Fine was left out 24 hours out from kick-off.

Match: Broncos v Bulldogs

Round 9 -

Full Time
Broncos

Home Team

Broncos

Scored 22 points
Bulldogs

Away Team

Bulldogs

Scored 20 points

Venue: Suncorp Stadium

Match broadcasters:

  • Nine Network
  • Fox League
  • LIVE PASS

Brisbane Broncos v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, 7.50pm Thursday at Suncorp Stadium

Head-to-head: Played 52; Broncos 29 wins, Bulldogs 22 wins, 1 draw
Matches at venue: Played 15; Bulldogs 8 wins, Broncos 7 wins
2017 results: Bulldogs won 10-7 at ANZ Stadium in round 5; Broncos won 42-12 at Suncorp Stadium
Points per game: Broncos 17.5; Bulldogs 14.6
Points conceded per game: Broncos 21.8; Bulldogs 21
Televised: Live on Nine, Fox League

Steve Turner's prediction: The Bulldogs will head to Brisbane two days prior to kick off and need a win to keep their season alive after letting a 12-2 lead against the Panthers last weekend slip, while the Broncos head home full of confidence after an impressive win against the Rabbitohs. Brisbane are looking to stay within touch of the top eight, but a road trip and backs against the wall mentality will get the visitors over the line. TIP: Bulldogs by 6.