Broncos v Roosters: Triple injury blow for Brisbane; Radley returns
This isn't one of the more traditional rugby league rivalries, but these two capital city clubs share a healthy dose of inter-state disdain for each other and have waged some memorable battles over the years.
This season they have both struggled to score points (and win games) on a regular basis, but coaches Trent Robinson and Wayne Bennett are staying patient (publicly at least) and counting on their respective sides to be peaking at the business end of the season.
The Broncos were upstaged by Manly last week, continuing the hot and cold form we've seen all year. Bennett will be hoping his side finds a little extra motivation as they generally do against Sydney's so-called glamour club.
The Roosters put together their best performance of the season with last week's 32-0 rout of the Warriors, boosting their record to 6-4.
They aren't swanning around at the top of the ladder like a lot of footy followers expected them to, but as it stands the Chooks are no doubt still confident they are top eight material and still have ample time to push for atop four finish - if they're good enough.
Key match-up: They are among the NRL's most naturally gifted athletes and it'd be great to see who would win a 100m sprint between James Roberts and Latrell Mitchell. The Broncos need 'The Jet' to start firing on all engines, although he has probably been one of the more consistent performers in an otherwise inconsistent team. Mitchell has been a standout for the Roosters, even when they were struggling for form. He has established himself as one of the most exciting players in the competition and should have a zinger of a battle with Roberts.
For the Broncos to win: They aren't going through the same losing issues as the Eels and Cowboys, but Brisbane might be the hardest team to follow form-wise. They seem to be the most talked-about team among office tipsters everywhere as THE side that's impossible to pick. The Broncos have generally responded well after a loss this season so expect them to be switched on with a much better attitude this week
For the Roosters to win: Everyone's saying the real Roosters stood up last week. But as dominant as they were in the 32-0 drubbing of the Warriors, the truth is the jury is still out until they string a few similarly powerful performances together. Don't be surprised if this clash is a low-scoring defensive grind.
Broncos stat attack: Brisbane are averaging 18.6 points per game and giving up 23.3 points in defence. They let in six tries in the loss to Manly and their 48 missed tackles doubled the Sea Eagles' total.
Roosters stat attack: Roosters fans are probably feeling a little more comfortable than they were a few weeks ago, but there are still a few kinks to iron out. The Chooks lead the NRL in total errors (130) and ineffective tackles (238).
And another thing: Mitch Aubusson will make his 250th appearance for the Roosters, becoming just the third player in club history to reach the milestone. The others are Roosters greats Anthony Minichiello and Luke Ricketson. Aubusson turns 31 the day after the NRL grand final.
Match: Broncos vs Roosters
Round 11 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
- Nine Network
- Fox League
- LIVE PASS
Brisbane Broncos v Sydney Roosters, Friday 7.55pm at Suncorp Stadium
Broncos: 1 Darius Boyd (c), 2 Corey Oates, 3 James Roberts, 4 Tom Opacic, 5 Jamayne Isaako, 6 Anthony Milford, 7 Kodi Nikorima, 8 Matthew Lodge, 9 Andrew McCullough, 10 Sam Thaiday, 11 Tevita Pangai jnr, 12 Jaydn Su'A, 13 Joe Ofahengaue
Interchange: 14 Sam Tagataese,16 Korbin Sims, 17 Patrick Mago, 18 Kontoni Staggs
Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett has made one change, with Kontoni Staggs to make his NRL debut off the interchange bench. Jack Bird (sternum), Alex Glenn (knee) and Payne Haas (shoulder) are sidelined, with Tom Opacic starting at centre, Tevita Pangai jnr shifting to the second row and Joe Ofahengaue starting at lock. Gehamat Shibasaki and George Fai were trimmed from the squad an hour before kick-off, while Todd Murphy and David Fifita were cut on Thursday night.
Roosters: 1 James Tedesco, 2 Joseph Manu, 3 Latrell Mitchell, 4 Mitchell Aubusson, 5 Blake Ferguson, 6 Luke Keary, 7 Cooper Cronk, 8 Siosiua Taukeiaho, 9 Jake Friend (c), 10 Dylan Napa, 11 Boyd Cordner (c), 12 Ryan Matterson, 13 Isaac Liu
Interchange: 14 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 15 Zane Tetevano, 16 Kurt Baptiste, 17 Victor Radley
The Roosters are 1-17 and coming off a 32-0 rout of the Warriors. Victor Radley is back from suspension and will start on the bench. Nat Butcher and Sitili Tupouniua were omitted an hour before kick-off, while Lindsay Collins and Mitch Cornish were cut on Thursday night.
Head-to-head: Played 46; Broncos 27 wins, Roosters 19 wins
Matches at venue: Played 11; Broncos 7 wins, Roosters 4 wins
2017 results: Broncos won 32-8 at Suncorp Stadium in round 6; Roosters won 18-16 at Allianz Stadium in round 13; Roosters won 24-22 in finals week 1 at Allianz Stadium
Points per game: Broncos 18.6; Roosters 19.2
Points conceded per game: Broncos 23.2; Roosters 14
Televised: Live on Nine, Fox League
Steve Turner's prediction: The Broncos found it tough going against Manly last weekend and trying to find a halves partner for Anthony Milford has been the issue all season for Wayne Bennett. It's a real concern and an area that they need to fix very quickly especially with Origin just around the corner. The Roosters found their groove last weekend and registered back-to-back wins for the first time since round three. Their attack was on song, their forwards were impressive and their stars fired. They will be too good for the Broncos.
Tip: Roosters by 10.