Dragons backrower Tyson Frizell.

The sixth-placed Broncos and seventh-placed Dragons have met just once in 2018 – all the way back in the very first match of the season – but times have changed significantly for both clubs since then.

Analysing their round one clash – in which Paul McGregor's Dragons easily accounted for Wayne Bennett's Broncos in a 34-12 thrashing – it's hard to foresee too many parallels occurring six months down the track as the respective fortunes of both clubs crossed over late in the season.

The Broncos spent just two weeks inside the top eight in the first half of the Telstra Premiership season and while they haven't been outside the eight since round 12, they also never made it as high as sixth until the final weekend of the regular season.

The Dragons conversely were in first place at the end of every round until round 12 and at no stage were they outside the top four until round 22 in a late-season plunge to seventh.

Round one red and white wash

The raw numbers from the round one meeting are comprehensive in favour of the Dragons and typical of how they established their early-season dominance.

Through the first half of the season, the Dragons did a better job than any side of controlling possession and winning the yardage game and it started right from the season-opener as they held 59% of the ball and out-ran the Broncos by 1640 metres to 1099, according to NRL.com Stats.

The flow-on effect of that was a 504-323 advantage in post-contact metres with a 40-33 difference in metres gained per set.

They won the line breaks 5-2 and tackle breaks 35-16, and forced Brisbane to make more than 100 more tackles (339-238).

It will be different this time

Of course the Dragons can still win, but whether or not they will comes down to how they overcome not just their own recent form slide but a horror record against the Broncos and at Suncorp Stadium.

The Dragons have won just two of their past 14 against Brisbane all up, and have not beaten the Broncos at Suncorp since 2009.

In almost a decade of losses, the Red V's total return from 10 trips to Brisbane is 10 losses and a combined 234-106 scorecard against.

Long-serving Dragons like Jack De Belin and Tyson Frizell have never won a game at Suncorp outside the representative arena.

Of the Dragons' named 17, only Tim Lafai and James Graham (with Canterbury), Gareth Widdop and Kurt Mann (with Melbourne), Cameron McInnes (with Souths), Leeson Ah Mau (with the Cowboys) and Jeremy Latimore (with the Warriors) have won club games at Suncorp against Brisbane.

Obviously halfback and former Bronco Ben Hunt has won plenty of matches at the venue in a Brisbane jersey but this will be his first ever appearance at the venue wearing an away strip.

How he bounces back from a tough few months – with the help of his returning halves partner Gareth Widdop – will be critical. 

In a twist few outside the Brisbane camp would have anticipated in the wake of the round one meeting, Broncos playmakers Anthony Milford and Kodi Nikorima hit the finals as one of the form halves pairings in the NRL with Milford showing something like career best form in big wins over the Roosters and Sea Eagles in the past fortnight.

In those two games he has four try assists, two line breaks and close to 1200 kick metres. Over the same period Hunt has no line breaks or assists and no tries or try assists but if he can bounce back at his former home ground he could go a long way towards orchestrating a Red V upset.