With so much at stake for both teams, this clash should have all the intensity and desperation of a sudden-death final.
The Broncos stayed alive with a last-gasp win over the Cowboys last week but were far from convincing.
The Panthers thumbed their nose at the cynics who gave them no chance of beating the Sharks last week, setting up a big lead and holding on to win 26-20.
Coach Ivan Cleary welcomes back James Maloney from a week's suspension and will feel a lot more confident in his depth in the halves after the impressive debut of unheralded rookie Matt Burton.
Match: Broncos v Panthers
Round 22 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Broncos: The only change to the 17 named by Anthony Seibold on Tuesday is former Queensland Reds rugby player Izaia Perese coming in for his NRL debut at the expense of Rhys Kennedy, who will play Intrust Super Cup. Alex Glenn (knee) and Matt Gillett (back) both failed to come up and were omitted on Thursday. Herbie Farnworth was omitted an hour before kick-off.
Panthers: Two late changes for the Panthers with youngster Stephen Crichton out with an ankle complaint and his place taken by Dean Whare. In the back row, Moses Leota is promoted to start and Isaah Yeo goes to the bench. Veteran playmaker James Maloney returns from suspension so impressive youngster Matt Burton makes way. Kaide Ellis and Hame Sele dropped out of the extended squad on Thursday and Billy Burns was omitted an hour before kick-off.
Match: Broncos v Panthers
Round 22 -
Fullback for Broncos is number 1 Anthony MilfordFullback for Panthers is number 1 Dylan Edwards
Winger for Broncos is number 2 Corey OatesWinger for Panthers is number 2 Josh Mansour
Centre for Broncos is number 3 Kotoni StaggsCentre for Panthers is number 4 Brent Naden
Centre for Broncos is number 4 Gehamat ShibasakiCentre for Panthers is number 18 Dean Whare
Winger for Broncos is number 5 Jamayne IsaakoWinger for Panthers is number 5 Brian To'o
Five-Eighth for Broncos is number 6 Darius BoydFive-Eighth for Panthers is number 6 James Maloney
Halfback for Broncos is number 7 Jake TurpinHalfback for Panthers is number 7 Nathan Cleary
Prop for Broncos is number 8 Matthew LodgeProp for Panthers is number 8 James Tamou
Hooker for Broncos is number 9 Andrew McCulloughHooker for Panthers is number 9 Mitch Kenny
Prop for Broncos is number 10 Payne HaasProp for Panthers is number 10 James Fisher-Harris
2nd Row for Broncos is number 11 David Fifita2nd Row for Panthers is number 11 Viliame Kikau
2nd Row for Broncos is number 12 Tevita Pangai Junior2nd Row for Panthers is number 12 Liam Martin
Lock for Broncos is number 13 Joe OfahengaueLock for Panthers is number 16 Moses Leota
Interchange for Broncos is number 14 James SegeyaroInterchange for Panthers is number 13 Isaah Yeo
Interchange for Broncos is number 15 Thomas FleglerInterchange for Panthers is number 14 Sione Katoa
Interchange for Broncos is number 17 Patrick CarriganInterchange for Panthers is number 15 Spencer Leniu
Interchange for Broncos is number 20 Izaia PereseInterchange for Panthers is number 17 Reagan Campbell-Gillard
- Referee: Ashley Klein
- Referee: Chris Sutton
- Touch Judge: Tim Roby
Brisbane captain Darius Boyd has to stand tall in his duel with fellow veteran Maloney, while David Fifita and Viliame Kikau will be out to get the better of each other with their captivating blend of power and speed.
For the Broncos to win
They managed to get the job done against the Cowboys but only just. The Broncos need to vastly improve their attack after some glaringly poor sets last week, while Anthony Milford has to overcome his tendency to drift in and out of games.
For the Panthers to win
After producing arguably his best game of the season last week against Cronulla, halfback Nathan Cleary has to carry the same mindset into every match for the rest of the year. He can't sit back and defer to Maloney. Dylan Edwards has to play with the same confidence he showed against the Sharks.
Brett Kimmorley says
Isn’t it good that we are starting to see semi-final desperation. The Broncos were poor but found a way to win last week. This should be a really good battle between the forwards. Campbell-Gillard, Kenny and Fisher-Harris are playing some of their better football of the season in recent weeks. James Maloney’s return from suspension helps the Panthers after Nathan Cleary had one of his best games of the season. The Panthers halves might just prove the difference. Panthers by 4
Tevita Pangai jnr continues to trouble opposing defences with his ability to find a supporting team-mate. The Broncos forward has 51 offloads for the season - tops in the NRL.
And another thing ...
The Broncos and Panthers finished dead-even on the ladder in 2018. Not only did they both end the season with 15-9 records, they each had a plus-56 points differential, as the Panthers finished fifth and the Broncos sixth. In their only meeting last year, Brisbane put on an eight-try clinic, racing to a 32-0 half-time lead en route to a 50-18 victory.