The Brisbane Broncos will be looking to win five straight tonight when they face a Canberra Raiders side coming off a strong victory. Join us for live scores and commentary from 7:30pm AEST.
Life without Darren Lockyer continues to be a breeze for Brisbane, with the six-time premiership winners currently sitting second on the NRL ladder.
Their only loss was back in Round 2 when they were upstaged by the North Queensland Cowboys in a thrilling contest.
Since then, the Broncos have won four straight matches including last week’s comfortable 18-14 victory against the Wests Tigers.
Brisbane, however, will have to be on their toes tonight against a Raiders team capable of producing anything.
Canberra bounced back strongly against the Warriors last week, registering a 32-12 victory barely a week after succumbing meekly to the Cowboys.
The Raiders have had trouble with consistency this season and will need to be in peak form tonight if they are to unsettle a confident Broncos unit.
As evidenced by their recent wins against the Dragons and Tigers, Brisbane are dominating upfront and are laying a wonderful platform for their star studded backline to shine.
Forwards Sam Thaiday, Alex Glenn, Matt Gillett, Josh McGuire, Ben Hunt and Ben Hannant are all punching through the advantage line this season and are proving difficult to handle for opposition defences.
The Broncos domination upfront has fast tracked the evolving combination that Peter Wallace and Corey Norman currently share in the halves.
Norman in particular is doing a fine job filling Lockyer’s shoes. The young half has not overplayed his hand in attack this season and he has also developed a terrific running game.
With Wallace sidelined with a groin injury however, Norman will have to assume full responsibility of Brisbane’s attack tonight, so it will be interesting to see how well he handles his playmaking duties without his halves partner.
If Norman does play well, the Raiders will be hard pressed to contain an in-form backline containing Justin Hodges, Josh Hoffman, Jack Reed and Gerard Beale.
To avoid such defensive pressure, Canberra has to make a statement upfront and dominate proceedings up the middle against a physical Brisbane pack.
David Shillington, Tom Learoyd-Lars, Josh Papalii and Bronson Harrison all had strong games against the Warriors last week and are very capable of dominating again tonight.
Shillington and Harrison in particular will be desperate to have good games tonight in a bid to impress Australia and New Zealand Test selectors ahead of next week’s ANZAC Test clash.
If the Raiders can continue from where they left off against New Zealand, this contest could very well end up being one of the matches of the season.
Although Brisbane should start warm favourites, Canberra may just view this match as a terrific opportunity to make a statement about their premiership credentials.
Raiders by six.