On Sunday afternoon the Brisbane Broncos take on the Wests Tigers for the Round 18 clash at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. Kick off is at 2:05 pm.
The Broncos boast a full strength side with the inclusion of Queensland Origin duo Xavier Coates and Thomas Flegler as well as New South Welshman Payne Haas.
Coach Kevin Walters has again chosen to go with the halves combination of Brody Croft and Tyson Gamble after their successful efforts against the Cronulla Sharks in Round 16.
Katoni Staggs lines up for his second match after returning from a ruptured ACL in the final game of 2020. He was impressive against the Sharks and having had more training with the team he will no doubt again be hard to contain.
Corey Oates has been rewarded with his place on the wing with a demonstration of improved form. After being dropped to reserve grade earlier in the year and minor injury it is a positive inclusion for the Bronx, as is having Tesi Niu again making the fullback spot his own.
While the forward pack is young and relatively inexperienced, it is stacked with emerging prospects. Captain Alex Glenn will be sure to lead from the front and show his chargers the way ahead.
They are boosted by the one-year contract extension of Jake Turpin and the recent extended contracts of Kobe Hetherington and TC Robati signing until 2024, as has Jordan Riki.
The Broncos headquarters are looking in great shape as well. New CEO Dave Donaghy and the new Football and Performance Director Ben Ikin are working towards a real change in direction and this is evident in the recent signings as well as the mid-season release of Matt Lodge.
With eight games remaining in the 2021 season, the Broncos are looking to climb the ladder in order to kickstart their 2022 season on a positive footing.
After this round they play the Panthers, Cowboys, Knights, Roosters, Warriors, Sharks and again the Knights in Round 25. It is a favourable run home and several wins are anticipated.
The Tigers are one position higher on the ladder with five wins this season. They are in 14th position with the Broncos in 16th. The Tigers are coming of a hat-trick of losses, having been defeated by the Eels, Storm and Rabbitohs.
The Wests Tigers are debuting Fetalaiga Pauga in the centres and Tuki Simpkins on the bench. Moses Mybe has also been relegated to the interchange following the loses.
Both teams are keen to make this clash count towards their season tally so it should be a cracker of a game. Covid restrictions have eased in Queensland so a good crowd is anticipated to get behind the home team.