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The New Zealand Warriors are still in the finals frame, but must beat the improving Brisbane Broncos at home to remain in the hunt. Tune in to the action from Suncorp Stadium as Round 23 wraps up with live scores on The Roar from 4:05pm (AEST).
Consecutive wins over the Tigers, Sharks and Bulldogs have rekindled hopes of a fairytale finals return for the Warriors. Having endured such hardship and done more than any other side to keep the NRL going during the COVID-19 pandemic, no doubt they’d be everyone’s second-favourite team should they get there.
First, though, they have to bridge the current one-win and 81-point differential gap to the eighth-placed Titans in the final three weeks. It’s not impossible, given the Warriors next play the inconsistent Raiders and then the Titans themselves to finish the home-and-away season; but it could all come unstuck here if they can’t get the job done.
Remarkably, despite the Broncos endured another torrid year in Kevvie Walters’ first season at the helm, they nearly stunned the Roosters for a second time last week. Following their upset of the year contender earlier in the year, they led late before a controversial penalty saw them go down by a solitary point.
Nevertheless, a win over the Cowboys and three gallant losses has made last month a positive one for the Broncos, and one that should see them start the climb back up the ladder over the coming seasons. With popular captain Alex Glenn confirming his impending retirement, they’ve got all the more reason to want to finish this season on a high.
Herbie Farnworth has been named for the Broncos despite dealing with a leg injury that saw him miss that loss to the Roosters; while the Warriors welcome back Dallin Watene-Zelezniak from his suspension, and send Jazz Tevaga back to the bench for the returning Bayley Sironen.
1. Tesi Niu, 2. Corey Oates, 3. Selwyn Cobbo, 4. Herbie Farnworth, 5. Xavier Coates, 6. Anthony Milford, 7. Albert Kelly, 8. Thomas Flegler, 9. Danny Levi, 10. Payne Haas, 11. Alex Glenn (c), 12. Jordan Riki, 13. Kobe Hetherington
Bench/Reserves: 14. David Mead, 15. Rhys Kennedy, 16. Ethan Bullemor, 17. TC Robati | 18. Cory Paix, 19. Brendan Piakura, 20. Brodie Croft, 21. Jake Turpin
New Zealand Warriors
1. Reece Walsh, 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 3. Peta Hiku (c), 4. Adam Pompey, 5. Marcelo Montoya, 6. Chanel Harris-Tavita, 7. Sean O’Sullivan, 8. Addin Fonua-Blake, 9. Wayde Egan, 10. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, 11. Josh Curran, 12. Euan Aitken, 13. Bayley Sironen
Bench/Reserves: 14. Kodi Nikorima, 15. Bunty Afoa, 16. Eliesa Katoa, 17. Jazz Tevaga | 18. Edward Kosi, 20. Jackson Frei, 21. Jack Murchie, 22. Chad Townsend