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The NRL continues this Friday night with the Brisbane Broncos taking on the Penrith Panthers at Suncorp Stadium. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 7:55pm AEST.
In the closest race for the top eight in years, this match will decide which side is safely in the eight and which side is in danger of sliding outside of the 8 after this round, perhaps as low as 10th or 11th spot. It is that close.
The best thing to come out of Brisbane’s win against North Queensland last weekend was the two points. The performance itself was poor and the Broncos were lucky to get away with a win against a Cowboys team just looking to get to the end of the season.
Cast your mind back a fortnight ago and you’ll recall the humiliation of the Broncos by the Storm. The Broncos are on the edge of the eight and need to re-discover their form quickly.
Anthony Seibold has named the same 17 which beat the Cowboys. Alex Glenn and Matt Gillett are named in the reserves and could make their returns from injury, if they get through the week unscathed.
The Penrith Panthers looked to be on the slide until last weekend. Missing James Maloney due to suspension, the Panthers showed real grit to hold off a fast-finishing Cronulla.
I still have a question mark over their form as the Sharks effort, especially in the first half, was disappointing. Nevertheless, Nathan Cleary had arguably his best game of the year whilst the pack matched it with the strong Cronulla pack. They will need to repeat that again this weekend against the Broncos.
James Maloney returns from suspension at five-eighth, with Matt Burton making way. Isaah Yeo has been named to start and Moses Leota goes to the bench.
A lot hinges on the outcome of this game.
Both sides will be desperate but the Broncos at home should be hard to beat.
I’m tipping them in a close one.
Broncos by 1
When: 7.55pm AEST
Where: Suncorp Stadium
TV: Channel 9, Fox League
Online: NRL Live, Foxtel app or Foxtel now
Betting: Brisbane Broncos: $1.68, Penrith Panthers: $2.15
1. Anthony Milford 5. Jamayne Isaako 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Gehamat Shibasaki 2. Corey Oates 6. Darius Boyd 7. Jake Turpin 8. Matthew Lodge 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Payne Haas 11. David Fifita 12. Tevita Pangai 13. Joe Ofahengaue
Interchange: 14. James Segeyaro 15. Thomas Flegler 16. Rhys Kennedy 17. Patty Carrigan
1. Dylan Edwards 2. Josh Mansour 3. Stephen Crichton 4. Brent Naden 5. Brian To’o 6. James Maloney 7. Nathan Cleary 8. James Tamou 9. Mitch Kenny 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo
Interchange: 14. Sione Katoa 15. Spencer Leniu 16. Moses Leota 17. Reagan Campbell-Gillard