Brisbane Broncos v Penrith Panthers
Friday, July 22, 8pm (AEST), Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
|Best Bet: Brisbane -10.5 ($1.90)
Other: Brisbane 13+ ($2.05)
Corey Oates First Try ($9.00)
Brisbane appear to have rediscovered their early-season form with a dominant win over South Sydney but face a much stiffer test against a Penrith team desperately fighting to sneak into the Top 8.
Brisbane have lost centre Jordan Kahu with Tom Opacic replacing him, along with Corey Parker at lock. Herman Eseese and Jai Arrow drop to a five-man bench. Penrith are unchanged with Moses Leota and Viliame Kikau.
This is the 50th clash between Brisbane and Penrith and it is the Broncos who have dominated the matchup with 30 victories and a draw. The Panthers have surprisingly had a winning record against the Broncos since 2010 with five wins in the eight matches over that timeframe, including a dramatic 23-22 win in Round 3 this year. The Broncos have won 4 of the last 5 at Suncorp, winning 8-5 last year. The last three at Suncorp have all been decided by 8 points or less while the last four at the ground between these teams have tallied 34 or less. Anthony Milford has scored three tries in his last three against Penrith. Panthers coach Anthony Griffin is a former Broncos mentor while Peter Wallace also played for Brisbane. Broncos centre James Roberts is a former Panther.
Brisbane are fifth on the ladder with a 10-7 record and a +99 differential, fifth in the NRL. They rank sixth in both attack and defence. The Broncos have won just 1 of 6 before a dominant win over South Sydney last Saturday while they are 6-2 against teams outside the Top 8. Penrith are now ninth on the ladder after their come-from-behind win over Parramatta. They have an 8-9 record while their -32 differential is 10th in the premiership. They rank 10th in both attack and defence. They have conceded at least 18 points in 10 straight games.
Darius Boyd v Matt Moylan. The respective Origin fullbacks for the first two games of the series, Boyd and Moylan will play critical roles in this one. Boyd has been among the best custodians in the premiership this year and was again outstanding against Souths in a two-assist performance. Moylan was solid against Parramatta and had an assist but his kick return – or lack thereof – put the Panthers under some pressure. He needs to offer more from deep in his own half.
Stats That Matter
Brisbane are 8-9 ATS with a 9-8 under record while Penrith are 6-11 ATS with a 9-8 under number. Penrith are riding a four-game non-cover streak while Brisbane ended a five-game non-cover streak against Souths, which also put to bed a four-game over run. Over the last two seasons, Brisbane are 15-8 ATS at Suncorp with an 11-4 ATS record when favoured by more than a converted try and an 8-1 ATS record when favoured by double digits. The Broncos are 6-2 ATS at Suncorp off a double digit win during Wayne Bennett’s second term. Penrith have failed to cover five straight interstate matches and 7 of their last 8. They have, however, gone 3-2 ATS getting more than a converted try interstate. Double digit interstate outsiders off a win are 13-17 ATS since 2013 while road teams off a win getting double digits are 21-28 ATS.
Brisbane have not comeback from five halftime deficits this year while Penrith are 4-6 when trailing at the main break.
For all the talk about Penrith being a dangerous finals contender, they are going awful and if Brisbane are anywhere near serious they should rout the Panthers. Brisbane could have beaten Souths by 50 last Saturday and they can put a fair score on a Panthers team that has forgotten how to defend. The Broncos cover big starts at home and Penrith are terrible travellers. This will be one-way traffic.
How It’s Shaping Up
Brisbane by 19
Brisbane -10.5 ($1.90)
Brisbane 13+ ($2.05)
Best First/Last Tryscorer
Corey Oates ($9.00)
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