NRL Round 15 – Match 1 Preview: Brisbane Broncos v Penrith Panthers

Round 15 kicks off with the first Suncorp Stadium double-header showdown where the hot home side favourites, the Broncos, play the number two team on the ladder, the Penrith Panthers.

Last week Brisbane became the first team this season to secure five straight wins when they thrashed the Rabbitohs 50 – 22. The victory boosted them up into the seventh spot on the ladder and they now look a very real chance of featuring in this year’s finals.

The Panthers are fresh off a bye, before which they secured their eighth win of the season and are now sitting just one spot below the Dragons.

All eyes will be on whether the Broncos can maintain their impeccable form and score their sixth successive victory. They did well without their Origin stars last week, so this match will be a good mix of the in-form youngsters and their returning Origin winners including Man of the Match skipper Darren Lockyer, double try scorer Israel Folau and powerhouse Sam Thaiday, who are all reportedly fit and ready to fight.

The Panthers have just one player on the very short two day turnaround from Origin, Trent Waterhouse.

The Broncos will start as the pronounced favourites, currently paying $1.50 through Ladbrokes.com.au while despite their top two spot, Penrith are the $2.60 underdogs.

With all their players gelling and the babies in the squad playing some really hot footy, Brisbane are our pick for this one, but they will have to watch the likes of Lachlan Coote and Michael Jennings and make sure they don’t miss too many tackles.

With a solid record of six wins from their past seven meetings, the Broncos should be confident of defeating the Panthers who are still without their captain Civoniceva.

Current Head-to-Head Odds:

Broncos $1.50 – Panthers $2.60 Ladbrokes.com.au

Round 15 Broncos Team:

1. Josh Hoffman 2. Antonio Winterstein 3. Alex Glenn 4. Israel Folau 5. Jharal Yow Yeh 6. Darren Lockyer (c) 7. Peter Wallace 8. Shane Tronc 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Lagi Setu 11. Ben Te’o 12. Sam Thaiday 13. Corey Parker

Bench: 14. Ben Hunt 15. Matt Gillett 16. Mitchell Dodds 17. Ashton Sims

Reserves: 18. Nick Kenny 19. Scott Anderson 20. Josh McGuire

Round 15 Panthers Team:

1. Lachlan Coote 2. Michael Gordon 3. Michael Jennings 4. Adrian Purtell 5. Brad Tighe 6. Wade Graham 7. Luke Walsh 8. Tim Grant 9. Kevin Kingston 10. Matthew Bell 11. Trent Waterhouse 12. Frank Pritchard 13. Luke Lewis

Bench: 14. Masada Iosefa 15. Nathan Smith 16. Sam McKendry 17. Gavin Cooper

Reserve: 18. Frank Puletua