This Suncorp Stadium showdown has shaped up to be possibly the most anticipated match of Round 26 as the Broncos face their last chance of securing their 19th consecutive finals appearance when they host the Raiders on Friday night.
The reality is Brisbane, without Lockyer & Wallace, must win this and win it by a good margin or its bye bye for the season.
It will be the toughest test the baby Broncos have faced to date as they play a physically tough and in-form Green Machine who will do just about anything to keep their spot in the top eight after sneaking in their last week thrashing the Cowboys by 44 points.
The bookies don’t fancy the home side’s chances here and Ladbrokes.com.au are paying $7 for Brisbane to ‘Make the Top 8’ and have them installed as the $2.60 underdogs for Friday.
Canberra will start the favourites, currently at $1.50 to win at Ladbrokes.com.au, following their four straight wins including a huge victory over the Dragons a fortnight ago.
Things look worse still for Brisbane as although a win by the Raiders will see the Green Machine in the finals for sure, other results need to go Brisbane’s way for them to enjoy the same result and they need both the Souths and the Sea Eagles to go down.
Down on confidence after the news skipper Darren Lockyer won’t return for this one and coming off three losses including a 36 – 4 hiding by the Warriors last week, Brisbane really need to dig deep to stop from being well and truly embarrassed on the board here.
These two haven’t met since Round 2 when the Raiders enjoyed victory, but Brisbane have won the past four against Canberra at Suncorp.
The Raiders have strength up the middle, plenty of points in them thanks to the likes of Dugan and Robinson and direction from Campese. Brisbane on the other hand are without direction and as much as it pains us to say, we see a big loss coming the home side’s way seeing the NRL career of AFL-bound Israel Folau officially come to an end.
There will still be plenty of diehard Broncos fans backing them to win though, especially with the news the Raiders are again without injured captain Alan Tongue.
Footy Tip of the Match – Raiders to win by 13 – 18 points at $5.75 through Ladbrokes.com.au
Current Head-to-Head Odds:
Broncos $2.60 – Raiders $1.50 Ladbrokes.com.au
NRLleague Footy Tip of the Match:
The Raiders have scored nearly twice as many points as the Broncos over the last month, Canberra having posted 118 points in four weeks while Brisbane have managed just 60. That’s why we are tipping a blow out here and saying the Raiders will win by 13 – 18 points at $5.75 through Ladbrokes.com.au.
Round 26 Broncos Team:
1. Josh Hoffman 2. Antonio Winterstein 3. Alex Glenn 4. Israel Folau 5. Jharal Yow Yeh 6. Corey Norman 7. Ben Hunt 8. Shane Tronc 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Ben Te’o 11. Matt Gillett 12. Sam Thaiday 13. Corey Parker
Bench: 14. Nick Kenny 15. Josh McGuire 16. Mitchell Dodds 17. Scott Anderson
Round 26 Raiders Team:
1. Josh Dugan 2. Reece Robinson 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Joel Monaghan 5. Daniel Vidot 6. Terry Campese 7. Josh McCrone 8. Tom Learoyd-Lahrs 9. Glen Buttriss 10. David Shillington 11. Joe Picker 12. Bronson Harrison 13. Shaun Fensom
Bench: 14. Danny Galea 15. Trevor Thurling 16. Dane Tilse 17. Scott Logan
Reserves: 18. Travis Waddell 19. Troy Thompson