Suncorp Stadium will be buzzing on Friday night as the Broncos fans look to overcome last week’s heartbreak and defeat the Panthers who are on a high after last week’s elimination final win over the Sea Eagles.
The Panthers will look to spoil the party and that will start from the back as their back five were immense last week with Josh Mansour leading the way with a whopping 236 metres from 24 runs. Dylan Edwards impressed once again at fullback but it was a gaping hole left by Brisbane’s forward pack last week that’s something Penrith will seek to penetrate once again this Friday night.
Four Roosters forwards ran for 144m or more last week and you can bet Isaah Yeo, Reagan Campbell-Gillard and co. will know that heading to Suncorp this week. The Panthers have empty spaces in their own line as well, claiming an unwanted title of having the most missed tackles in the league this season.
Brisbane are deadly in second phase football with the likes of Anthony Milford, Benji Marshall and Kodi Nikorima needing no invitation to break the opposition’s line. Darius Boyd has been named in an extended squad for the Broncos and remains a chance to return to the side however the four-halves line up (essentially) proved that they can co-exist last week.
While the Panthers are more balanced, both sides prefer attacking the right-hand side of the field where Corey Oates, James Roberts, Josh Mansour and Tyrone Peachey operate. Dallin Watene Zelezniak has proved to be nervy at times in defence in recent weeks and Oates and co will continue to test him out this week.
The Broncos got the better of the Panthers in their only other encounter in 2017 however that match up counts for nothing this weekend.
Penrith’s below average record at Suncorp Stadium won’t deter them this weekend as Anthony Griffin returns to the place he called home for seven years.
The Broncos will start as comfortable favourites and deservedly so but there’s no doubting the Panthers will be up for the fight. Brisbane has shown they can be frail at times including just recently when Parramatta put 52 points on Wayne Bennett’s side at Suncorp.
If the Panthers can jump out to an early lead or at least run with the Broncos early, they’ll give themselves every chance of causing an upset. Penrith has scored a massive 21 tries in the final 10 minutes of games in 2017, a clear league leader in that area. In fact, Anthony Griffin’s side has scored 33 tries in the final quarter of games compared to just 12 in the opening 20 minutes.
Keep it close and the Broncos might start running.
Broncos by 2.