It’s an all Queensland affair as the Brisbane Broncos travel down the highway to take on their proverbial little brother, the Gold Coast Titans. The southeast Queensland derby has produced some classic encounters in the past, with Brisbane escaping with a narrow win at Suncorp Stadium back in round seven after a Matt Gillett charge down.
The Broncos will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing performance against Parramatta last week. Brisbane have a tough route into the finals, with all remaining games coming against current top eight teams, and will be eager to notch a victory over the struggling Titans. This task will be especially difficult after the devastating news that inspirational hooker Andrew McCullough will miss the remainder of the 2017 season after tearing both his MCL and ACL.
The Titans will also be keen to bounce back after their finals hopes were all-but ended in an embarrassing 26-4 home defeat to Wests Tigers last week. Despite their disappointing season, the Titans have claimed some impressive scalps throughout the year, including beating the Storm and the Sharks, showing what they are capable of at their best. Another exciting aspect of the encounter is based on reports during the week that Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett plans to lure star Titans halfback, Ash Taylor, back to Red Hill.
2017- Rd 7 Brisbane Broncos 24 def. Gold Coast Titans 22 at Suncorp Stadium
2016- Finals Week 1 Brisbane Broncos 44 def. Gold Coast Titans 28 at Suncorp Stadium
2016- Rd 5 Brisbane Broncos 24 def. Gold Coast Titans 16 at Cbus Super Stadium
2015- Rd 20 Brisbane Broncos 34 def. Gold Coast Titans 0 at Suncorp Stadium
2015- Rd 5 Brisbane Broncos 26 def. Gold Coast Titans 16 at Cbus Super Stadium
The Broncos have dominated this fixture in recent years, winning their last five games against the Titans across the past three seasons, including ending Gold Coast’s season in round one of the finals last year. The Titans have won just five of 22 encounters, with their last victory coming back in 2014.
|Jarryd Hayne||1||1||Darius Boyd|
|Anthony Don||2||2||David Mead|
|Dale Copley||3||3||James Roberts|
|John Olive||4||4||Tautau Moga|
|William Zillman||5||5||Jordan Kahu|
|Kane Elgey||6||6||Anthony Milford|
|Ashley Taylor||7||7||Kodi Nikorima|
|Jarrod Wallace||8||8||Korbin Sims|
|Nathan Peats||9||9||Ben Hunt|
|Ryan James||10||10||Adam Blair|
|Kevin Proctor||11||11||Alex Glenn|
|Joe Greenwood||12||12||Matt Gillett|
|Max King||13||13||Josh McGuire|
|Tyrone Roberts||14||14||Sam Thaiday|
|Morgan Boyle||15||15||Tevita Pangai Junior|
|Leivahu Pulu||16||16||Joe Ofahengaue|
|Agnatius Paasi||17||17||Benji Marshall|
|Nathaniel Peteru||18||18||Corey Oates|
|Phillip Sami||19||19||Tom Opacic|
|Pat Politoni||20||20||Herman Ese’ese|
|Paterika Vaivai||21||21||Jamayne Isaako|
The Facts That Matter
Gold Coast Titans
The Titans have been amongst the most inconsistent teams this year but last week’s home loss to the Tigers must be the low point. The positives for the Gold Coast have been their ability to knock off the top teams in the competition throughout the year. Additionally, the Titans should have beaten the Broncos at Suncorp earlier in the year before a last minute Gillett charge down handed Brisbane victory.
The Titans are gradually getting troops back, with Kevin Proctor returning to the second row and Pat Politoni coming back onto the bench. Jarryd Hayne’s return to his preferred position at fullback has seen an increase in his production levels and his improving combination with their young halves gives the Titans much needed strike power in the backline. If the forwards can match the Broncos pack, it will give Hayne time and space to create chances for the home side.
Ben Hunt will replace the injured McCullough, who had been instrumental to the Broncos success throughout the year before his career-best form was cruelly cut short. Whilst Hunt may fill the offensive void, he will be hard pressed to emulate McCullough defensively, who was averaging just under 45 tackles a match this season. Brisbane will rely on some experienced heads in the forward pack to stiffen up their centre defence.
Kodi Nikorima will return to halfback, with the Broncos winning six from six this year when he starts in the halves. Unlike the Titans, Brisbane have everything to play for as they are clinging on to fourth place. The possible return of Corey Oates will also bolster the outside back stocks and provide some much-needed metres from kick returns.
McCullough is a massive loss for Brisbane, who will likely take several games to adapt to life without him. The Titans can’t play any worse than they did last week and have shown their capabilities throughout the season. However, the Broncos simply have too much to play for and should be desperate to cement themselves in the top four. Although it may be scrappy at times, Brisbane should have enough class to see off the Gold Coast.
Prediction: Broncos by 10.
Who do you think will have enough about them to win the southeast Queensland derby, the Titans or Broncos? Let us know in the poll and comments below.
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