Brisbane Broncos Vs Parramatta Eels: NRL Round 23 Preview

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Broncos shoot for two straight against slippery Eels

This one could get interesting…

Two sides, one that is attempting to hold on to their top 8 status and another who is no doubt looking forward to the off season and a break from the media circus.

Brisbane bounced back unconvincingly last week against a hapless St George Illawarra side 12-8 in torrential rain. They know how valuable every win is and also the confidence boost it can give (and this Brisbane side needs all of it). Wayne Bennett knows what to do to get the Broncos out of this rut and he is the one man you want at the helm in this kind of situation. Don’t strike out Brisbane yet, although their form is poor, this is a side that could cause some damage in the finals.

Parramatta enjoyed a rare bright spot last week as they dented Manly’s finals hopes with a last gasp 10-9 defeat at home. It was a well deserved win for the Eels who have tried hard all year. With the majority of a nightmarish season behind them, the Eels are finally able to fully focus on their on the field performances. What an upset it would be if the blue and gold’s could knock over Brisbane in Brisbane. If they want to achieve this they need Beau Scott and Danny Wicks to lay the platform up front in the engine room and then rely on some magic from Bevan French and Michael Gordon.

Last meeting: Round 1 2016 – Eels 4 Broncos 17

Brisbane outclassed the Eels in round 1 and would love to replicate that performance on Friday night. They have won 3 of the past 4 against the Eels and have only lost 6 times in their last 19 games against the Eels at Suncorp Stadium.

Who to watch: For Brisbane it has to be the halves doesn’t it? The form of Anthony Milford and Ben Hunt has been much publicised in the second half of the season and Brisbane’s lack of points is consistent with Hunt and Milford’s struggles. They both need to pick up where they left off last week with their kicking games and kicking into the corners to turn around the back three of the Eels. For Milford he needs to pick his runs and display that pace and elusiveness that we have become accustomed to. Look for him to have an impact in the last 15 minutes of each half as the Eels big bodies get fatigued.

In an otherwise difficult season, youngster Bevan French has been a revelation for Parramatta. Having shown ability in the Auckland 9’s, he has eventually got his chance in first grade and has not let go of it. His break away speed and deadly stepping are his most impressive traits. His 11 tries in just 9 games along with 5 line breaks is evident of the quality of the young man. One to keep an eye on for the future.

The favourite: Brisbane are strong favourites in this match at home.

My tip: Brisbane to get some more momentum in their push for the finals with a win here. Their forwards have been impressive all year and they will lay the platform for an impressive performance. Unfortunately with all of the drama, suspensions and injuries, the Eels won’t have the quality in the park to compete with the Broncos. Broncos by 10.


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