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2 hours ago
Brisbane aim to consolidate their spot in the Top Four as the Tigers start life without Mitchell Moses
After a shaky start the Broncos powered home 24-14 over Manly to record their fifth straight victory last week. When you consider that this has largely been without halfback Ben Hunt, their winning streak is made even more impressive. As a result, the Broncos have confirmed their premiership credentials and thus will look to avoid complacency this week when they take on a Tigers outfit who sit in 15th place on the ladder. What puts them in good stead, however, is their discipline. Wayne Bennett's men have made the least amount of errors in the competition at 9.2 per game, whilst also conceding the fourth least amount of penalties. If they are consistent with this and do not gift the Tigers any cheap possession it will go a long way to winning, seeing that Wests have scored the least amount of tries in the competition this year.
Meanwhile, Friday night's game shapes as a critical one for the Tigers if they are to keep in touch with the Top Eight. Whilst it is safe to say that not many expected Ivan Cleary's men to be there in September, their fans would still like to see the commitment and dedication which the Tigers had displayed in the games previous to their 28-8 loss at the hands of the Rabbitohs last week. In particular, the Tigers were shocking in defence, missing a whopping 57 tackles. Any side, no matter their attacking brilliance, who come up with statistics like that will be struggling to win football matches. This week's game also marks the away side's first outing without five-eighth Mitchell Moses with Jack Littlejohn favoured by Cleary to take his spot.
Last meeting: Round 12 2016 - Broncos 18 Wests Tigers 19
It was Moses who proved the match-winner in last year's only meeting between these two sides, with the Tigers' five-eighth kicking a late field-goal to sink the Broncos 19-18 in Round 12 at Suncorp Stadium.
Who to watch: While he will not be picked for Origin this year, Andrew McCullough is well and truly on his way to overtaking Cameron Smith's No. 9 jersey when the Queensland hooker retires. And his form has more than justified this. McCullough is averaging 54 tackles a game and can pose a serious threat close to the line with both his deft kicking game and slicing runs.
If the Tigers are to do anything this year they really need halfback Luke Brooks to stand up. Brooks' three try-assists, one try and one line break from seven games are not exactly the numbers you would want from a man who now has to take on even more responsibility with Moses' departure. If Brooks can guide his side around they have enough strike out wide to at least keep this one close.
The favourite: Brisbane are heavily favoured to account for the lowly Tigers.
My tip: Look for the Broncos to dominate this one quite comfortably. Brisbane by 14.
1. Darius Boyd 2. Corey Oates 3. James Roberts 4. Tautau Moga 5. Jordan Kahu 6. Anthony Milford 7. Kodi Nikorima 16. Herman Essese 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Adam Blair 14. Alex Glenn 12. Matt Gillett 13. Josh Mcguire 8. Korbin Sims 11. Sam Thaiday 15. Joe Ofahengaue 17. David Mead
1. James Tedesco 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Malakai Watene-Zelezniak 4. Moses Suli 5. Kevin Naiqama 6. Jack Littlejohn 20. Jordan Rankin 8. Aaron Woods 9. Matt McIlwrick 10. Sauaso Sue 11. Joel Edwards 16. Kyle Lovett 13. Elijah Taylor 14. Tim Grant 15. Josh Aloiai 17. Jacob Liddle 21. Michael Chee-Kam
Referees: Grant Atkins, Gavin Reynolds; Sideline Officials: Rohan Best, Brett Suttor; Video Referees: Bernard Sutton, Ben Galea;