Time to look ahead to Sunday's decider! Rob Crosby has a full look at both teams and what to expect ...
24 hours ago
Brisbane will welcome back prop Shane Webcke from injury this weekend, when they take on the ladder-leading Bulldogs in front of what is expected to be a massive crowd at Suncorp Stadium.
Webcke will return to the side after missing three matches with a calf strain, while winger Scott Minto (neck) and giant youngster Tom Learoyd (knee) have also been named in a 19-man Broncos squad.
Minto?s inclusion is seen as a crucial one for Brisbane?s chances against the in-form Dogs, with Test centre Brent Tate able to move back into the centres where he will square off against Origin teammate Willie Tonga.
It is just one of several mouth-watering one-on-one clashes likely to draw fans attention on Sunday. Other crucial match-ups include Karmichael Hunt v Luke Patten at the back; Darren Lockyer v Braith Anasta at five-eighth; Webcke and Petero Civoniceva v Mark O?Meley and Steve Price up front; and the much anticipated Gorden Tallis v Willie Mason face-off on the fringe of the ruck.
Wayne Bennett will again share the dummy-half duties between emerging star Neville Costigan and veteran Paul Green, who impressed the veteran mentor with his efforts against New Zealand.
?I was very happy with Paul,? Bennett said after the Broncos 21-14 win.
?I didn?t expect him to set the world on fire straight away, but he has an important role with us for the rest of the season and I am pretty confident he will get it done.
?Neville isn?t old enough to be playing a full game at NRL level yet, so it is great to have someone of Paul?s calibre and experience to bring on when Nev needs a break.?
Both sides take great form into the match with the Broncos chalking-up six consecutive wins and the Bulldogs having won nine in succession. The winner of the match will also go a long way to securing a top-two position heading into the finals series.
VENUE: Suncorp Stadium DATE: Sunday, August 15, 2004 TIME: 3.00 pm COACH: Wayne Bennett
TEAM: 1: Karmichael Hunt 2: Scott Minto 3: Brent Tate 4: Shaun Berrigan 5: Stuart Kelly 6: Darren Lockyer 7: Casey McGuire 8: Shane Webcke 9: Neville Costigan 10: Petero Civoniceva 11: Gorden Tallis (c) 12: Dane Carlaw 13: Tonie Carroll
INTERCHANGE: 14: Corey Parker 15: Brad Meyers 16: Carl Webb 17: Paul Green 18: Darren Mapp 19: Tom Learoyd (two to be omitted)