Round 12: Broncos v Sharks preview
Battling Broncos host surging Sharks
The Brisbane Broncos will be desperate for a win on Friday night when they host the Cronulla Sharks at Suncorp Stadium.
Producing a much-improved first half before capitulating to a 46-8 thumping at the hands of the Storm last week, the Brisbane Broncos will be hoping a good run of form over their opponents continues on Friday evening.
Winning their past six matches against the Sharks over the past three years - including their only win in Sydney during Anthony Seibold's tenure - a loss would see the 2020 team move within striking distance of equalling the club's worst ever run of form - one win from 11 matches held by the 2003 roster.
Sitting two points clear of the last-placed Bulldogs in 15th position, Richie Kennar, Jake Turpin, Issac Luke and Ethan Bullemor come into the squad with Anthony Milford reverting to five-eighth and Darius Boyd starting at fullback for the first time in a year.
Defying early season form to sit in seventh position with five wins from their past six matches, the Cronulla Sharks will have their sights set on cementing a place in the top eight as the run towards the finals begins.
Holding off a late rally from the Dragons to claim a 28-24 victory at Kogarah last Saturday, coach John Morris will be out to reverse a poor record at Suncorp Stadium that has seen the Sharks manage five wins from 15 visits since the venue was redeveloped in the early 2000s.
Chasing victories at all three major Queensland venues for the first time following wins in Townsville and the Gold Coast earlier in the season, the match will mark 200 NRL appearances for Aaron Woods and Dugan, while Jesse Ramien will bring up 50 appearances as well.
In a season to forget for the league's former powerhouse club, the development of Herbie Farnworth has served as a rare bright spot. Beginning the season off the bench before earning his chance to start in the backline, the 20-year-old Englishman has held his own with and without the ball under difficult circumstances. Averaging just under 90 metres and a tackle break each week in his first full season in the top grade, Farnworth will be hoping to replicate the success enjoyed against the Sharks in his NRL debut just over a year ago.
Beginning his career at the Tigers back in 2011, Sharks prop Aaron Woods will become the latest player to bring up 200 NRL appearances on Friday evening. Enjoying a successful career at the joint venture before heading to the Sharks via a short stint with the Bulldogs, the 29-year-old has remained a valuable contributor with 145 metres and 28 tackles per game. Recognised as the best prop in the game twice along with representing New South Wales and Australia at the height of his powers, Woods will be determined to wind back the clock to help the Sharks record a rare victory at Suncorp Stadium.
My tip: With the Broncos fielding a team boasting 11 players with fewer than 40 NRL games to their names, the experience of the Sharks milestone men should pave the way for a comfortable victory. Sharks by 16.