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80:00
8:05pm Fri August 13, 2021
Round 22 - Suncorp Stadium - Crowd: 14314

Round 22: Brisbane v Sydney preview

The Broncos have shown vast improvement in the latter stages of this season, although their form has still been wildly inconsistent. 

Brisbane is yet to claim back-to-back wins this year, following up a dominant win over the Cowboys with a disappointing performance against the Knights. 

The Broncos actually shoed strong defensive resolve early against Newcastle but rued handling errors in prime field position as the Knights ran out 28-20 winners. 

Brisbane currently sits six points ahead of the last-placed Bulldogs with victory on the weekend guaranteeing it will avoid the wooden spoon.

There are a host of changes of the team sheet this week with Albert Kelly replacing Brodie Croft in the halves while Selywn Cobbo comes in for Jesse Arthars.

Xavier Coates also earns a recall on the wing while Thomas Flegler returns from suspension.

Meanwhile, last Saturday's game with Penrith may have ended in defeat for the Roosters but there will still plenty of positives to take from it. 

After falling behind 20-6, Trent Robinson's men had every chance of conceding cheap points as the game wore on. 

The Panthers have a habit for getting on roll once the points start to flow but to their credit, the Roosters fought back and eventually came within a try of the win. 

Ill-discipline though proved costly with 12 errors and eight conceded penalties making it hard for the Tricolours to mount pressure. 

The loss of Angus Crichton for the next three weeks (via suspension) will also further test the club's depth, although the return of Sitili Tupouniua helps there with Joey Manu shifting back to the centres.

Fortunately for the Roosters both the Eels and Sea Eagles also slipped up last week, meaning they remain a strong chance of taking out a top-four spot with a win this week.

Earlier this season, the Broncos shocked the Roosters with a 34-16 win in Round 11.

Last meeting: Round 11 2021 - Roosters 16 Broncos 34

Who to watch: Plenty of heads turned when the Broncos opted to play Albert Kelly against the Roosters earlier this year.

The veteran playmaker though proved his critics wrong in a sensational Brisbane debut, running for 43 metres alongside four tackle busts, an offload, a linebreak and a try assist. Now Kelly is reportedly on the verge of a contract extension.

Without a deal at the end of the year, Kelly's recall to first grade gives him yet another chance to prove himself against the same team he did similar against back in May. 

He will also be playing alongside the same halves partner in Tyson Gamble, adding an element of familiarity to his role.

Victor Radley's last outing against Brisbane did not exactly go to plan. Sent to the sin bin twice, Radley's game time was significantly limited and when he was on the field he was unable to settle back into his normal rhythm. 

So often Radley's ball-playing close to the line frees up time for his playmakers and Sam Walker in particular to shine. But that night without him Walker was heavily targeted in defence and a shadow of his usual best.

With Radley's mix of aggression and subtle ball-playing the Roosters are a far better unit both in attack and defence.

The favourite: The Roosters are well-backed here.

My tip: The Broncos may be at home but this game means far too much for the Roosters, who are closing in on a top-four spot. They will want revenge for their most recent defeat to Brisbane. Roosters by 30