Broncos v Titans preview - 2017 Round 7

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The third match on a super Friday of rugby league pits two Queensland teams together who are going in complete different directions in 2017.

Brisbane, high off a 32-8 drubbing of the Sydney Roosters will no doubt see this game as an opportunity to further itself up the ladder and collect two competition points at the expense of its Queensland neighbours. The Broncos have looked in good nick for most of the year and are a team that has the explosiveness and talent defensively to trouble any team in the competition. They do have to cover the loss of half back Ben Hunt for at least the next six weeks, but will feel confident that Kodi Nikorima can get the job in the interim along with fellow halves partner Anthony Milford. 

The Gold Coast Titans have had a rough introduction to the 2017 season, with poor form, injuries and suspension all playing a part in it winning just one of its opening six games and barely above last place Newcastle in 15th position. For a side that made the finals last season (it was knocked out by Brisbane in week one) it has been a surprising fall from grace. Again this week, Neil Henry has had to reshuffle his side in an attempt to find that winning combination. It will be a stern road trip for the Titans, but if it was able to collect a win at Suncorp Stadium on Friday, it could be the kind of win to kick start a season.

Last meeting: Finals Wk 1 2016 - Broncos 44 Titans 28

Brisbane controversially knocked out the Titans last year in a high scoring affair that had neutral fans begging for more.

The Broncos have dominated proceedings since the Titans entered the NRL in 2007. They have won the past five and have only lost to the Titans five times in 21 clashes. The Titans' last win at Suncorp Stadium was in 2007 in the first meeting between the pair, to date it is still the Titans only win at Suncorp Stadium.

Who to watch: All eyes will be on Kodi Nikorima in this clash as he attempts to fill the boots of Ben Hunt. With Hunt leaving the club to join the Dragons in 2018, it is a good dress rehearsal to see how the future number 7 will cope with the rigors of professional rugby league. Nikorima has good speed, a dangerous step and a solid kicking game (both long and short). He is highly touted at Red Hill and will be desperate to prove himself in this Friday night clash.

The Titans defence has been awful this year conceding 182 points (at an average of more than 30 points per game) that has to improve if they are to get a victory on Friday. Coach Neil Henry has shifted Mr fix it Ryan Simpkins from hooker to lock in the hope that he can sure up the edges of the field. It has been a problem for the Titans since round one and Simpkins who is one of the better defenders in the club will be desperate to help plug the gaps.

The favourite: Brisbane heavy favourites coming into this one at home against the cellar-dwelling Titans.

My tip: Brisbane to continue their good form with another win at home. It will be closer than many people anticipate but the Broncs will still be too strong. Brisbane by 6.

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. Tevita Pangai 17. David Mead

1. Tyrone Roberts 2. Anthony Don 3. Dale Copley 20. Dan Sarginson 5. Tyrone Roberts-Davis 6. Kane Elgey 7. Ashley Taylor 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Nathan Peats 10. Ryan James 11. Chris McQueen 12. Chris Grevsmuhl 13. Ryan Simpkins 14. Karl Lawton 15. Max King 16. Paterika Vaivai 17. Leivaha Pulu

Referees: Grant Atkins, Chris Sutton; Sideline Officials: Michael Wise, Belinda Sleeman; Video Referees: Bernard Sutton, Luke Patten;

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