Broncos v Eels NRLW preview

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Brisbane Broncos v Parramatta Eels Sunday 12:05pm at Central Coast Stadium, Gosford

Eels look to be spoilers as Broncos charge for the finals

The Brisbane Broncos will be out to cement their spot in the 2022 NRLW finals series against a Parramatta side that's going to prove to be a little more than nuisance value at Central Coast Stadium.

Brisbane were unlucky not to walk away with the two points after coming back in the last five minutes from 18-8 down to force golden point. Although they didn't get the victory, there were some positive signs. The resilience from the ladies was very impressive, considering hooker Lavinia Gould only lasted two minutes due to injury and other injuries hampered the Broncos. 

Ultimately, it's been a season of transition for Kelvin Wright as they've lost several key players to other clubs and have had to rely significantly on the QLD halfback and captain Ali Brigginshaw. Although Ali has done a terrific job for the Broncos, she can't do it all on her own. With a potential win and in scenario in play, it's time for the Broncos pack to stand up and take it to the Eels. On the team front, Emily Bass is back on the wing, Shakiah Tungai coming out of the 17. Jada Ferguson replaces Lavinia Gould (calf) at dummy half, Amy Turner joins the bench.

For the Eels, it's been a season full of what if's. They've been in every game they've played in this 2022 season, but at the critical moments, the play has just gone wrong. Dean Widders has a talented squad at his disposal, and it could prove to take down the Broncos and their finals chances this season. Their strengths have been in the backs with Gayle Broughton proving to be one of the finds of the season. Her evasive footwork has proven to be a real handful and her combination with Tiana Penitani has been electrifying. 

Last weekend was another nail-biting defeat at the hands of the Titans. Sitting in the live-update chair on Saturday afternoon, it just seemed that the Eels had a lack of possession in the first half and it's what ultimately cost them victory. When they had the ball, they showed their class and crossed for some lovely tries including two blockbusting efforts from Simaima Taufa and Rima Butler. If they can win the share of possession, then the Broncos are in for a tough afternoon. Dean Widders has gone with the same side looking to provide the knock-out blow on Brisbane's season.

Last meeting: Round 5 2021 - Broncos 38 Eels 4

Who to watch: With the absence of Tamika Upton this season, Hayley Maddick has taken on the fullback position. She's been a handful for defenders, breaking tackles 11 times in her three matches at the back, although she's yet to dive over for her first career try. Maddick had her strongest showing last week, running for 118 meters and being more involved than her previous matches. Look for Maddick to link up with Brigginshaw and push the Broncos towards the finals. 

Parramatta's player to watch is the strike weapon Tiana Penitani. The strike centre has been a big time player in an Eels side that's just fallen short at the worst possible time. Penitani's electric pace and short pacing has been immense for the Eels left hand edge, watch for her to get on the outside of her opposite number Jaime Chapman this weekend. 

The favourite: Brisbane are strong favourites to secure a finals spot.

My tip: This could really go either way, but I believe the class of Ali Brigginshaw is going to be the difference and with a talented Broncos backline, that will be the starting gun for their run into the finals. Parramatta will give it their all and will be in this game right up to the final whistle, so expect a close encounter. Brisbane by 2.

1. Hayley Maddick 2. Julia Robinson 3. Jaime Chapman 4. Shenae Ciesiolka 5. Emily Bass 6. Tarryn Aiken 7. Ali Brigginshaw 8. Annetta Nuuausala 9. Jada Ferguson 12. Amber Hall 11. Jasmine Fogavini 15. Hannah Larsson 16. Sophie Holyman 14. Amy Turner 10. Chelsea Lenarduzzi 17. Brianna Clark 19. Nita Maynard 18. Paige Parker

1. Gayle Broughton 2. Zali Fay 3. Tiana Penitani 4. Rikeya Horne 5. Cassey Tohi-Hiku 6. Ash Quinlan 7. Tayla Preston 14. Kennedy Cherrington 21. Brooke Anderson 10. Ellie Johnston 11. Christian Pio 12. Vanessa Foliaki 13. Simaima Taufa 8. Filomina Hanisi 9. Seli Mailangi 19. Najvada George 22. Rima Butler 18. Abbi Church

Referees: Kasey Badger; Sideline Officials: Karra-Lee Nolan, Rochelle Tamarua; Video Referees: Chris Butler;

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