19: 55 (AEST) @ Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
History: Played 46: Brisbane 27 V Sydney Roosters 19.
Last meeting: Qualifying Final, 2017: Roosters 24 d Broncos 22 at Allianz Stadium.
It’s crunch time for the Jekyll and Hyde Brisbane Broncos as they host a Sydney Roosters side that look to belatedly be hitting their straps in a critical NRL Round 11 match-up.
After notching close back-to-back wins over Souths and Canterbury, the Broncos went down 38-24 to previously struggling Manly at home. They weren’t flash against the Bulldogs and were downright awful defensively against the Sea Eagles.
Battling big-name recruit Jack Bird is out injured, while Alex Glenn and Payne Haas are also sidelined, which brings a couple of novices in Kontoni Staggs and Patrick Mago onto the bench. But despite their troubles, the Broncos are still ninth.
— Brisbane Broncos (@brisbanebroncos) May 17, 2018
Kotoni Staggs is a sensational rugby league name. Tipping he’ll go well. https://t.co/6tnjzwVasW
— Steve Zemek (@stevezemek) May 17, 2018
The Roosters sit sixth and within striking distance of the top four after edging out Manly in Round 9 then destroying the red-hot Warriors 32-0 on the road.
Their pack was dominant, Luke Keary was superb, and slightly underwhelming marquee buys Cooper Cronk and James Tedesco shone on the back of that. But the zero on defence was particularly pleasing from the Roosters’ perspective.
— NRL (@NRL) May 12, 2018
With Origin just around the corner there’s more at stake than the two NRL competition points, and Cam Smith’s shock rep retirement was deliciously timed with Queensland hooker contenders Jake Friend and Andrew McCullough squaring off here.
Opposing wingers Corey Oates and Blake Ferguson are also fighting for spots in their respective state teams, while Latrell Mitchell, Dylan Napa, Keary, Darius Boyd, James Roberts and Sam Thaiday are all trying to press their claims.
— Courier Mail Sport (@cmail_sport) May 15, 2018
Results have overwhelmingly favoured the home side in this rivalry in recent seasons, with neither side able to chalk up an away victory in the past eight encounters.
Last season the Roosters prevailed in a pair of two-point thrillers in Sydney – including an epic finals clash – but the Broncos romped to a 32-8 win at Suncorp.
The teams have a habit of producing tight contests, with five of the last nine decided by just four points or less.
The Broncos are just 2-3 at Suncorp in 2018, while the Roosters’ assignment in Auckland last week was their first game outside Sydney since Round 23 last year.
The Roosters enter as understandably warm favourites, but the Broncos have more resolve than they’ve been given credit for and tend to relish these backs-to-the-wall challenges. The Roosters should get it done but the hosts will push them all the way.