The Best of the Day preview takes the first hit-up with NRL tips for a massive showdown between the Brisbane Broncos and Penrith Panthers.

NRL Tips – Brisbane Broncos V Penrith Panthers

19:55 (AEST) @ Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

History: Played 53: Brisbane 33 V Penrith 13 (1 Draw)

Last meeting: Round 19, 2018: Brisbane 50 d Penrith 18 at Suncorp Stadium

Final Thoughts: The 2019 NRL finals race is reaching fever pitch and the Best of the Day preview runs the rule over an absolute crunch clash between the Brisbane Broncos and Penrith Panthers.

Both clubs sit inside the Top 8. While the winner will be in the box seat to feature in the playoffs, the loser will be at the mercy of the chasing pack.

The 9-1-10 Broncos are in eighth spot after losing just one of their last six games. That loss was a 40-4 belting at the hands of Melbourne – their only assignment since Round 14 against a current Top 8 side.

But they managed to escape Townsville with an 18-14 win last Thursday, via a last-minute Jake Turpin try.

The 10-10 Panthers are one point ahead in seventh. After piecing together a seven-match winning streak, back-to-back losses to Canberra and Canterbury looked set to derail their playoff hopes.

But they responded with a clutch 26-20 win over Cronulla in Round 21, despite the absence of James Maloney.

Maloney returns from suspension at the expense of impressive debutant Matt Burton.

Rugby union convert Izaia Perese is expect to come onto the Broncos’ bench for an NRL debut, with Matt Gillett and Alex Glenn still sidelined.

Panthers roll snake eyes in Brisvegas

The Broncos boast a dominant 22-6 all-time home record against the Panthers.

They have won the last three clashes between the clubs – which were all in Brisbane – and have won eight of the last 10 encounters at Suncorp. The Panthers were also swamped 30-4 by Wests Tigers during Magic Round this year.

Anthony Milford and Tevita Pangai Jr were the chief destroyers in a 50-18 demolition in Round 19 last year. Ashley Klein was a referee that night and the Panthers are aiming to snap an nine-match losing streak under the whistle-blower.

But with so much at stake, expect this to closely following the script of the preceding showdown: Brisbane’s gripping 13-6 win over Penrith during the 2017 finals.

Penrith are 4-6 away from Panthers Stadium in 2019. Brisbane are a modest 5-1-4 at Suncorp this season.

The Maloney factor will be in the back of the Broncos’ minds, but home-ground advantage should get them over the line in a Best of the Day thriller.

Tip: Margin – Broncos 1 to 10 @ $3.30