Friday Night NRL

Corey Norman has won the race for the Broncos number six jersey. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au
Corey Norman will have added responsibility in the absence of Peter Wallace. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au
The Broncos will be without enforcer Ben Te’o for their Round 7 clash with Canberra at Suncorp Stadium. The Broncos utility was suspended for two weeks at the NRL judiciary on Wednesday night after a shoulder charge on Matt Groat in last week’s win over Wests.

The Raiders were bolstered last week by the early return of QLD origin representative David Shillington, however they are still low on troops heading into the clash missing the services of Josh Dugan, Shaun Fensom and Joel Thompson.

History – Traditionally, these two sides endure hard fought, low scoring games. The Raiders have proved to be somewhat of a bogey team for the Broncos over recent seasons and both teams head into the game with five wins apiece from their past ten encounters. The Raiders trounced the Broncos 56-0 in Round 21 of 2009 but the Broncos have won the past two games between the clubs.

Dangermen – Justin Hodges  is back to his best. The Broncos centre has found his feet after his last couple of seasons were hampered by niggling injuries. Hodges ranks second in the comp for offloads and leads all centres for try assists. Raiders’ flyer Reece Robinson has been impressive for the green machine since replacing Josh Dugan at fullback. Robinson scored the game’s first try last week on his way to a handy double against the Warriors.

Prediction – It’s hard to go past the Broncos, who are without a doubt the form team in the competition behind Melbourne. Expect a fiery opening half with the Broncos running away with the game in the second. Broncos 13+

Knights v Dragons

Who would have thought? After meeting in opening round of the 2012 season the Knights and Dragons lock horns once more in the space of six weeks. This time it’s at the Dragons spiritual home of Win Jubilee Stadium. Both teams have been flat in the opening rounds of the season recording three wins and three losses each.

Matt Prior starts at left centre for the Dragons in an attempt to contain a crafty Newcastle backline. The Knights have named an unchanged lineup from the side that beat Parramatta last week. Plenty of emotion will be surrounding the clash with Newcastle journeyman Danny Buderus playing his 200th NRL game.

History – We saw it in round 1, there isn’t much that separates these two teams. In fact the last three games between the clubs have been decided by a total of seven points. Newcastle are no strangers to winning on the road to the Dragons claiming the past four games on Dragons turf.

Dangermen – Knights winger James McManus is quite possibly one of the most underated players in the NRL. The Scotsmen is always solid in defence and has already crossed the line on four occasions this season. Dragons winger Jason Nightingale is hard to stop close to the line and is lethal underneath the highball, expect the likes of Soward and Hornby to send plenty of kicks in his direction.

Prediction – If history repeats itself then this game is set to go down to the wire. There isn’t a great deal separating these two clubs however the Knights impressive record away from home is hard to look past. Newcastle 1-12  

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