Friday Night NRL

Image courtesy of foxsports.com.au
Ben hunt will retain the number six jersey against Melbourne.
The underperforming Brisbane Broncos face the ultimate challenge when they take on premiership heavyweights Melbourne at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night. The Broncos stuttering continued last weekend relinquishing a 14-0 first half lead to be gobbled up 22-14 by the fast finishing Bulldogs. Although recording a solid 24-16 win over the Titans at home last weekend, Melbourne will require an improved first half performance to impress coach Craig Bellamy. Broncos workhorse Josh McGuire has succumbed to an eye injury ruling him out indefinitely while Melbourne veteran Anthony Quinn returns for the Storm.

History – Melbourne has completely outclassed Brisbane in recent seasons winning ten of the past twelve clashes between the two sides. An improved defensive effort will be at the top of Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin’s wish list after the Broncos conceded 92 points in their past three games. Minus a number of Origin stars Melbourne handed the Broncos a 34-10 belting in round twelve this season.

Dangermen – Brisbane centre Justin Hodges made a successful come back from injury against the Bulldogs last weekend, Hodges presence was a much needed boost to the Broncos attack and he is sure to add plenty of strike power on their right hand side. Storm fullback Billy Slater continues to improve after returning from a knee injury, Slater has scored eight tries in eight games for the Storm at Suncorp Stadium.

Prediction – If the Broncos are any chance of recapturing form that saw them marked as premiership contenders it needs to start this week. With their backs well and truly to the walls and after a spirited first half against the Bulldogs the Broncos should record a narrow, famous victory. Brisbane 1-12 .

Bulldogs v Wests

Round 24 have certainly thrown up some blockbuster games and none will be more exciting when the Bulldogs take on Wests Tigers in front of 50,000 fans at ANZ Stadium on Friday night. The Bulldogs are bidding to become only the twelfth team in Australian rugby league history to win twelve consecutive games in one season while the Tigers are fighting for a top eight berth. Englishmen James Graham returns for the Bulldogs after missing last wins win over Brisbane with the Tigers unchanged after their win over the Dragons.

History – The Bulldogs enjoy a quality record against the Tigers recording three successive wins and winning five of their past seven games against the boys from Leichardt. These two combatants locked horns just five weeks ago when the Bulldogs recorded a 32-20 win on the back of double from NSW origin centre Josh Morris.

Dangermen – Who else? Bulldogs flyer Ben Barba is the name on everyone’s lips. Barba’s 2012 campaign continues to go from strength to strength leading the NRL with 19 tries for the season and 127 tackle busts and is also second in line breaks with 22 for the season many of which turn into four points. Wests young gun Marika Koroibete has showed an impressive turn of foot in recent weeks securing his place in the Tigers starting side.

Prediction

– This game will be an absolute cracker. Both teams boast some of the most entertaining players in the game however it’s hard to see a rock solid Bulldogs defence letting in too many points against the Tigers. Bulldogs 1-12 .


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