Friday Night NRL

Image courtesy of couriermail.com.au, Source: Getty Images
Justin Hodges has been a shining light for the Broncos. image courtesy of: couriermail.com.au
The Brisbane Broncos can secure a top eight position with a win over Penrith on Friday night. There is no lack of motivation for the struggling Broncos who will aim to send veteran prop Petero Civoneciva out on a winning note in front of a huge home crowd. A Broncos win would guarantee a place in this year’s finals however a loss will leave their season in the hands of Wests Tigers who face Melbourne on Saturday. In a desperate bid to snap their six game losing streak, Anthony Griffin has reshuffled the Broncos backline with Corey Norman returning to five eight and Kiwi international Josh Hoffman lining up in his preferred fullback position. Penrith coach Ivan Cleary will take plenty of confidence into the 2013 season after steering the Panthers to four wins in their past six games to avoid the wooden spoon.

History – The Panthers traditionally struggle against the Broncos recording just two wins from their past eight games. The two clubs haven’t locked horns since round ten last year where Penrith recorded an emphatic 33-10 win over a depleted Broncos outfit. Penrith will be aiming to record three straight wins for the first time since 2010 when they take the field this Friday.

Dangermen – Broncos spearhead Justin Hodges has been a shining light for a lacklustre Brisbane attack in recent weeks. The Queensland State of Origin representative scored first against the Storm two weeks ago and has looked dangerous since returning from a hamstring injury. Panthers centre Michael Jennings scored a double against the Titans last week and will be hoping to end his chequered 2012 season on a high.

Prediction – It’s do or die for the Bronco. Petero Civoneciva’s final home game should provide the motivation for a solid Brisbane win. Broncos 1-12

Knights v Rabbitohs

A top four position is on the line when Newcastle hosts South Sydney on Friday night. Newcastle’s top eight hopes were washed away in last weekend’s loss to a red hot Cowboys side, while Souths flexed their muscles despatching Parramatta 38-6 to place a stranglehold on a top four position. The Rabbitohs will need a win to guarantee a top four spot and a secure a second bite at the cherry if they lose in the first weekend of finals football. Michael McGuire has named out of sorts Kiwi hooker Issac Luke on an extended bench while Newcastle remain unchanged from last weekend’s loss.

History – Hunter Stadium hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for the Rabbitohs in recent season where they’ve recorded a solitary win from their past twelve starts. Newcastle traditionally finish season off on a positive note recording ten wins from their past twelve final home game of the season.

Dangermen – Knights centre Dane Gagai has come on nicely since joining the Knights from the Broncos mid-season. Gagai scored in last weekend’s loss to Newcastle and has been a handy acquisition for the Knights. Greg Inglis was back to his devastating best in last weekend’s win over Parramatta. Inglis set up three tires and scored two on his way to a man of the match performance.

Prediction – Although Newcastle enjoy plenty of success at home the Rabbitohs should be too strong with a top four spot in the balance. Rabbitohs 1-12 .

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