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NRL ROUND 19

PARRAMATTA EELS VS BRISBANE BRONCOS

FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 18, 7.55 PM, BANKWEST STADIUM, SYDNEY

From any perspective, Parramatta have struggled the last month or so and hardly look like a top 4 team currently, but that will not stop them from reminding the Broncos how bad they are in this fixture.  Parramatta looked helpless to score against Penrith, despite defending well for long periods of elite offence last week, and eventually lost 20-2, giving Canberra a bit of interest in their top 4 position along the way.  Brisbane are just wishing for the end of next week for their season to end, and to get on with improving themselves on and off the field, as well as bringing in a new coach and some players, as 2020 has been an unmitigated disaster in all areas.  The Broncos could not go with Gold Coast who are starting to build a nice team last weekend losing 18-6, with only Haas staking claim to a decent game.  Breezy showers will certainly affect Bankwest’s turf making it a greasy surface and hard to play expansive Rugby League, meaning the game will be won in the Forwards, leaving Brisbane in a world of trouble, unless their big boys finally show up.

Parramatta are set to welcome back Queensland hopeful, Reed Mahoney at Hooker, while his replacement Stone is out of the side with a thumb injury, giving Utility Will Smith a chance to show his worth.  Brisbane’s star of 2020 is not making the trip to Sydney, as Payne Haas is out due to familial reasons, while Kennedy is suspended, leaving Te’o and Ofahengaue to take the Prop positions for this clash.  Gamble is given a shot at 5/8th after O’Sullivan did not satisfy new coach Peter Gentle enough in his few recent starts, while Croft was set to come in before taking a head knock at training.  Hopoate and Bullemor are both returning on the bench to cover for the promoted Forwards, and will be looking to make some impact if the Broncos stand any chance of matching the Eels.

Parramatta have turned the Broncos into their whipping boys lately, after combining for a 92-6 score in the past two matches, including the phenomenal slaughter back in the 2019 Finals Series.  That score shows just how poor Brisbane have been not only against Parramatta but overall, as they are about to break the clubs record for most points leaked in a season, despite the abbreviated campaign of 20 games, when up to 24 have been played in previous seasons.  Parramatta are handicapped at -18, while they are $1.09 heavyweights for this one, with Brisbane given no chance at $7.50.  It would be an upset for the ages if Brisbane toppled Parramatta in these circumstances, as they prepare to bid farewell legendary Fullback Darius Boyd.

PREDICTION: Parramatta by an ugly number for Brisbane fans.

BETTING TIP: $3 for Fijian flyer Sivo to score a pair of tries is a steal.