The Broncos kept their slim final dreams alive with a very strong 48 – 6 win last week against a depleted Newcastle side.
The win, only their second from their past five matches, was sparked by five-eight Ben Barba, who scored a treble, and the return from injury of Justin Hodges who was heavily involved in most of the Broncos tries from fullback where he covered for the injured Josh Hoffman.
Leading 14 – 0 at the break, the Broncos went right on with the job in the second half to register their seventh 13+ win of the season, four which have been recorded at Suncorp Stadium where their average points per game is a healthy 26.45.
Heading into this clash with two big home wins under their belt in the past three weeks and with no changes to the side that did the job against the Knights, the Broncos look well placed to still be in the finals hunt heading into the last round against Melbourne.
The Broncos are going with the same line-up as last week including Justin Hodges at fullback.
The Dragons hosted the struggling Gold Coast Titans last weekend and recorded a comfortable 34 – 6.
Both Brett Morris and Jason Nightingale scored for the Dragons last week, bring their collective total of tries in eight games since round 16, to an impressive sixteen, with at least one of the pair scoring in every match during this time.
It also highlights the improved performance of the Dragons backline since McGregor took over as coach and shifted Duggan, who attracts plenty of defensive attention, from fullback to the centres.
The victory moved the Dragons up to 26 competition points and equal with the Broncos. With both teams now sitting outside of the eight by one win, it makes this clash a do or die match for each club.
Good news for the Dragons during the week with both Benji Marshall and Josh Duggan cleared of injuries from last week and named to take their position this week.
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HEAD TO HEAD
The Broncos have won their last seven straight against the Dragons, five of which have been played at Suncorp.
Little has separated the two though when playing at Suncorp with the Broncos most recent wins, no greater than eight points.
Three of the last four contests have produced a total match score in excess of 48 points and, with both teams in good try-scoring form and the likelihood of perfect conditions for the match, the line of 41.5 could easily be covered.
BRONCOS: Justin Hodges, Daniel Vidot, Jack Reed, Dale Copley, Lachlan Maranta, Ben Barba, Ben Hunt, Josh McGuire, Andrew McCullough, Corey Parker (c), Alex Glenn, Matt Gillett, Sam Thaiday.
Interchange: Jarrod Wallace, Martin Kennedy, Ben Hannant, Corey Oates, Todd Lowrie (one to be omitted).
DRAGONS: Gerard Beale, Brett Morris, Josh Dugan, Peter Mata’utia, Jason Nightingale, Gareth Widdop, Benji Marshall, Ben Creagh, Mitch Rein, Jack de Belin, Leeson Ah Mau, Joel Thompson, Trent Merrin.
Interchange: Tyson Frizell, Mike Cooper, Will Mathews, Kyle Stanley, Nathan Green, Bronson Harrison, Jack Stockwell (three to be omitted).