Broncos vs Panthers: Tough Test in Grand Final Rematch Against Reigning Premiers

The Brisbane Broncos are gearing up for a crucial clash against the Penrith Panthers in a grand final rematch this Friday, July 5. As the 10th-placed Broncos struggle with a string of losses and injury woes, they face a formidable challenge against the reigning premiers. Broncos vs Panthers kick off  8:00 p.m. at Suncorp Stadium.

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Recent loss adds to Broncos’ woes

The Broncos enter this match on the back of a 32-16 defeat to the Warriors at Go Media Stadium despite a valiant effort from an undermanned Brisbane side.

The team, already missing five regular starters due to Origin, injuries, and suspensions, suffered another setback when Jack Gosiewski left the field with a broken arm in the opening minutes.

Broncos vs Panthers

Brisbane receives a timely boost with the return of State of Origin stars Reece Walsh, Payne Haas, and Patrick Carrigan.

However, the team’s forward pack remains depleted due to injuries and suspensions. Props Ben Te Kura and Fletcher Baker are sidelined with foot and knee injuries respectively, while second-rowers Jordan Riki, Jaiyden Hunt, and Jack Gosiewski are also unavailable.

Coach Kevin Walters faces a selection dilemma with only seven middle and edge forwards available from the top-30 squad. The Broncos will field all available forwards, including Corey Jensen, Kobe Hetherington, Brendan Piakura, Xavier Willison, and Martin Taupau.

The Panthers, also coming off a disappointing loss to the Cowboys, welcome back their own Origin contingent. Dylan Edwards, Brian To’o, Jarome Luai, and Liam Martin return to the lineup, strengthening the team for this important fixture.

Recent history favours the Panthers, who have won seven of their last eight encounters with the Broncos. Brisbane’s last victory against Penrith at Suncorp Stadium dates back to 2019, adding another layer of challenge for the home team.

Kevin Walters remains optimistic

Despite the recent setbacks, coach Kevin Walters maintains a positive outlook on the Broncos’ finals prospects. “If you have a good look at the table, there are a few teams like us behind the leaders and all in the race,” Walters states. 

“I expect us to get ourselves together sooner rather than later with some really strong performances leading into the finals.”

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The match against Penrith marks the beginning of a crucial period for the Broncos. With upcoming games against St George Illawarra and Newcastle, Brisbane need to secure six wins from their last nine games to keep their finals hopes alive.

Published 02-July-2024