Roosters v Broncos @ Allianz Stadium
The Broncos travel to Allianz Stadium with their Top 4 hopes clinging by a thread as they take on the struggling Roosters on Thursday Night. The Broncos are in free fall having lost 6 of their past 8 matches in the process plummeting to 6th place on the NRL ladder. The Roosters are cast well adrift in 15th place with a measly 3 wins for the season in what has become a nightmare campaign. Both sides are coming off losing streaks and come into this match desperate for a win for different reasons.
Whilst the Broncos have more to play and occupy a much loftier position on the ladder It's for the Roosters for mine that have been playing the better football of late. The Roosters have pushed Melbourne, Cronulla and Parramatta in recent losses and led in all three games only to be run down. Trent Robinson's men remain a side with plenty of talent which makes their season tally of 3 wins all the more galling for Chooks fans. They have had too many distractions this year and are the epitome of a side that has climbed the mountain and just couldn't get up for another gruelling NRL season. Like fellow recent Premiers in Manly, Souths and the Dragons the Roosters are finding out the hard way that all the juice can be squeezed from the Orange in scaling that mountain. Whilst there are plenty of senior players that have a lot of pride and would be hurting the Roosters have lost their edge. They are marking time before the end of the season but will want a win or two to avoid a complete embarrassment.
The Broncos started the season like a house on fire and firmed in everyone's market as the Premiership favourites. However there recent performances have been alarming and they look nothing like the force they were. The Sharks, Storm and Cowboys have left them behind are are unlikely to look back. Both a lack of confidence in the Broncos playmakers and a lack of size in their pack has led to a number of substandard performances of late. This culminating in a dreadful humbling at home at the hands of a youthful Panthers outfit last Friday Night. Whilst the Broncos remain locks to make the finals they will do so limping in waiting to be put of their their misery if performances don't take a sharp upturn. A victory over the Roosters might be just the tonic to propel them back into the Top 4 as they have a favourable draw over the last month of the regular season.
Verdict - I hate to do this but I am tipping the Roosters here. They look like a side that been been building up to a win for a month or so whilst the Broncos look a team totally bereft of confidence. So poor have the Broncos last few performances been that I think the Roosters can expose them on the edges and out wide defensively. The Broncos are missing Sam Thaiday and there pack will be further stretched here. I think this will be quite and open game with plenty of points as both sides are a long way from the defensive powerhouses's they staked their reputation on. Roosters by 4.