The NRL season is coming to a head in its final stages and this Saturday. The Brisbane Broncos will face the New Zealand Warriors at Suncorp Stadium. This is a crucial match for both teams, as they are fighting for a spot in the top eight. In this analysis, I will examine the strengths and weaknesses of each side, their recent form, and their key players. I will also make a prediction based on the statistics and the current odds.
Why I think Brisbane will get up:
- Brisbane have a very strong home advantage, having won six of their last seven games at Suncorp Stadium. They also have a loyal fan base that will cheer them on and create a hostile atmosphere for the visitors.
- Brisbane have a bit more of a balanced and experienced squad, with players like Payne Haas, Adam Reynolds, Kotoni Staggs and Xavier Coates providing quality and leadership in key positions. They’ve also got some exciting young talents like Selwyn Cobbo and Brendan Piakura who can make an impact. Especially off the bench.
- Brisbane have a better record against the Warriors, having won 26 of their 42 meetings, including the last four in a row. They also have a positive points difference of +104 against them, while the Warriors have a negative one of -104.
- Brisbane seem to have more motivation and confidence. They’ve won three of their last four games and climbed out of the bottom four. They also have a chance of making the finals if they win their remaining games and other results go their way. The Warriors, on the other hand, have lost four of their last five games and are virtually out of contention for the top eight.
Why I think New Zealand will get up:
- New Zealand potentially has a stronger and more experienced squad than Brisbane. They have players like Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Reece Walsh, Addin Fonua-Blake and Tohu Harris who can make a difference on both ends of the field. Brisbane, on the other hand, has a lot of young and inexperienced players who may struggle under pressure.
- New Zealand has a better record against Brisbane in recent years. They have won four of their last five matches against them, including a 40-6 annihilation in round 19 this year. Brisbane hasn’t beaten New Zealand since 2018 and has sadly lost nine of their last 10 games against them.
- New Zealand definitely has more motivation and confidence than Brisbane. They are fighting for a spot in the final and have won three of their last four games. Brisbane have nothing to play for except pride and may lack the intensity and focus required to challenge New Zealand.
What do the bookies say?
If we look at Odds.com.au, the Broncos are the clear favourites to win the match. They’re paying of $1.40, while the Warriors are paying $3.00. It’s worth noting that the Broncos have been in dominant form this season, scoring 20 or more points in their last nine games and shutting out the Storm in their previous final. The Warriors, on the other hand, have been the surprise package of the competition, riding a wave of fan support and inspired by veteran Shaun Johnson.
However, the Broncos vs Warriors history shows that the two teams have been evenly matched in recent times, with two wins each and a draw from their last five clashes. The Warriors also have a good record at Suncorp Stadium, winning four of their last six games there. The Broncos may have some injury concerns with Adam Reynolds and Pat Carrigan, while the Warriors have a fully fit squad.
So lets look at all these factors. The Warriors have a decent chance of upsetting the Broncos and making their first grand final since 2011. They’ve shown resilience and no shortage of flair throughout the season. They”ve got nothing to lose against a highly fancied Brisbane side.
I would back them with a +8.5 point start at $1.90, or even take a punt on them to win outright at $3.00.