Friday, September 9 from 7:50pm at Suncorp Stadium
Points spread line:
Broncos -10 ($1.91 at Sportsbet)
Titans +10 at $1.91
Sudden death league can always throw up a surprise result and that’s exactly what the Gold Coast Titans will be hoping for this Friday night.
The Titans haven’t performed well against their state rival in past history, having won only five from 20 games, and its recent form is hardly inspiring. The Titans have won only two of its last five games with both wins coming against non-playoff teams.
Gold Coast also has a shocking record at Suncorp – three wins from 16 games – so the excitement of being in the finals will need to translate onto the field.
The Broncos steadied the ship with five consecutive wins to end the regular season. After losing their way throughout the mid-rounds, the Broncos have notched recent wins against the Storm, Bulldogs and Roosters to find themselves in fifth position.
This game will still be a knockout affair, which the Broncos wouldn’t have predicted before the season started, but bookmakers and experts are predicting a comfortable win on Friday night, and that’s what punters should also expect.
The Titans received a late season boost with the signing of Jarryd Hayne and he had immediate impact, but after recent losses to the Cowboys and Panthers, the Titans are hardly brimming with confidence and the harsh reality is that Hayne hasn’t been able to win a premiership with more-talented sides than the Titans.
Having played only five games this season, Hayne has yet to score, provided only one try assist and committed 10 errors. Hayne is a player who will need to step up his game if the Titans are going to upset last year’s finalists.
Broncos vs. Titans team list and first tryscorer odds
The Broncos have no injury concerns this week and have listed Joe Ofahengaue and Jonus Pearson to an extended 19-man squad.
1. Darius Boyd – $13
2. Corey Oates – $7.50
3. Tom Opacic – $14
4. James Roberts – $12
5. Jordan Kahu – $9.50
6. Anthony Milford – $10
7. Ben Hunt – $23
8. Josh McGuire – $46
9. Andrew McCullough – $34
10. Adam Blair – $46
11. Sam Thaiday – $26
12. Matt Gillett – $20
13. Corey Parker – $41
14. Jarrod Wallace – $41
15. Tevita Pangai Junior – no odds
16. Jai Arrow – $34
17. Alex Glenn – $23
18. Joe Ofahengaue – no odds
19. Jonus Pearson – no odds
Tom Opacic has come of age towards the latter half of the season. The young centre has now scored four tries from eight games and is quickly becoming a solid player both offensively and defensively.
Opacic has committed only three errors in eight games, compared to Corey Oates’ 21 errors this season, and he’s now starting to attack the try line with force. Sportsbet has Opacic at $14 to score the first try which looks like good value.
One player who needs to start making an impact is James Roberts. The speedy centre has scored nine tries from 24 games, but hasn’t quite fulfilled his expectations. Now is the time for Roberts to show his best football and we think he can cross the line at $2.38 at CrownBet.com.au.
Andrew McCullough has yet to score this season and will be hoping to avoid the dreaded “nudie run”. McCullough knows how to gain yards through the middle of the field and isn’t usually looking to score, but he’s a threat close to the line and $6 at Sportsbet is a good price for McCullough to score this Friday night.
The Titans have named a 20-man rotation, but former starters Anthony Don and William Zillman will likely be omitted from the squad.
1. Jarryd Hayne – $17
2. David Mead – $14
3. Josh Hoffman – $20
4. Konrad Hurrell – $20
5. Nene Macdonald – $14
6. Tyrone Roberts – $34
7. Ashley Taylor – $26
8. Luke Douglas – $76
9. Nathan Peats – $41
10. Ryan James – $23
11. Zeb Taia – $34
12. Chris McQueen – $26
13. Greg Bird – $46
14. Leivaha Pulu – $46
15. Ryan Simpkins – $46
16. Agnatius Paasi – $34
17. Nathan Friend – $61
18. Anthony Don – no odds
19. William Zillman – no odds
20. Lachlan Burr – no odds
It’s unusual to have a prop as your leading try scorer, but Ryan James has scored 11 tries from 24 games. That doesn’t read well for his teammates, but James is a big body that can score close to the line which is where the Titans will be targetting the Broncos.
Second on the Titans’ try scoring list is fellow big body Nene Macdonald who leaps higher than most. The rangy winger has scored 10 tries with many of them coming off high bombs so the Broncos can expect to see plenty of high-ball action on Friday night.
Macdonald is currently $2.50 at Sportsbet to score at anytime which is good value as fielding high bombs can often be a lottery.
One player who needs to step up on the offensive front is Jarryd Hayne. The former Eels fullback is yet to score this season and has seemingly lost some of that sparkle he once had. Hayne has been steady on the defensive front, however, which is a nice change, but loyal punters would love to see him score at odds of $3.
Broncos vs. Titans game prediction and tip
We would be very surprised to see the Broncos getting beaten at Suncorp Stadium on a Friday night, and even more surprised if that win went to the Titans.
It’s hard to overlook the poor record of the Titans when they come up against the Broncos and having won its last five games heading into the finals, the Broncos are riding the wave of momentum, which is something the Titans are lacking.
The Titans could come out with plenty of enthusiasm, but the Broncos will stiffen up that defense and prove too good over the 80 minutes.
Our match result prediction: Broncos 26 – Titans 12
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