canberra brisbane NRL Round 21 2008James Campbell reviews the NRL Round 21 clash between the Broncos and Raiders. The last time the Broncos took on the Raiders, they traveled to a chilly Canberra Stadium in round 14 where they met the Carney show. Todd Carney steered his troops to a season defining 34 to 16 victory slotting five goals from six attempts while his namesake Justin Carney crossed for two tries.

The Raiders are enjoying a purple patch at the moment despite off field dramas, accounting for their last three opponents (all top eight sides) by an average of 23.6 points.

Given that their season average for total points in a match is 23.3 this is no mean feat.

 Last week they handed the Titans a 46 to 4 thrashing adding to the new club’s woes and will look to attack the Broncos with searching runs down the left hand side. The Broncos have let in 33 tries this season down that side of the park.

 Adrian Purtell and Colin Best have been dominant down the Raider’s right hand attacking side – Purtell notching up 10 tries to Best’s nine. In a season marred by injury, Canberra now boasts 15 multiple try scorers and seem to be finding their rhythm at the right time of the season.

 The Broncos may consider themselves lucky to be as high as fifth place with 25 competition points after a series of narrow escapes over the last few weeks.

 Last week they held out a gallant Cronulla side at Suncorp Stadium to post an 18 to 16 victory. Aside from a sound beating of the Cowboys two weeks ago, the have been beaten by the struggling Bulldogs, settled for a tie with Penrith and scraped home against the Wests Tigers by a point in their previous four starts.

 There have been few real stars at the Broncos this year despite having several players feature in Queensland’s landmark third straight Origin win.

 Michael Ennis has done well to steer the ship in the absence of Darren Lockyer. He has notched up 98 points including six tries and is converting at 37 from 51 with the boot. Their leading try scorer is Denan Kemp who has flown under the radar scoring 10 tries. Darius Boyd has 6 and Justin Hodges just five tries for the season.

 The Broncos have not had the attacking prowess of the past scoring an average of just 22.7 points per game while letting in 20.05 points per game.

 History favours the Broncos in this Round 21 NRL clash; Brisbane having won five of their last eight outings against the Raiders. Interestingly though, over the eight matches played, the Broncos have scored just four more points in total averaging 23.25 to the Raiders 22.75.

 Both sides remarkably have named unchanged starting line-ups from last week’s games with neither side having any injuries to report. The Raiders will welcome back Origin player Neville Costigan and fiery prop Michael Weyman who will start off the bench and no doubt put plenty of starch in the Raiders collar at key points in the match.

 It’s hard to go past the Raiders on form. While top eight sides have struggled in recent weeks, the Raiders have shown they aren’t just here to make up the numbers in NRL 2008.

 Their achilles heel in recent years has been traveling to face opponents away from home and there is no place higher on the list of obstacles than the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium.

 The Raiders will give this everything and in a high scoring, free running encounter with a bit of the razzle-dazzle we saw in the early nineties, the Raiders just might pinch this one.


This preview is provided exclusively to NRL News by Betfair


By ricky

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