7:50 PM (AEST) Thursday, May 3 at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Round 9 of the NRL gets underway on Thursday night when the indifferent Brisbane Broncos play hosts to an equally out-of-sorts Bulldogs side.
Broncos: Darius Boyd; Corey Oates, James Roberts, Top Opacic, Jamayne Isaako; Anthony Milford, Jack Bird; Matt Lodge, Andrew McCullough, Sam Thaiday, Alex Glenn, Jaydn Su’A, Tevita Pangai; Payne Haas, Joe Ofahengaue, Korbin Sims, Kodi Nikorima.
Bulldogs: Moses Mbye; Brett Morris, Josh Morris, William Hopoate, Marcelo Montoya; Jeremy Marshall-King, Kieran Foran; Aaron Woods, Matt Frawley, David Klemmer, Josh Jackson, Raymond Faitala-Mariner, Adam Elliot. Danny Fualalo, Kerrod Holland, Clay Priest, John Olive.
There have been 52 games played between these two sides, with the Broncos scoring 29 wins to the Bulldogs 22, while 1 games has been drawn. They last met last year where the Broncos smashed the Dogs 42-12.
The Broncos have had a wobbly start to the season, struggling to pose a threat in any of their games so far. Brisbane were outclassed by the Dragons in the opening Round, going down 34-12. The Broncos bounced back with a tough 24-20 victory over the Cowboys, which the backed up with a fortunate 9-7 win over the Tigers in extra time. In Round 4 they were dismal in their 26-14 loss to an understrength Titans side. The Broncos lost again in Round 5 to a side they were expected to beat in Newcastle, going down 15-10. In Round 6 they beat the undefeated Warriors 27-18, but lost the following week to the Storm 34-20. Last week they held out an improved Souths side to win 24-20.
The Bulldogs have been competitive after their poor first two games. They began with a 36-18 loss to the Storm and then lost 30-12 to the Roosters the following week before holding on to beat Penrith 20-18 in Round 3. After they fell 20-16 to Souths in Round 4, they then lost 26-10 against Canberra. They were much better in their 27-10 win over the Cowboys in Round 6. However, they failed to follow it up and have looked very ordinary in attack since, going down 6-0 to the Roosters in an absolute chore of a game and then lost 22-14 last week against the Panthers in a marginally better performance.
Foran v Bird – This should be an all-star match-up, but instead it’s a contest between two players in stone cold form.
The Broncos on home soil will generally always be the favourites.