Beanie for Brain Cancer Round takes centre stage on Nine and 9Now this week when the stars of the NRL make their final push for Origin selection, starting tonight with the Broncos and Eels clash from 7.30pm AEST, LIVE and FREE.
Following Cameron Smith’s retirement from representative football, the Broncos lineup, who are predominantly eligible for the Queensland Maroons, will be playing with extra incentive for an Origin jersey when they run onto Suncorp Stadium on Thursday Night Football.
The Eels have shifted Clint Gutherson to five-eighth and Corey Norman to fullback, looking for a difficult away win as they try to get off the bottom of the premiership ladder.
Nine rugby league expert and Queensland selector, Darren Lockyer, said: “The Broncos will gallop into this clash with confidence after a character-building win against the Roosters. Their forwards Matt Lodge and Tevita Pangai Junior are crucial to lay a platform for a backline which doesn’t lack skill or speed. It’s a big game for Andrew McCullough to put his best foot forward if he wants to take over Cam Smith’s No 9 jersey in the Origin arena.
“The Eels haven’t been given much of a chance, and that can be dangerous to opposing sides. Shifting Gutherson to five-eighth could provide just the spark they need, and it was only in Round 25 last year that they travelled to Suncorp and put 52 points on the Broncos.”
On Friday Night Football, two of the most dominant players of the modern NRL era will battle it out for what may be the last time when Johnathan Thurston and the Cowboys meet Cameron Smith and the Storm.
In this 2017 Grand Final rematch both teams are desperate to win after a start to the season that has been well below their lofty standards.
Speaking on Six Tackles with Gus, Nine rugby league expert, Phil Goud, said: “I saw some real improvement in the Cowboys even though they were beaten by South Sydney. There were some things in their game that I think have been lacking that I liked. Not sure whether they’re in good enough shape to beat the Storm after the Storm lost to Manly last weekend, and with Cameron Smith returning from suspension.”
Sunday Football showcases the Wests Tigers against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, with Josh Reynolds and Aaron Woods lining up against their former clubs for the first time.
The Tigers have shown resilience in grinding out some strong victories in 2018, and after losing to the Panthers last week they will be out to remind their rivals they are still a serious threat this season.
The struggling Bulldogs are desperate to win to keep any hopes of a finals appearance alive and their front-row combination David Klemmer and Aaron Woods will be relied on to show the way on Sunday.
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Thursday, May 24, 2018