The state of Queensland will come to a stop on Friday night as Brisbane and North Queensland do battle once more.
Both sides began their 2017 campaigns in style and if recent history is anything to go by then this encounter is sure to be a cracker.
Brisbane went to the Shire and beat up the defending champions 26-18 which was a big road win for them while the Cowboys needed extra time, and a touch of luck, to get over the Canberra Raiders.
TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THEIR OPPORTUNITIES
BRISBANE made the most of the opportunities the Sharkies gave them last week.
The ill-discipline of Cronulla gave the Broncos 10 penalties and as a result of the piggy back they were able to capitalise by scoring points on almost every single one of them.
Last season, road trips were Brisbane’s biggest problem (50 percent strike rate) but last week’s effort showed that Wayne Bennett may have tweaked a few things with his side to help them get over the travel sickness.
FORTUNE FAVOURS THE BRAVE
NQ COWBOYS certainly rode their luck in knocking off the Raiders in Round 1.
Having a try to Jordan Rapana pulled back in Golden Point saved the Cowboys because the very next play, Johnathan Thurston hits the crossbar with a field goal attempt that doesn’t go dead with Gavin Cooper reacting quickest to score and win the game.
Winning at home has become the norm for the Cowboys who lost just once in 12 outings there last season, however, it’s their efforts on the road which are of big concern.
Historically, North Queensland has struggled on the road with the exception being their premiership year in 2015. Last year although they finished in the top four they won just four road games.
It’s all the Cowboys when looking at recent results between these sides.
Six of the past nine matches have gone to the boys from Townsville and that includes the 2015 Grand Final win in Golden Point.
Last year they played three times. In Round 4 it was the Broncos by one then in Round 11 it was the Cowboys by one before the latter progressed to the Preliminary Final by six points. There has been nothing between them in their past five clashes with an average winning margin of just 2.6 points.
A Cowboys Win by 1-5 points is returning $6.50 with Sportsbet.
We are leaning towards the home side here for a number of reasons.
First the game is at Suncorp Stadium which is a venue the Cowboys have lost six straight at but only at an average of 4.5 points for each defeat.
Secondly, we don’t anticipate the Broncos to give away anywhere near as many penalties as the Raiders did (11), which made them the most penalised team from Round 1.
Finally the Broncos forwards ran for over 1700 metres and made 44 tackle busts against the Sharks which puts the Cowboys on notice here.
Should Anthony Milford and Ben Hunt fire in front of the Suncorp faithful then everything points to more pain at the venue, and on the road, for the Cowboys.
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MATCH WINNER TIP: BRISBANE
FIRST TRYSCORER: COREY OATES
MARGIN BETTING: BRISBANE 1-12
Other tip: BRISBANE HALF / FULL DOUBLE