NRL Round 3: Broncos v Dragons Preview & Betting Tips
The Broncos got burned by the Dragons in the 2018 finals – and they’re out for revenge to start round three at Suncorp Stadium.
Brisbane Broncos v St George-Illawarra Dragons – Suncorp Stadium 7:50pm
Brisbane put a disappointing round one loss to Melbourne behind them, taking their frustrations out on Queensland rivals North Queensland in a thumping 29-10 win at Suncorp.
Tevita Pangai Junior was seemingly on a personal mission to lead an undermanned Broncos pack through the star-studded Cowboys forwards. He targeted ex-teammate Josh McGuire to great effect, and Jason Taumalolo had a night to forget, with a knee injury minimising his effect. The big win was the Broncos 2019 blueprint – the forwards brutalising through the middle, Andrew McCullough being given increased attacking responsibility from dummy-half, and with outstanding edge balance in Corey Oates and James Roberts on one side and Jack Bird and Jamayne Isaako on the other. Anthony Seibold is revamping the Broncos way of football and when they fully click, it’s an almighty challenge for any side to stop them – just ask the Cowboys.
The Dragons’ nightmare 2019 start continued in their 34-18 loss to South Sydney – and the pressure has continued to build on coach Paul McGregor. His controversial spine reshuffle hasn’t worked yet. Gareth Widdop hasn’t had the same threat at fullback as he did when in the halves, Corey Norman has been quiet in five-eighth, and Matt Dufty is still learning what it takes to make an impact in limited game time as an interchange player. McGregor has on the surface kept the faith with his squad – the only selection change this week is the now-eligible Korbin Sims joining the bench against his former side.
Ben Hunt has been quiet in the opening fortnight and will face another hostile Suncorp crowd in his latest trip back to Brisbane. And yet despite the chaos and injury toll, the Dragons will take huge confidence from their last trip to Brisbane. The Dragons were written off by all and sundry in their elimination final against the Broncos and responded in an incredible 48-18 demolition which ended Wayne Bennett’s Brisbane coaching career. The Dragons will again be written off this week – can they produce the same effort this time?
Key stats: Brisbane has dominated the Dragons over the last decade – winning 14 of their last 18 head-to-head clashes. The Dragons though have won their last two head-to-heads. The Broncos have also won their last eight matches against the Dragons at Suncorp at night.
Best bet: Broncos Half Time/Full Time - $1.80* (Bet365)
Value bet: Broncos -6.5/Over 36.5 Total Match Points - $2.88* (Sportsbet)