The Broncos have announced the following preliminary side to take on the Roosters at Suncorp Stadium:
Injuries to Bird, Glenn and Haas, versus Manly, and the ongoing absence of Gillett and McGuire (also due to injuries), has finally forced the Broncos to look outside their favoured 17 man match day squad for the clash versus the Roosters. Specifically, the Broncos have elected to give opportunities to Shibasaki, Tagataese and Mago, who have been performing well in the Intrust Super Cup for the Norths Devils and Souths-Logan Magpies respectively. While Shibasaki, Tagataese and Mago’s inclusion in the match day squad is great news for the players and deserved reward for their consistently productive performances in the Intrust Super Cup, it is disappointing that:
The continued non-selection of the Broncos’ most productive centre/ winger in Seve (who is averaging 148 run metres, 1 line break and 2 missed tackles per game for the Souths-Logan Magpies), and the Broncos’ preference to select the club’s 9th (Isaako), 10th (Roberts) and 11th (Opacic) most productive centre/winger, over Pearson (the club’s 4th most productive option, who is averaging 115 run metres, 1 line break and 2 missed tackles per game for the Redcliffe Dolphins), is perplexing.
Outside of the forward and centre and winger positional groups, Boyd and McCullough’s continued selection over Scarlett and Dargan, in the halves, hooker and fullback contingent, is baffling.
Dargan (who is averaging 0 line breaks, 0 line break assists, 1 missed tackle, 145 kicking metres and 1 forced drop out per match for the Norths Devils) and Scarlett (who is averaging 0 line breaks, 0 line break assists, 2 missed tackles, 227 kicking metres and 0 forced drop outs per game for the Souths-Logan Magpies) are clearly outperforming McCullough (who is averaging 0 line breaks, 0 line break assists, 1 missed tackle, 48 kicking metres and 0 forced drop outs per match) and Boyd (who is averaging 0 line breaks, 0 line break assists, 1 missed tackle, 10 kicking metres and 0 forced drop outs per game).
Despite all evidence to the contrary, the Broncos continue to select the underperforming McCullough and Boyd in critical play making roles.
While the absence of Haas is a big blow, the unavailability of Glenn, Gillett and Bird, who have all been atrocious defensively this season and relatively unproductive offensivey, is a blessing in disguise for the Broncos. Unfortunately, there still remains clear and repeated failing in the side the Broncos has selected for the clash versus the Roosters (i.e. a lack of line breaks, line break assists and kicking metres from his chosen fullback (Boyd) and hooker (McCullough); a lack of run metres and/or line breaks amongst his chosen centres (Opacic and Roberts) and one of the wingers (Isaako); a lack of run metres in one of the chosen second rowers (Su’A); and a lack of run metres and offloads from one of the starting props (Thaiday) and a bench forward (Sims)). That combined with the non-selection of more productive players (Carrigan, Fai, Seve, Pearson, Dargan and Scarlett) and the Roosters impressive performance versus the Warriors, leads me to predict that the Broncos will suffer another loss versus the Bondi based club.
The stats referenced in this post are sourced from the NRL and QRL.