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Wayne Bennett's Broncos are timing their run impressively ahead of another Telstra Premiership finals series, hammering the Rabbitohs (home) and Roosters (away) in recent weeks to firm as a genuine title threat.

It is in stark contrast to the Sea Eagles, who have endured a nightmare 2018 on and off the field. If it wasn't for Parramatta, the pride of Sydney's northern peninsula would have collected their maiden wooden spoon this season.

You get the feeling their supporters in maroon and white are already focused on 2019 and beyond.

Key match-up: Darius Boyd v Tom Trbojevic. The Brisbane number one turned back the clock with a scintillating 80-minute performance last start at Allianz Stadium versus the Roosters. Opposing fullback Trbojevic has been a shining light for Manly in what has been a dismal campaign, taking his game to another level after making his State of Origin debut for NSW in June. This duel won't disappoint; it will be a beauty.

For the Broncos to win: Feed their monster forward pack. The likes of Tevita Pangai jnr, David Fifita and Patrick Mago are performing like seasoned veterans, inspiring experienced trio Sam Thaiday, Alex Glenn and Korbin Sims as well as enforcer Josh McGuire. They easily out-muscled the Roosters last start and they will expect to get the better of the Sea Eagles' forwards, who are only playing for pride.  

For the Sea Eagles to win: Halfback Daly Cherry-Evans will have to play out of his skin. The skipper, linked with a potential shock off-season move to Red Hill in recent weeks, has the ability to take games by the scruff of the neck - but he needs support. If Martin Taupau, Jake Trbojevic and the departing Shaun Lane all fire, Trent Barrett's men could orchestrate a major upset on the road.

Broncos Stat Attack: Winger Jamayne Isaako is poised to finish as the competition's top point-scorer in 2018. The winger has 213 points to his name after 24 rounds, with Roosters centre Latrell Mitchell (204) the next best. Brisbane five-eighth Anthony Milford has the most kick metres in the NRL (8147) and is the reason why his team are the yardstick when it comes to total kick metres (12,397).

Sea Eagles Stat Attack: Prop Martin Taupau (68) has the most offloads, narrowly in front of Sharks front-rower Andrew Fifita (66). Fullback Tom Trbojevic is fourth (111) on the tackle break standings. His brother Jake Trbojevic has made 929 tackles.

And another thing: Manly humbled Brisbane 38-24 on their 'home' turf back in May as part of a double-header in round 10. Saturday night at Suncorp Stadium will also be Trent Barrett's final game as head coach after three incident-filled years in the hot seat. His replacement is still to be named, with assistant coach John Cartwright the likely option.

Brisbane Broncos v Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, Sunday 4.10pm at Suncorp Stadium

Team Lists


  • Fullback for Broncos is number 1 Darius Boyd
    Fullback for Sea Eagles is number 1 Tom Trbojevic
  • Winger for Broncos is number 2 Corey Oates
    Winger for Sea Eagles is number 2 Matthew Wright
  • Centre for Broncos is number 3 James Roberts
    Centre for Sea Eagles is number 3 Mosese Suli
  • Centre for Broncos is number 4 Jordan Kahu
    Centre for Sea Eagles is number 4 Brian Kelly
  • Winger for Broncos is number 5 Jamayne Isaako
    Winger for Sea Eagles is number 5 Brad Parker
  • Five-Eighth for Broncos is number 6 Anthony Milford
    Five-Eighth for Sea Eagles is number 6 Dylan Walker
  • Halfback for Broncos is number 7 Kodi Nikorima
    Halfback for Sea Eagles is number 7 Daly Cherry-Evans


  • Prop for Broncos is number 8 Matthew Lodge
    Prop for Sea Eagles is number 8 Addin Fonua-Blake
  • Hooker for Broncos is number 13 Josh McGuire
    Hooker for Sea Eagles is number 9 Manase Fainu
  • Prop for Broncos is number 10 Sam Thaiday
    Prop for Sea Eagles is number 10 Martin Taupau
  • 2nd Row for Broncos is number 12 Tevita Pangai Junior
    2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 11 Joel Thompson
  • 2nd Row for Broncos is number 17 David Fifita
    2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 12 Shaun Lane
  • Lock for Broncos is number 15 Joe Ofahengaue
    Lock for Sea Eagles is number 13 Jake Trbojevic


  • Interchange for Broncos is number 9 Jake Turpin
    Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 14 Trent Hodkinson
  • Interchange for Broncos is number 14 Patrick Mago
    Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 15 Kelepi Tanginoa
  • Interchange for Broncos is number 16 Korbin Sims
    Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 16 Jack Gosiewski
  • Interchange for Broncos is number 20 Kotoni Staggs
    Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 17 Taniela Paseka

Match Officials

  • Referee: Ben Cummins
  • Referee: Alan Shortall
  • Senior Review Official: Henry Perenara

Last updated:

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Broncos: The Broncos have made a series of late changes. Alex Glenn is out, with David Fifita to start in the back row. Josh McGuire will start the match at hooker, with Jake Turpin dropping back to the bench and Joe Ofahengaue to start at lock. After Jack Bird and Todd Murphy were cut 24 hours prior to kick-off, Glenn and Sam Tagataese were omitted an hour before game time.

Sea Eagles: Manly will start their final match 1-17, with Frank Winterstein and Tevita Funa the two players left out an hour before kick-off.

Head-to-head: Played 44; Sea Eagles 22 wins, Broncos 21 wins, 1 draw
Previous result: Sea Eagles won 38-24 at Suncorp Stadium (Manly home game) in round 10
Points per game: Broncos 22.1; Sea Eagles 21
Points conceded per game: Broncos 21; Sea Eagles 25
Televised: Live on Nine, Fox League

Petero Civoniceva's prediction: While the Roosters, Rabbitohs and Dragons have hit hurdles in recent weeks the Broncos have gone the other way and look very ominous. They will be keen to capitalise on what they've done the last two weeks and go into the finals on a high. It has been a horror year for Manly and their coach Trent Barrett and it'll tough for them to get up for this one.

Tip: Broncos by 10

Acknowledgement of Country

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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