NRL Round 1 Preview and Tips – Eels V Broncos

Parramatta Eels v Brisbane Broncos

Parramatta Stadium, 7:30pm local time

EELS: Luke Burt, Ken Sio, Esi Tonga, Ryan Morgan, Cheyse Blair, Ben Roberts, Chris Sandow, Tim Mannah, Matt Keating, Mitchell Allgood, Nathan Hindmarsh, Taniela Lasalo Justin Horo. Interchange (from): Casey  McGuire, Fuifui Moimoi, Justin Poore, Reni Maitua, Taulima Tautai

BRONCOS: Josh Hoffman, Gerard Beale, Jack Reed, Justin Hodges, Jharal Yow Yeh, Corey Norman, Peter Wallace, Ben Hannant, Andrew McCullough, Sam Thaiday (c), Alex Glenn, Ben Te’o, Corey Parker. Interchange: Ben Hunt, Josh McGuire, Matt Gillett, Scott Anderson.

CONSIDERING HE WILL NEVER PLAY AGAIN, Darren Lockyer’s name is getting mentioned a fair bit in the lead up to this match between the Eels and the Broncos. That’s because everyone wants to know how the Brisbane side will fare now that Lockyer has left the side and retired. In the case of this encounter, I think the Broncos will be more than good enough to get on top of the Eels thanks to Coach Anthony Griffin’s ability to get the best out of his younger players.

It’s vital that the Eels get their 2012 campaign off to a good start in order to banish the demons of a terrible 2011 that saw them just miss the wooden spoon. Not helping their cause is an injury to star fullback Jarryd Hayne. Hayne sustained a knee complaint during the trial matches and it was the last thing Coach Stephen Kearney needed. Luke Burt moves to fullback in place of Hayne but I’m doubtful that any amount of changes to the Eels side will matter in this one.

Uncertainty over the Broncos without Lockyer but I’m tipping them to kick off 2012 with 2 competition points.

Chance of winning: Eels 38%, Broncos 61%, Draw 1%

Mike’s Tip: Brisbane Broncos

Mike’s Best Bet: None

Starting Bank: $2000, Current Bank $2000

(Team lists sourced from

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