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Broncos search for fourth-straight win in danger game against under-fire Titans
Just over a month ago Brisbane were gone. A 38-6 hammering at the hands of South Sydney had many thinking that this youthful squad just didn't have the mental toughness to go all the way in 2019.
Fast forward to Sunday afternoon and now the Broncos have a chance to re-enter the top eight for the first time since Round 2.
While some in the Brisbane camp kicked back and relaxed during last week's bye round, another five were sent to battle at Suncorp.
Corey Oates, Matt Gillett, Payne Haas and David Fifita are all expected to back up from Wednesday night's Origin clash.
Joe Ofahengaue, however, has been ruled out indefinitely with a deep cut to his knee.
Andrew McCullough does return though albeit via the interchange with Jake Turpin keeping his spot in the starting side.
In reality, the main danger facing the Broncos this week isn't their opposition. It's themselves.
Their own approach to the game.
The Titans went very close last weekend against the Cowboys. And only the week prior they rallied home to upstage Manly by 18 points.
Refreshed from the bye and with three-straight wins under the belt, the concern is that Brisbane may be complacent.
But the Queensland derby often brings the best out of their so-called ‘little brothers'.
Only last year the Gold Coast bounced back from a 54-8 thumping to take down the Broncos in their own backyard.
The Titans are also boosted by the return of Origin combatant Jai Arrow.
They will be without Ashley Taylor for an indefinite period as the halfback deals with personal issues.
It's probably a good thing that the Titans have given him time away from the spotlight with Ryley Jacks the likely replacement.
Last meeting: Round 17 2018 - Titans 0 Broncos 34
Who to watch: The return of McCullough via the bench means that the pressure is on Jake Turpin to prove he is the club's short-term option in the number nine jersey. McCullough has always been a strong defender and his durability in the middle of the park cannot be underestimated. But with the ball in hand Turpin has offered spark and pace. It will be interesting to see how the pair work together.
In a similar vein, all eyes will be on Mitch Rein after Nathan Peats was again named on the extended bench as he looks to return from a pec injury. While Peats started 2019 as the club's first-choice hooker, many believe that Rein offers more in attack through his running game out of dummy-half. Some questioned his decision to kick for touch on a few occasions last week against the Cowboys though, arguing that it gave their opposition a much-needed rest. Peats' return is imminent but another strong performance from Rein could see him keep the starting spot.
The favourite: The in-form Broncos are strongly backed to win this one.
My tip: While a Gold Coast victory wouldn't surprise, it relies on Brisbane not being up for Sunday's game. And that's just pure speculation. Actual form suggests the Broncos do it comfortably. Brisbane by 16.
1. Darius Boyd 20. Richard Kennar 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Gehamat Shibasaki 5. Jamayne Isaako 6. Anthony Milford 7. Tom Dearden 8. Matthew Lodge 9. Jake Turpin 10. Payne Haas 11. Alex Glenn 15. David Fifita 13. Tevita Pangai 14. Andrew McCullough 16. Thomas Flegler 19. Jaydn Su'A 18. Patty Carrigan
1. Alexander Brimson 2. Anthony Don 3. Jesse Arthars 4. Brian Kelly 5. Dale Copley 6. Tyrone Roberts 20. Ryley Jacks 8. Jarrod Wallace 21. Nathan Peats 10. Moeaki Fotuaika 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Keegan Hipgrave 13. Jai Arrow 9. Mitch Rein 14. Tyrone Peachey 17. Jai Whitbread 18. Jack Stockwell
Referees: Chris Sutton, Phil Henderson; Sideline Officials: Liam Nicholls, David Munro; Video Referees: Ashley Klein, Bryan Norrie;