NRL Preview
New Zealand Warriors v Brisbane Broncos

Saturday, May 27, 5:30pm (AEST), Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland

The decimated Broncos will head over the Tasman to take on the struggling Warriors and it couldn’t come at a better time for Stephen Kearney’s men. The Broncos will be missing six of their stars (Darius Boyd, Corey Oates, Anthony Milford, Matt Gillett, Josh McGuire and Sam Thaiday) due to QLD Origin duty, while James Roberts (ankle) and Andrew McCullough (concussion) are in doubt for the clash. (Note: McCullough has been ruled out). Jacob Lillyman is the only Origin representative from the Warriors side and they could also receive a boost, with Simon Mannering expected to return from a hamstring injury.
HistoryThe Warriors have lost 3 of the last 4 clashes against the Broncos, but did get the job done 36-18 at Mt Smart Stadium last year. New Zealand have won 7 of their last 9 against Brisbane at Mt Smart. David Fusitua scored a double in the 18-point win over the Broncos.
New Zealand are down to 14th on the ladder with a 4-7 record after back-to-back horrendous losses, blowing a 22-point lead a fortnight back at Penrith before being embarrassed in Hamilton by St George Illawarra. The Warriors have now won just 1 of their last 5 and have been kept to 14 or fewer in four of those. Brisbane have moved to second on the table following their 36-0 win over a hapless Tigers. They have won six on the trot and posted at least 24 in each of them. Brisbane are 2-2 away from Suncorp this year.
Key Matchup
Shaun Johnson v Ben Hunt. There’s been plenty of criticism of Johnson’s game this year, yet he still has 11 try-assists. The issue has been his running game which has become non-existent. It’s almost like he has gone into his shell since Kieran Foran came into the side. Johnson needs to find his running game and look to expose a Broncos pack which is missing plenty of key ingredients. Hunt is expected to makes his long-awaited return from a hamstring injury and it couldn’t come at a better time with the Broncos missing six of their stars, including Anthony Milford due to Origin duty. Hunt will need shake off the cobwebs and direct the weakened Broncos side around the park.
Stats That Matter
New Zealand are 3-8 ATS with a 6-5 under record while Brisbane are 6-5 ATS with an 8-3 over record. The Warriors won the last encounter against the Broncos 36-18, their only win in the last four encounters. New Zealand have won 7 of their last 9 against Brisbane at Mt Smart. The Warriors are 16-10 ATS during the Origin period since 2012 with covers in 6 of their last 8 and 7 of their last 11 home games. Brisbane are 6-8 ATS on the road since 2012 during the Origin period. New Zealand have covered just 3 of their last 11 at Mt Smart and have failed to cover their last 10 night matches at the venue. Brisbane have covered 4 of their last 6 interstate and 7 of their last 8 as an interstate outsider.
Final Thoughts
The Wolf is usually wary of the Warriors, but against a Broncos side missing six crucial players to Origin and now McCullough as well, surely they get the job done! The 7.5 line feels like a trap, making the Warriors 1-12 in margin betting the safer option. The Broncos will adopt a simple game plan and will focus on their defence here and it’s not like the Warriors have been setting the world on fire of late to cause a blowout. Warriors by a converted try.
How It’s Shaping Up
New Zealand by 6
Best Bet
New Zealand 1-12 ($2.90)

Other Recommended Bets
Under 40.5 ($1.88)

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