Brisbane v Gold Coast | Friday, September 9, 7.55pm (AEDT), Suncorp Stadium
The finals series begins with a South East Queensland derby that few would have expected at the start of the year.
Brisbane enter the playoffs on the back of a five-match win streak and have been bullish about their chances, although the Broncos were less than impressive in their final hit out against the Roosters.
News of Jack Reed’s retirement gives the club some added motivation this week and they’ll look to ride theCorey Parker farewell tour all the way to the decider.
Brisbane have named an unchanged line-up but have a few fitness concerns with Andrew McCullough, Josh McGuire and Alex Glenn all on light duties at training during the week.
The Titans weren’t disgraced in Townsville and can approach this fixture with a nothing to lose mentality which makes them a dangerous opponent, particularly with Jarryd Hayne ready to explode.
They too, have a settled squad and will look to serve it up to their opponents through the middle, with impressive prop Ryan James leading the charge.
Historically, this clash has been one-way traffic with Brisbane winning the last nine meetings at Suncorp and the only time they contested a final there.
Hard to tip against Brisbane but the two competition favourites (Melbourne and North Queensland) are the only sides to put 13+ margins on the Titans this season, so it’s unlikely to be a blowout.
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Last time they met: Rd 5 – Gold Coast 16-24 Brisbane
Line tip: Brisbane -9.5
1. Darius Boyd 2. Corey Oates 3. Tom Opacic 4. James Roberts 5. Jordan Kahu 6. Anthony Milford 7. Ben Hunt 8. Josh McGuire 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Adam Blair 11. Sam Thaiday 12. Matt Gillett 13. Corey Parker
Interchange: 14. Jarrod Wallace 15. Tevita Pangai Junior 16. Jai Arrow 17. Alex Glenn 18. Jo Ofanhengaue 19. Jonus Pearson
Gold Coast Titans
1. Jarryd Hayne 2. David Mead 3. Josh Hoffman 4. Konrad Hurrell 5. Nene Macdonald 6. Tyrone Roberts 7. Ashley Taylor 8. Luke Douglas 9. Nathan Peats 10. Ryan James 11. Zeb Taia 12. Chris McQueen 13. Greg Bird
Interchange: 14. Leivaha Pulu 15. Ryan Simpkins 16. Agnatius Paasi 17. Nathan Friend 18. Anthony Don 19. William Zillman 20. Lachlan Burr