The Broncos are firming for a top four finish, with their fate to largely be determined by return clashes against the Eels, starting with Thursday night’s match to kick off round 19.
The blockbuster comes at an opportune time for Kevin Walters’ men, with the club’s Origin players brimming with confidence after clinching a series win for Queensland last Wednesday, and several stars who were rested or injured make their returns.
Yet having Corey Oates, Kurt Capewell, Patrick Carrigan and Payne Haas back on the team sheet won’t be enough to see them past Brad Arthur’s Eels, according to Brad Fittler, who claims another sidelined star deserves more credit for the Broncos’ resurgence.
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Absent since picking up a rib injury in the Broncos’ round 16 loss to the Cowboys, Te Maire Martin is currently listed as an “indefinite” out for the side, with both his short and long-term future at the club under a cloud due to the signing of gun fullback Reece Walsh .
Yet, even if he’s only to play a few more games for the Broncos before his career takes another twist, Brad Fittler is convinced that Martin makes the side better.
“I tell you who they haven’t brought back,” Fittler told Andrew Johns on Wide World of Sports’ Freddy and the Eighth’s Tipsafter Johns listed the Broncos’ returning stars.
“And I think they need to, is Te Maire Martin. I thought Tesi Niu, he’s a good player, and I just think they lose a little bit of control with Te Maire Martin [out of the side]. It got a bit careless in last week’s game.”
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Fittler then tipped the Eels to win the finals defining match, going against Johns, who tipped the Broncos.
“It’s going to be wet, it’s going to be slippery, which means you need your wingers running like forwards – Cobbo, Corey Oates – and you need a great kicking game,” Johns said.
The Eels v Broncos clash kicks off at 7.50pm (AEST) on Thursday night at Bankwest Stadium. Tune in to Nine’s coverage of the match from 7.30pm.
Scroll below for the current leaderboard and Round 19 tips by Andrew Johns and all Nine’s expert tipsters!
Andrew Johns: Broncos, Manlys, Raiders, Knights, Panthers, Rabbitohs, Bulldogs, Cowboys
Brad Fittler: Eels, Sea Eagles, Roosters, Raiders, Panthers, Rabbitohs, Bulldogs, Cowboys
Ruan Sims: Broncos, Dragons, Roosters, Raiders, Panthers, Storm, Bulldogs, Cowboys
Allana Ferguson: Eels, Sea Eagles, Roosters, Raiders, Panthers, Rabbitohs, Titans
Matt Thompson: Broncos, Manly, Roosters, Raiders Panthers, Storm, Bulldogs, Cowboys
Michael Chammas: Eels, Sea Eagles, Roosters, Raiders, Panthers, Rabbitohs, Bulldogs, Cowboys
Dave Middleton: Eels, Sea Eagles, Roosters, Raiders, Panthers, Rabbitohs, Bulldogs, Cowboys
Wally Lewis: Eels, Sea Eagles, Roosters, Raiders, Panthers, Storm, Titans, Cowboys
Billy Slater: Broncos, Manly, Roosters, Raiders, Panthers, Storm, Titans, Cowboys
The Mole: Eels, Sea Eagles, Rooters, Raiders, Panthers, Storm, Bulldogs, Cowboys
Ben Glover: Eels, Sea Eagles, Roosters, Raiders, Panthers, Rabbitohs, Bulldogs, Cowboys
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