Thomas Flegler (from left), Payne Haas and Patrick Carrigan are among the young guns expected to drive the Broncos forward.
Thomas Flegler (from left), Payne Haas and Patrick Carrigan are among the young guns expected to drive the Broncos forward. DARREN ENGLAND

Durko's dissections: NRL previews for Round 5

BRISBANE coach Anthony Seibold has backed his youth policy as the Broncos prepare for a crunch match against the Wests Tigers.

Languishing near the bottom of the ladder with just one win from the opening four rounds, the Broncos have come under plenty of fire this week but Seibold has backed his young guns to impress in Thursday night's clash at Suncorp Stadium.

"We have nine guys who are 22 or younger playing and three of those guys are 19-year-old kids," he said. "This is the next generation."

Tony Durkin previews all the Round 5 games.


At Suncorp Stadium, Thursday, 7.50pm

History: Played 27, Broncos 21, Tigers 5, drawn 1. Last met: Broncos 9-7, Round 3, 2018. Ladbrokes odds: Broncos $1.42, Tigers $2.80

Two disconsolate teams face off tonight in the first match of Round 5 - one dejected because they were humiliated last week, the other because they lost in golden-point extra time. Broncos coach Anthony Seibold has been exceedingly patient with his under-performing players and fans should expect a no-frills, take-no-prisoners performance from them tonight. But winning that way against the miserly Tigers - with the second-best defence in the competition - will mean zilch mistakes. The Broncos, quite simply, must win this. TIP - Broncos

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 01:  Ash Taylor of the Titans passes the ball during the round four NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Gold Coast Titans at Suncorp Stadium on April 1, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia.  (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
Ash Taylor will be looking to improve after a rusty showing in his return last week. Bradley Kanaris


At Cbus Super Stadium, Friday, 6pm

History: Played 18, Panthers 12, Titans 6. Last met: Panthers 17-16, Round 22, 2018. Ladbrokes odds: Titans $2.36, Panthers $1.57

If the previous four rounds are a gauge, a dour affair is on the cards. Panthers (9.75) and Titans (9) have the two lowest point-scoring averages in the premiership, although the Panthers have still managed two wins. For the sake of Titans fans, hopefully the clash against Blues' halves Maloney and Clearly will bring out the best in Taylor and Roberts. Last week's golden-point win may just be the boost the Panthers needed to find form against the winless Titans.

TIP - Panthers


At 1300Smiles Stadium, Friday, 7.55pm

History: Played 38, Storm 28, Cowboys 10. Last met: Storm 7-6, Round 12, 2018. Ladbrokes odds: Cowboys $3.10, Storm $1.35

With Cameron Smith needing just three points to break the NRL point-scoring record and now, seemingly, about to achieve that away from home, what better place for the Maroons legend than on Queensland soil? On paper this is a foregone conclusion, but then so did the Rabbitohs seem to be against Manly last week. The Cowboys are leaking 28 points a game and until they arrest that issue, they are no hope against the methodical Storm who have a 14-6 winning record in Townsville. TIP - Storm

Adam Reynolds of the Rabbitohs reacts during the Round 4 NRL match between the Manly Sea Eagles and South Sydney Rabbitohs at Lottoland in Sydney, Saturday, April 6, 2019. (AAP Image/Brendon Thorne) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
The Rabbitohs will be hoping to bounce back after going down in golden point. BRENDON THORNE


At Sunshine Coast Stadium, Saturday, 3pm

History: Played 33, Warriors 19, Rabbitohs 14. Last met: Rabbitohs 30-10, Round 12, 2018. Ladbrokes odds: Rabbitohs $1.33, Warriors $3.25

No doubt stunned by last weekend's shock loss to the Sea Eagles, Wayne Bennett's men will be looking to recompense their coach on his first return this season to the Sunshine State. Bennett said a poor attitude was responsible for their 'average' effort, and he will look to his big forwards to dominate in the heat on Saturday. The Warriors, back to the winning list last week, still have concentration issues and away from home are always vulnerable. TIP - Rabbitohs


At McDonald Jones Stadium, Saturday, 5.30pm

History: Played 50, Sea Eagles 31, Knights 19. Last met: Knights 18-12, Round 8, 2018. Ladbrokes odds: Knights $1.55, Sea Eagles $2.40

Des Hasler may well be a tad different - publicly, at least - but there can be no queries on his coaching ability. And while his past record speaks for itself, his efforts in getting the vastly under-strength Sea Eagles to mid table after four rounds is outstanding. The same can't be said of the big-spending Knights, although last weekend's golden-point loss was unlucky. With Tom Trbojevic again sidelined, the Knights won't have a better chance to win. TIP - Sea Eagles

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves of the Roosters is tackled by Cameron McInnes of the Dragons during the Round 8 NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Sydney Rooster at Allianz Stadium in Sydney, Wednesday, April 25, 2018. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves returns for the Roosters. DAN HIMBRECHTS


At Shark Park, Saturday, 7.35pm

History: Played 95, Roosters 59, Sharks 34, drawn 2. Last met: Roosters 21-12, qualifying final, 2018. Ladbrokes odds: Sharks $2.70, Rooster $1.45

The ruthless manner in which the premiers decimated the Broncos in last week shows just how resolute the Roosters are to be the first back-to-back NRL premiers in 26 years. And as courageous as the Sharks will be - aided by the return of Paul Gallen and Shaun Johnson - they appear to be no match, even at Shark Park where the Roosters have a 26-18 winning record. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves returns to add more potential misery for the Sharks. TIP - Roosters


At Jubilee Stadium, Sunday, 4.05pm

History: Played 35, Bulldogs 23, Dragons 12. Last met: Bulldogs 38-0, Round 24, 2018. Ladbrokes odds: Dragons $1.45, Bulldogs $2.70

If the 'Dogs beating the Dragons could be construed as an upset, that may well be on the cards in this. Following two skinny last-minute wins and yet another loss from their pack, the Dragons might be due for a downer, while the Bulldogs will be on a high after their plucky showing against the unbeaten Storm. Also, in their favour is the Bulldogs' record against the Dragons - 23-12 overall and 4-1 at Jubilee. TIP - Dragons

Jack Wighton of the Raiders is tackled by Cowboys defence during the Round 4 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and Canberra Raiders at 1300SMILES Stadium in Townsville, Saturday, April 6, 2019. (AAP Image/Michael Chambers) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
The Raiders have been impressive in the opening rounds. MICHAEL CHAMBERS


At GIO Stadium, Sunday, 6.10pm

History: Played 56, Raiders 30, Eels 26. Last met: Raiders 18-12, Round 6, 2018. Ladbrokes odds: Raiders $1.58, Eels $2.34

This will be tough, relentless and extremely physical between two teams which have stunned most pundits to date in 2019, and the clash could well go down to the wire. Adding to the Raiders' lustre is their record at home against the Eels - 17 wins from 21 clashes, with Parramatta not having won in the national capital since 2006. The outstanding defence of the Raiders should get them home against the enterprising Eels. TIP - Raiders