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NRL: Broncos face must-win Eels showdown

Brisbane Broncos are in a battle with Penrith Panthers to win the minor premiership and will need to see off a Parramatta Eels side who are also desperate for the points.

With so much at stake and just a few games of the regular season remaining, it is all set up to be a classic at the Gabba on Friday night.

The Broncos are having a memorable season but have won nothing just yet and the time is coming for them to prove what they are really made of.

Parramatta have gone the other way and there is a chance that last season’s losing grand finalists may not even make the top eight.

Just four points separate the Eels in ninth and Melbourne Storm in fourth, so the ladder could not be much tighter.

These two sides are the leading point-scorers in the NRL this season, so the scoreboard could be set for a busy night.

WhatBrisbane Broncos v Parramatta Eels
WhereThe Gabba, Brisbane
When20:00 (AEST), Friday 11th August 2023
How to watchChannel 9, Kayo, Foxtel
OddsBrisbane Broncos 1.32, Parramatta Eels 3.35

Broncos bang in form

The Broncos have just three games of the regular season remaining and they have to win all three of them to have a chance of scooping the minor premiership.

As well as facing the Eels, they must also play the Storm and Canberra Raiders, so the run-in could not be much harder.

They have not won a minor premiership since way back in 2000 and now have a great chance to break that drought if they can hold their nerve.

Kevin Walters’ side need to kick it off with a win over the Eels and they will be helped by the huge home support at the Gabba.

The Broncos are in fine form having won the last five games on the bounce and they defeated the Cowboys 30-14 in Townsville last weekend.

They managed to pull off the derby win without skipper Adam Reynolds and Kobe Hetherington, who were both injured. However the influential duo have both been named to start against the Eels.

Brisbane came out on top when the two sides met in Darwin back in round eight, but there was not much in it.

The Broncos won 26-16 and are priced at 7.00 to win by 6-10 points on this occasion as well.

Eels face must-win games

Like the Broncos, Parramatta probably have to win their remaining three games of the season if they are to make the top eight.

The Eels have played finals in each of the last four seasons, but that impressive run is in danger of coming to an end unless they can hit top form.

After the clash with the Broncos, they must face the Sydney Roosters and Panthers. It is a scary prospect but one that Parramatta will need to meet head on.

The Eels suffered back-to-back defeats against North Queensland Cowboys and Storm, but bounced back well when edging out the St George/Illawarra Dragons by six points last week.

Key to Parramatta’s chances will be nullifying a strong Broncos forward pack, but they will have to do it without Reagan Campbell-Gillard, who is suspended.

It means Junior Paulo will have to be at the top of his game when fronting up to Payne Haas and co.

Parramatta have scored 533 points this season, just one behind the Broncos, but it is conceding them at the other end that has been the issue.

Bailey Simonsson will switch from centre to the wing this week and is priced at 2.75 to grab a try at anytime in the game.

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