2023 NRL Grand Final Preview: Can red hot Broncos stand in way of Panthers three-peat? | The Sporting Base

2023 NRL Grand Final Preview: Can red hot Broncos stand in way of Panthers three-peat?

September 27, 2023

2023 NRL Grand Final Preview: Can red hot Broncos stand in way of Panthers three-peat?

The Penrith Panthers will do battle with the Brisbane Broncos in the 2023 NRL Grand Final on Sunday night at Accor Stadium in a bid to become the first team since the 1983 Eels to secure a threepeat.

With both squads fresh off dominant preliminary finals victories, a year-long collision course is set to come to a head in the New South Wales capital in front of a crowd of 82,000-plus.

Brisbane stunned the Panthers in Round 1 this year with an Adam Reynolds field goal the difference as Kevvy Walter’s men handed the defending premiers a 13-12 loss in their home opener.

The Panthers responded in Round 12 with a 15-4 win at Suncorp in a game that star halfback Adam Reynolds sat out due to a head knock.

Sunday night’s clash marks just the third ever postseason meeting between the two sides and the first in six years.

The Panthers, who have beaten the Broncos in five of their past six matchups, have won nine of their past 11 games at Accor and are riding an eight-game finals winning streak with this their fourth consecutive decider.

Both sides have named the same 17 that took care of business in last week’s preliminary finals with Brisbane’s casualty ward currently empty and Penrith’s featuring only Taylan May, who has been unavailable for the entirety of the season after tearing his ACL in February’s World Club Challenge.

13 of the players that were a part of last year’s Grand Final winning 17 have been named for the Panthers with Sunia Turuva, Jack Cogger, Lindsay Smith and Luke Garner the new faces in place of Charlie Staines, Viliame Kikau, Apisai Koroisau and Jaeman Salmon.

11 of those 13 were also a part of the 2021 Grand Final winning 17 whilst nine played in their 2020 Grand Final defeat to the Storm.

As for Brisbane, second rower Kurt Capewell was a part of the 2020 loss and 2021 win before making the move north whilst Adam Reynolds won the 2014 title with the Rabbitohs before losing to Penrith in 2021.

The remainder of the squad will be appearing in their first NRL Grand Final.

With both teams possessing a plethora of strike from sideline-to-sideline, there a number of key positional battles to keep tabs on.

The battle of the middle forwards will determine how the game looks for the game-breakers in the spine and on the edges.

The relentless power game of head-hunters James Fisher-Harris and Moses Leota meshed with the guile and experience of Isaah Yeo versus the athleticism and leg speed of Payne Haas, Patrick Carrigan, and Thomas Flegler.

Penrith’s trio have rarely come out second-best in clashes on the big stage, but the Broncos middle presents a fair challenge.

The role of Jarome Luai – who made a successful return from a shoulder complaint in last week’s preliminary final victory – will be another interesting footnote.

The Sāmoan international was allowed to ease his way into the game last week and was targeted sparingly making just 14 tackles before earning an early shower just shy of the hour-mark.

Much of Penrith’s video sessions this week will undoubtedly focus heavily on Reece Walsh who is fresh off a maiden preliminary final outing in which he assisted on a trio of tries.

Through their four-year run, the Panthers have faced few players with a game-breaking ability that rivals Walsh’s; his acceleration, instincts, and craftiness forces sides to stay vigilant for the full 80.

Penrith’s defence will not offer Walsh unchallenged passage; it will be up to the 21-year-old to seek out and create opportunities as he has done virtually all season.

The Panthers have conceded just two tries through their two clashes this postseason – a fourth-tackle, short-side raid that stripped a left edge consisting of Turuva, Cogger, and Tyrone Peachey for numbers and a one-on-one Justin Olam effort that stood up Izack Tago who has been struggling with a pectoral issue for the best part of 10 weeks.

Brisbane, meanwhile, have conceded just the three with one being an intercept, one a result of a fifth-tackle, short-side raid down their right edge conducted by Shaun Johnson, and the other a Johnson-conducted left-side shift that forced Reynolds and Kotoni Staggs onto opposite pages.

The Panthers enter this one as $1.60 favourites with bookmakers forecasting the NRL’s three-peat drought to be snapped come Sunday night.

Kick-off: 7:30pm Sunday at Accor Stadium, Homebush
Panthers: 1. Edwards; 2. Turuva; 3. Tago; 4. Crichton; 5. To’o; 6. Luai; 7. Cleary (c); 8. Leota; 9. Kenny; 10. Fisher-Harris; 11. Sorensen; 12. Martin; 13. Yeo; 14. Cogger; 15. Smith; 16. Leniu; 17. Garner; 18. Peachey; 19. Eisenhuth; 20. Hosking; 21. Sommerton; 22. Jenkins
Broncos: 1. Walsh; 2. Arthars; 3. Staggs; 4. Farnworth; 5. Cobbo; 6. Mam; 7. Reynolds (c); 8. Flegler; 9. Walters; 10. Haas; 11. Capewell; 12. Riki; 13. Carrigan; 14. Smoothy; 15. Piakura; 16. Hetherington; 17. Palasia; 18. Oates; 19. Taupa’u; 20. Jensen; 21. Madden; 22. Sailor

Fill In The Form To Get Our NRL News Straight To Your Email For FREE!

February 25, 2024

NRL Punters Club: Add Your PlayUp Account Number

We want to reward our loyal members of our NRL punters club by sending you 200 TSB Points when you enter your PlayUp account number below All you have to do is enter your details into the Read More

February 24, 2024

Add Your TopSport Or PlayUp Account Number

We want to reward our loyal members that have signed up with our partners so we thought we could send you our best bets each week for free! All you have to do is enter your details into Read More

February 10, 2024

Get Your Share Of $3,000 In Bets

We're giving every user who enters their VICBET member ID into the form below a share of bets that could be worth $3,000 today We recently brought VICBET on as partners of the website as they Read More