Brisbane may be struggling for consistency in the NRL but surprisingly they’re following the form line of the club’s 2006 premiership-winning side.
The Broncos have won just four of their 12 matches after a blistering start to the year to slip to sixth on the ladder with 26 points.
It’s a slump that has many questioning their premiership credentials but contains eerie similarities to the Broncos’ last title-winning season.
10 years ago the Broncos won six of their first eight matches then just five of 13 from rounds nine to 23.
After that they sparked a run of six wins from their last seven games to secure the premiership.
Regaining consistency is the focus of Broncos coach Wayne Bennett after last weekend’s narrow 12-8 win over St George Illawarra.
Brisbane last claimed back-to-back victories when they defeated Souths 30-8 at Suncorp on April 22.
Bennett says backing up the victory over the Dragons this Friday against Parramatta is what his team needs to do with finals looming on the horizon.
“We’ve got to put a line in the sand right now and start to back some games up,” Bennett said.
“We expect Parramatta to be tough and they’ll be desperate to play well. We’ve got to answer that and be on our game ourselves, not be flat.”
The Broncos will be sweating on the fitness of Lachlan Maranta after he failed to complete training on Thursday due to a groin injury.
With Jack Reed (shoulder), Jordan Kahu (pectoral) and Greg Eden (knee) already ruled out, the Broncos will turn to 21-year-old Jonus Pearson as cover for Maranta.
Pearson starred for the Broncos under-20s last year and will make his NRL debut if Maranta can’t complete a fitness test on Friday morning.
The Eels sit 13th on the ladder after a one-point win over Manly last weekend.
Brad Arthur has made a couple of changes from that winning side, with David Gower coming on to the bench and Peni Terepo starting at lock in place of Beau Scott.
Winger Semi Radradra may also be a late inclusion after travelling to Brisbane with the team.
BRONCOS v EELS – Key match stats
* Brisbane have won three of their past four against Parramatta, with each victory coming by 10 points or more.
* Brisbane have won 11 of 13 matches where they led at halftime but lost all seven matches where they’ve been trailing at the break.
* Parramatta have lost their past five matches in Queensland.
(Source: Fox Sports Stats)