Tonight’s double-header will feature the Broncos taking on the Rabbitohs at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane and the Bulldogs vs West Tigers at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium.
Bulldogs vs West Tigers
The last time these teams met, in round 24 last season, the Dogs edged out the Tigers in extra time for a thrilling 23-22 win. It’s now round 8 of 2012/13 season and both sides are in desperate need of two points.
The Tigers have seven senior players out injured. Chris Lawrence, Blake Ayshford and Tim Moltzen joined Keith Galloway, Lote Tuqiri, Matt Bell and Braith Anasta in the treatment room last weekend after a 20-10 loss to the Broncos. The Tigers medical staff have rushed Benji Marshall back to the field after two weeks with a toe injury.
The Tigers have lost their last four games and will face a Dogs side boosted by the return of English International prop James Graham. The Dogs have won six of their last nine games against the Tigers – including all four at ANZ.
Broncos vs Rabbitohs
The Broncos won 26-12 the last time they met, in round 16, 2012 was the last time they met.
After a poor start to this season, the Broncos have notched up three straight wins. A win is needed tonight to prove they are contenders this season.
The Rabbitohs, second on ladder, are the most in-form side this season but the Broncos have an impressive winning streak against them, winning 21 of the last 25 meetings and nine of the 11 played at Suncorp.
Rugby Union’s mid-season trading continues with Queensland Reds Jono Lance moving to the NSW Waratahs. The playmaker is one of two players due to sign a two-year contract with the Tahs.
Lance is a key signing for coach Michael Cheika as he looks to bolster his back line when Berrick Barnes leaves for Japanese rugby at season’s end.
Fellow teammates Luke Morahan and Digby Ioane have also left the Reds. Morahan joins the Western Force and Ioane joins Paris-based Stade Francais at the end of the year, both on two-year deals.
New Zealand gelding Banna Strand won the $253,000 Grand Annual Steeplechase on the final day of Warrnambool’s May Racing Carnival. The gelding made international headlines in 2011 when it lost its rider during the same race and leapt over a barrier fence, crashing into spectators, injuring several.
Warrnambool Racing club’s chief executive, John Green, said “It’s a fairytale return of a former villain but I’m sure he’s everyone’s favourite today.”
Trainer John Wheeler was proud of the horse and rider: “He is a great jumper.”
Compiled by Blake Moretti from various news sources
Top photo, of Banna Strand winning at Warrnambool, by Tristan Foenander via Twitter.