Brisbane fans were shaking their heads wondering what was in store when Manly led 6-0 for most of the first half last week.
The Broncos got their act together in the second half to claim their third win of the season, though it remains to be seen if they can put two 80-minute performances together.
In the red, white and blue corner on Friday night are the Roosters, who kept hold of top spot with their Magic Round victory over the Raiders.
Trent Robinson has the premiers humming along nicely and the scary part is he still believes they have plenty of room for improvement.
Match: Broncos v Roosters
Round 10 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Broncos: A late swap an hour before kick-off with Tevita Pangai jnr coming into the starting side and Thomas Flegler moving to the bench. The loss of centre Jack Bird (knee) for the season has forced a reshuffle with Gehamat Shibasaki moving from the wing into the centres and Jamayne Isaako returning on the wing after being dropped last week. James Segeyaro is set to make his club debut, while James Roberts and Jaydn Su'A were trimmed from the extended bench 24 hours before kick-off. Patrick Carrigan and Sean O'Sullivan were cut an hour before game time.
Roosters: Boyd Cordner (concussion) is replaced by Mitchell Aubusson in the back row. Lindsay Collins comes onto the bench. Daniel Tupou (neck) is out of Friday's clash due to the Roosters short five-day turnaround, with English recruit Ryan Hall named to replace him on the wing in what will be his first appearance since an ACL injury playing for Leeds last year. Brock Lamb dropped off the reserves list on Thursday. Sam Verrills was omitted an hour before kick-off.
Match: Broncos v Roosters
Round 10 -
Fullback for Broncos is number 1 Darius BoydFullback for Roosters is number 1 James Tedesco
Winger for Broncos is number 2 Corey OatesWinger for Roosters is number 5 Matt Ikuvalu
Centre for Broncos is number 3 Kotoni StaggsCentre for Roosters is number 3 Latrell Mitchell
Centre for Broncos is number 4 Gehamat ShibasakiCentre for Roosters is number 4 Joseph Manu
Winger for Broncos is number 5 Jamayne IsaakoWinger for Roosters is number 21 Ryan Hall
Five-Eighth for Broncos is number 6 Anthony MilfordFive-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Luke Keary
Halfback for Broncos is number 7 Tom DeardenHalfback for Roosters is number 7 Cooper Cronk
Prop for Broncos is number 8 Matthew LodgeProp for Roosters is number 8 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
Hooker for Broncos is number 9 Jake TurpinHooker for Roosters is number 9 Victor Radley
Prop for Broncos is number 10 Payne HaasProp for Roosters is number 10 Siosiua Taukeiaho
2nd Row for Broncos is number 11 Alex Glenn2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Mitchell Aubusson
2nd Row for Broncos is number 12 Matt Gillett2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Angus Crichton
Lock for Broncos is number 16 Tevita Pangai JuniorLock for Roosters is number 13 Isaac Liu
Interchange for Broncos is number 13 Thomas FleglerInterchange for Roosters is number 14 Nat Butcher
Interchange for Broncos is number 15 David FifitaInterchange for Roosters is number 15 Zane Tetevano
Interchange for Broncos is number 17 Joe OfahengaueInterchange for Roosters is number 16 Lindsay Collins
Interchange for Broncos is number 18 James SegeyaroInterchange for Roosters is number 17 Sitili Tupouniua
- Referee: Grant Atkins
- Referee: Dave Munro
- Touch Judge: Belinda Sharpe
- Touch Judge: Nick Beashel
- Senior Review Official: Ashley Klein
A huge test for teenage halfback Tom Dearden against one of the all-time greats in Cooper Cronk, who will be salivating at the prospect of schooling the Broncos rookie. Dearden looked more comfortable last week than he did on debut in round 8 and will have to make sure he isn't overawed against Cronk.
For the Broncos to win
Coach Anthony Seibold will be imploring his players to start well after they allowed the Sea Eagles to get the jump on them last week. Jake Turpin has to hold his own in his clash with the ultra-competitive Victor Radley, while the young Brisbane pack needs to stay focused against the likes of Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Siosiua Taukeiaho.
For the Roosters to win
The Roosters have traditionally found the Broncos to be a stumbling block but they appear to have a clear edge for this meeting - both physically and mentally. As long as the Chooks don't allow complacency to slip in, they should have too much firepower for the Broncos.
Brett Kimmorley says
This is a big test for the Broncos. They get James Segayaro who I think will be exciting for them – I think he's a great ball-runner and a good ball-player, he'll add a bit of threat out of dummy half. It took Anthony Seibold about five or six games last year to get South Sydney firing and it's now taken nine games to get the Broncos moving towards their best – but they'll need to be at their best because the Roosters are the benchmark: great defensively, enormous line speed, strong forwards. They've lost a couple of players but with their ability to win the arm wrestle and with Cronk, Keary and Tedesco in superb form they'll be too good. Roosters by 10.
Latrell Mitchell is the NRL's top point-scorer (109), Luke Keary is equal first in try assists (11), while James Tedesco has made the most tackle breaks (55). On the down side, Keary and Tedesco occupy the top two spots in handling errors with 14 apiece. Corey Oates has the equal most errors (20), while Alex Glenn and Matt Gillett have the most ineffective tackles (22) to their name.
And another thing ...
Depending who you listen to, James Roberts is either in for the long haul at Brisbane or he'll be gone before the season is out. If Wayne Bennett is to be believed, Roberts will see out his contract with the Broncos and won't be on the market until the end of 2021. The onus is on Roberts to prove his heart is still in it and regain his spot in the Brisbane backline.