Sunday’s loss to Melbourne was a bitter pill. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)
Sunday’s loss to Melbourne was a bitter pill. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

How draw could save Broncos’ season

A QUIRK of the draw means the battling Broncos might finish higher than many pundits think.

The eighth-placed Broncos play Cronulla twice before the end of the regular season.

But of the three sides in the top four they are still to play - the Warriors, Panthers and Rabbitohs - all games will be at Suncorp Stadium, making those games theoretically a touch more likely to yield a win.

The Broncos, with a 7-6 record after failing again to put the Storm away last Sunday, need to win at least six of their remaining 11 games to be sure of adding to coach Wayne Bennett's finals record.

Ladbrokes markets have the Broncos a $1.60 chance, on the eighth line of betting, to make the finals but are $6 to finish in the top four. The fourth-placed Warriors are two wins ahead of Brisbane.

Brisbane's schedule does include two derby games away; against Gold Coast in Round 17 and North Queensland in Round 22, and an away assignment against the Sydney Roosters in Round 25.

North Queensland are four wins behind the Broncos and a $6 chance to charge home into the finals.

Can JT inspire the Cowboys to a late surge? (AAP Image/Dan Peled)
Can JT inspire the Cowboys to a late surge? (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

Gold Coast are one win ahead of the Cowboys but are $26 to make the finals.

Any analysis about the chances of any of the three Queensland carries the caveat that improvement would be needed for any of them to qualify for the finals.

Brisbane missed only 19 tackles in Melbourne on Sunday, two fewer than the winners, but eventually let in 32 points due to some glaring tryline fallibilities in defence late in the match.

In the past 10 years, 28 points was enough to qualify in all but three of the seasons.

Two of those were in the past two seasons, with the Cowboys falling into the eight on 30 points last year and 29 needed in 2016.

The Broncos will likely need to pocket two wins from home matches against Canberra on June 30 and Manly in the last home-and-away round if they are to qualify for the finals.