It was a only few weeks ago that both these teams were being dismissed as top-eight pretenders.
How quickly things change in the NRL.
The Warriors have made their critics eat humble pie with wins in their past two games, while the Broncos have also won two in a row since being towelled up by the Bunnies. The most recent victory being over another top-four side and reigning premiers - the Roosters.
Both will be eager to keep the ball rolling when they square off for the first time in 2019.
And in another first, Warriors five-eighth Kodi Nikorima is facing his former team after gaining a release from Brisbane earlier this month.
Match: Warriors v Broncos
Round 11 -
Venue: Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
Warriors: Coach Stephen Kearney has made one late change, shifting Bunty Afoa to the bench and promoting Adam Blair to start at prop. Gerard Beale and Tevita Satae were the last players cut before kick-off, while Leivaha Pulu and Chanel Harris-Tavita were pruned from the reserves on Friday.
Broncos: Anthony Seibold has made an 11th-hour switch, dropping Thomas Flegler and elevating Patrick Carrigan to the bench. Izaia Perese was omitted an hour before kick-off, while James Roberts and Sean O'Sullivan were cut from the reserves on Friday night.
Fullback for Warriors is number 1 Roger Tuivasa-SheckFullback for Broncos is number 1 Darius Boyd
Winger for Warriors is number 2 David Fusitu'aWinger for Broncos is number 2 Corey Oates
Centre for Warriors is number 3 Peta HikuCentre for Broncos is number 3 Kotoni Staggs
Centre for Warriors is number 4 Patrick HerbertCentre for Broncos is number 4 Gehamat Shibasaki
Winger for Warriors is number 5 Ken MaumaloWinger for Broncos is number 5 Jamayne Isaako
Five-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Kodi NikorimaFive-Eighth for Broncos is number 6 Anthony Milford
Halfback for Warriors is number 7 Blake GreenHalfback for Broncos is number 7 Tom Dearden
Prop for Warriors is number 10 Leeson Ah MauProp for Broncos is number 8 Matthew Lodge
Hooker for Warriors is number 9 Issac LukeHooker for Broncos is number 9 Jake Turpin
Prop for Warriors is number 15 Adam BlairProp for Broncos is number 10 Payne Haas
2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Isaiah Papali'i2nd Row for Broncos is number 11 Alex Glenn
2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Tohu Harris2nd Row for Broncos is number 12 Matt Gillett
Lock for Warriors is number 13 Lachlan BurrLock for Broncos is number 13 Tevita Pangai Junior
Interchange for Warriors is number 8 Bunty AfoaInterchange for Broncos is number 14 James Segeyaro
Interchange for Warriors is number 14 Jazz TevagaInterchange for Broncos is number 15 David Fifita
Interchange for Warriors is number 16 Ligi SaoInterchange for Broncos is number 17 Joe Ofahengaue
Interchange for Warriors is number 17 Karl LawtonInterchange for Broncos is number 18 Patrick Carrigan
- Referee: Ashley Klein
- Referee: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski
- Touch Judge: Todd Smith
- Touch Judge: Tim Roby
Simply can't go past the battle between Nikorima and his former running mate Anthony Milford. Nikorima had his share of critics at the Broncos and it seems Milford will always have his doubters. Nikorima looks happy and fresh at the Warriors and isn't playing under the pressure he faced at Brisbane. Both players will be keen for bragging rights in their first head-to-head clash.
For the Warriors to win
Confidence is key with this team and right now they have plenty of it. Stephen Kearney is calling the right shots and needs to devise another strong game plan to beat the Broncos. Defence will be paramount, while Nikorima and the productive back three of RTS, Fusitu'a and Maumalo need to maintain their good form.
For the Broncos to win
Last week's hard-fought win over the Roosters should do wonders for the Broncos' confidence and self-belief. They need to meet the Warriors head-on in the forwards and have the same tough mindset that drove them to victory last week. Milford needs to have a big game against ex-teammate Nikorima and the Broncos have to defend with the same commitment they showed against Trent Robinson's stars.
Brett Kimmorley says
Kodi Nikorima goes up against his old club only a couple of weeks after he was told to leave. I thought he was wonderful last week – his support play was strong and his individual try was amazing. This will be a good clash, and the forward battle will be crucial. Agnatius Paasi led the Warriors big men last week and Payne Haas was so good for the Broncos, and is on the verge of an Origin jersey. If both teams play to their ability Brisbane should win a close one. Broncos by 2.
If it comes down to a field goal, Brisbane have a good man for the job in Anthony Milford, who has kicked an NRL-high three one-pointers this season. Milford also leads the league in kicks (143) and kick metres (4,442). The Warriors are the top team for line breaks (47) and rank in the top three for off-loads (119).
And another thing ...
Little separated the Warriors and Broncos throughout 2018. They both finished with 15-9 records and bowed out of the finals after week one. Of their two head-to- head meetings, Brisbane won the first encounter 27-18 before the Warriors gained revenge with a 26-6 triumph in the return clash.