Ben Hannant.
Ben Hannant. Rob Jefferies

Ben Hannant playing for high stakes in Broncos clash

FORMER Queensland Origin prop Ben Hannant will be playing for high stakes tonight when Brisbane and Melbourne fight for their finals survival at AAMI Park.

Mathematically Brisbane can still make the top eight if they lose to the Storm, but would need Parramatta and the Warriors to also lose.

Melbourne, which has won its last seven games against the Broncos, would push for a top four spot with a win, but a loss could see it topple out of the eight in a cut-throat end to the regular season.

Hannant could be promoted to start in the front-row against the game's form prop, Jesse Bromwich, with Corey Parker dropping back to fill suspended lock Sam Thaiday's position in a reshuffled pack.

The clash bristles with key match-ups, from the tussle of influential halves Cooper Cronk and the vastly improved Ben Hunt, through to the intriguing battle of fullbacks Billy Slater and Justin Hodges.

The last time they lined up against each other in those roles was in the 2006 grand final, which Brisbane won in an upset.

While Brisbane is playing for its season, Hannant is playing for his future at the club.

His chances of securing an extended contract would be enhanced if he could help the team into the finals, and perhaps even further.

With speculation new coach Wayne Bennett wants to bring former Warriors prop Russell Packer to the club next season to add some intimidation to the pack after serving time in jail for assault, Hannant's future in Brisbane, as well as that of several other players, could depend on how far the Broncos go if they make the finals.

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