Parramatta Eels vs Melbourne Storm
Eels: 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Michael Jennings 4. Waqa Blake 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Ryan Matterson 13. Nathan Brown 14. Ray Stone 15. Marata Niukore 16. Kane Evans 17. Oregon Kaufusi 18. Andrew Davey 19. Haze Dunster 20. Will Smith 21. Brad Takairangi
I feel as if Parramatta were due for a loss last round. Despite sitting comfortably in third spot, I still think there’s another level they need to get to if they want to challenge for the premiership. They come against a Storm side ravaged with injury and suspension, but they’ll still need to put in a clinical performance to beat them.
Storm: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. Sandor Earl 3. Brenko Lee 4. Justin Olam 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Ryley Jacks 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Brandon Smith 10. Christian Welch 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 14. Nicholas Hynes 15. Tom Eisenhuth 16. Albert Vete 17. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 18. Marion Seve 19. Chris Lewis 20. Cooper Johns 21. Darryn Schonig
Jesse Bromwich was named but will miss this game due to suspension. Even though they’re missing several key players including Cam Smith and Cam Munster, coach Bellamy still manages to get this team playing quality football. Cooper Johns will debut and the club is confident he’ll do his job done. They have such great depth that I still think they will win this game.
Storm by 4
Penrith Panthers vs Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Josh Mansour 3. Tyrone May 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Brent Naden 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. James Tamou 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Daine Laurie 15. Spencer Leniu 16. Moses Leota 17. Zane Tetevano 18. Mitch Kenny 19. Brian To’o 20. Matt Burton 21. Billy Burns
The table topping Panthers keep turning it on week-after-week. They’ve again named a strong side with Dylan Edwards back in the #1 jersey. Penrith put on 56 points the last time they played the Sharks in round 9. I expect Cleary to maintain his peak form and guide his side to another comfortable victory.
Sharks: 1. Will Kennedy 2. Sione Katoa 3. Josh Dugan 4. Jesse Ramien 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Matt Moylan 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Braden Hamlin-Uele 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Aaron Woods 11. Siosifa Talakai 12. Wade Graham 13. Toby Rudolf 14. Connor Tracey 15. Scott Sorensen 16. Jack Williams 17. Royce Hunt 18. Teig Wilton 19. Briton Nikora 20. Braydon Trindall 21. Bryson Goodwin
The Sharks benefited greatly with the Kevin Proctor incident last round against the Titans, but credit to Shaun Johnson as he took full advantage and helped his team streak away with the win. The Sharks will need to bring their A-game against the Panthers and Johnson will need to maintain his own peak form if they’re any chance of beating the ladder-leaders.
Panthers by 8
Brisbane Broncos vs St George Illawarra Dragons
Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd 2. Richard Kennar 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Jordan Kahu 5. Herbie Farnworth 6. Anthony Milford 7. Tom Dearden 8. Joe Ofahengaue 9. Issac Luke 10. Rhys Kennedy 11. David Fifita 12. Ben Te’o 13. Patrick Carrigan 14. Cory Paix 15. Jordan Riki 16. Ethan Bullemor 17. Jamil Hopoate 18. Pride Petterson-Robati 19. Jesse Arthars 20. Sean O’Sullivan 21. Brodie Croft
The season from hell continues for the hapless Broncos. Another second half fade-out saw them mauled by the Raiders last round. Looking at their draw, they follow this game with the Roosters and Panthers. If they can’t beat the 11th placed Dragons, the wooden spoon is looking likely. I have no confidence they can win without Haas, Fleglar, Lodge and Pangai.
Dragons: 1. Matthew Dufty 2. Jordan Pereira 3. Euan Aitken 4. Zac Lomax 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Corey Norman 7. Adam Clune 8. Blake Lawrie 9. Ben Hunt 10. Josh Kerr 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Tyrell Fuimaono 13. Cameron McInnes 14. Jacob Host 15. Kaide Ellis 16. Korbin Sims 17. Paul Vaughan 18. Trent Merrin 19. Tristan Sailor 20. Brayden Wiliame 21. Eddie Blacker
A much needed victory against one of the premiership heavyweights last round to send Mary off as a winner. Now under interim coach Dean young, the Dragons will be looking to keep their faint finals hopes alive by earning a win against the Broncos. My only concern for them is whether they’d be emotionally drained after last weeks win, but I still think they’ll get the job done.
Dragons by 12
Gold Coast Titans vs Canberra Raiders
Titans: 1. Alexander Brimson 2. Anthony Don 3. Brian Kelly 4. Young Tonumaipea 5. Phillip Sami 6. Ashley Taylor 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Nathan Peats 10. Jaimin Jolliffe 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Keegan Hipgrave 13. Moeaki Fotuaika 14. Tyrone Peachey 15. Sam Lisone 16. Beau Fermor 17. Sam Stone 18. Corey Thompson 19. Tanah Boyd 20. Jai Whitbread 21. Erin Clark
A dramatic loss last round, losing their captain Kevin Proctor to suspension for 4 weeks. They come up against last years grand finalists minus a lot of experience, with Jai Arrow also missing from the side due to injury. Wallace finds himself back in the starting line up. I expect the Titans to continue fighting hard and competing well, but they look as if they’ll be outclassed in this one.
Raiders: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Jordan Rapana 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Curtis Scott 5. Nick Cotric 6. Jack Wighton 7. George Williams 8. Josh Papali’i 9. Siliva Havili 10. Dunamis Lui 11. John Bateman 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Hudson Young 14. Tom Starling 15. Joseph Tapine 16. Ryan Sutton 17. Corey Harawira-Naera 18. Sam Williams 19. Harley Smith-Shields 20. Kai O’Donnell 21. Matt Frawley
A slow start in their match last round, but they quickly switched into top gear in the second half and mauled the poor Broncos. This is a must win for the Raiders to ensure they remain in contention for a top 4 spot. The Titans will provide a tougher test than their opponents last round, but they’re a class above and should take home the 2 points.
Raiders by 10
Wests Tigers vs Sydney Roosters
Tigers: 1. Adam Doueihi 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Joseph Leilua 4. Moses Mbye 5. Tommy Talau 6. Luke Brooks 7. Benji Marshall 8. Josh Aloiai 9. Jacob Liddle 10. Russell Packer 11. Luke Garner 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Matt Eisenhuth 14. Sam McIntyre 15. Elijah Taylor 16. Josh Reynolds 17. Alex Seyfarth 18. Alex Twal 19. Thomas Mikaele 20. Chris Lawrence 21. Asu Kepaoa
The Tigers are easily the biggest disappointment of the season. Destined for yet another 9th placed finish, they have a brutal draw for the remaining 6 rounds, starting with the back-to-back premiers. But they’ve got the Roosters at a perfect time though as they’re missing several key players to injury. The Tigers have a vastly more experienced halves pairing and I think they might cause a massive boil over in this one.
Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Matt Ikuvalu 3. Josh Morris 4. Joseph Manu 5. Brett Morris 6. Drew Hutchison 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho 11. Sitili Tupouniua 12. Nat Butcher 13. Isaac Liu 14. Freddy Lussick 15. Poasa Faamausili 16. Daniel Fifita 17. Lindsay Collins 18. Egan Butcher 19. Ryan Hall 20. Max Bailey 21. Sam Walker
You could almost name an entire starting 13 with the Roosters injury list. Despite losing both halves, Keary and Lam to injury, they still have a potent backline with Brett Morris back on the wing and the return of Jared Waerea-Hargreaves is a huge boost for their understrength pack. With their inexperienced halves pairing in Flanagan and Hutchison, Tedesco and Friend will need to have big games for the Roosters to win.
Tigers by 4
South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
Rabbitohs: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Alex Johnston 3. Campbell Graham 4. Dane Gagai 5. Jaxson Paulo 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Jaydn Su’A 12. Bayley Sironen 13. Cameron Murray 14. Mark Nicholls 15. Keaon Koloamatangi 16. Patrick Mago 17. Jack Johns 18. Jed Cartwright 19. Corey Allan 20. Troy Dargan 21. Kurt Dillon
Adam Reynolds’ form has been inconsistent for most of the season, but he still knows how to deliver in clutch moments when games are on the line and he did it again last round against the Cowboys in a match they probably should have lost. It’ll be a huge confidence boost for him and his team needs to keep winning to ensure a spot in the finals.
Sea Eagles: 1. Reuben Garrick 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Brad Parker 4. Moses Suli 5. Tevita Funa 6. Cade Cust 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Taniela Paseka 9. Danny Levi 10. Martin Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Lachlan Croker 15. Corey Waddell 16. Sean Keppie 17. Haumole Olakau’atu 18. Morgan Boyle 19. Abbas Miski 20. Jack Gosiewski 21. Addin Fonua-Blake
A heartbreaking 2-point loss to the Knights last round has Manly’s season on life-support as they’re now 2 wins outside of the top 8 and with a points differential of -50 with only 6 rounds remaining, so this game is a must win. Addin Fonua-Blake has been named on the extended bench but I don’t think they can win without him.
Rabbitohs by 8
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs vs New Zealand Warriors
Bulldogs: 1. Will Hopoate 2. Nick Meaney 3. Tim Lafai 4. Kerrod Holland 5. Reimis Smith 6. Kieran Foran 7. Jack Cogger 8. Ofahiki Ogden 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Aiden Tolman 11. Matt Doorey 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Josh Jackson 14. Sione Katoa 15. Luke Thompson 16. Sauaso Sue 17. Jake Averillo 19. Renouf To’omaga 20. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 21. Chris Smith 23. Lachlan Lewis
Will Hopoate returns to fullback and Luke Thompson has been relegated to the bench. The Bulldogs probably should have won their last round clash against the Tigers, going down by 1-point late in the game. This will be another winnable game for them against the understrength Warriors as they look to climb off the bottom of the ladder.
Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. Adam Pompey 3. Hayze Perham 4. Peta Hiku 5. George Jennings 6. Kodi Nikorima 7. Chanel Harris-Tavita 8. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 9. Karl Lawton 10. Lachlan Burr 11. Isaiah Papali’i 12. Tohu Harris 13. Jazz Tevaga 14. Wayde Egan 15. Adam Blair 16. Daniel Alvaro 17. Jack Murchie 18. Paul Turner 20. Gerard Beale 21. Josh Curran 23. Tom Ale
RTS and Nikorima will likely need to pass fitness tests before the game. They put up an admirable fight last round against the first-placed Panthers and continue to impress despite the challenges they’ve had to face this season. I expect a close game but I think when it comes down to the grind, they might get edged out by a desperate Bulldogs trying to hand over the wooden spoon to the hapless Broncos.
Bulldogs by 6
Newcastle Knights vs North Queensland Cowboys
Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Starford To’a 3. Enari Tuala 4. Gehamat Shibasaki 5. Hymel Hunt 6. Blake Green 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. David Klemmer 9. Kurt Mann 10. Jacob Saifiti 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 12. Aidan Guerra 13. Mitchell Barnett 14. Phoenix Crossland 15. Herman Ese’ese 16. Josh King 17. Pasami Saulo 18. Brodie Jones 19. Tex Hoy 20. Chris Randall 21. Jirah Momoisea
Finals-bound Newcastle had to come back twice to beat Manly last round and it looks like coach Adam O’Brien finally has the Knights poised to have a real crack at the premiership. But the last time they played the Cowboys, they were trounced and were criticized for being complacent. Blake Green has been an excellent addition to the side and Kurt Mann has impressed at dummy half. They should cruise past North Queensland.
Cowboys: 1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Tom Opacic 4. Connelly Lemuelu 5. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 6. Ben Hampton 7. Michael Morgan 8. Josh Mcguire 9. Reece Robson 10. Jordan McLean 11. Mitchell Dunn 12. Coen Hess 13. Jason Taumalolo 14. Reuben Cotter 15. John Asiata 16. Emry Pere 17. Francis Molo 18. Shane Wright 19. Jake Clifford 20. Corey Jensen 22. Justin O’Neill
The Cowboys managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory last round, going down by 1-point to Souths. Interim coach Josh Hannay described some of the plays in the last 5 minutes of that game as “boneheaded”. Captain Morgan returned to form and they need to find some space for the electric Tabuai-Fidow. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, losing becomes a habit and they’ve simply forgotten how to win.
Knights by 14