Parramatta Eels vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
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. Andrew Davey 16. Kane Evans 17. Oregon Kaufusi 18. Stefano Utoikamanu 19. Haze Dunster 20. Will Smith 21. Brad Takairangi
The Eels managed to edge out an injury-ravaged Storm last round, but you could argue it was another unimpressive victory, but a victory nonetheless. I feel like they need to put on a clinical performance against Souths to silence some of the doubters in regards to their premiership credentials.
Rabbitohs: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Corey Allan 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. Liam Knight 16. Patrick Mago 17. Keaon Koloamatangi 18. Jed Cartwright 19. Steven Marsters 20. Troy Dargan 21. Kurt Dillon
Souths thrashed Manly 56-16 last round in their most comprehensive performance so far this season. Despite sitting 7th on the ladder, they haven’t defeated a top 8 side apart from the 8th placed Sharks in round 1. This match will determine where they are as a team and whether they will challenge for the premiership. I think their attack is starting to fire and they’re primed to cause an upset.
Rabbitohs by 4
St George Illawarra Dragons vs Gold Coast Titans
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. Jacob Host 13. Cameron McInnes 14. Kaide Ellis 15. Trent Merrin 16. Jackson Ford 17. Billy Brittain 18. Eddie Blacker 19. Tristan Sailor 20. Jayden Sullivan 21. Max Feagai
The Dragons escaped with the 2-points last round against the Broncos, but the Titans might prove to be a tougher test as they desperately try to keep their season alive. They need Norman to show some consistency and back up his performance against Brisbane. The pressure is on, because if they lose, their season is effectively over.
Titans: 1. Alexander Brimson 2. Corey Thompson 3. Brian Kelly 4. Young Tonumaipea 5. Phillip Sami 6. Ashley Taylor 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Mitch Rein 10. Jaimin Jolliffe 11. Sam Stone 12. Beau Fermor 13. Tyrone Peachey 14. Erin Clark 15. Sam Lisone 16. Keegan Hipgrave 17. Jai Whitbread 18. Tanah Boyd 19. Anthony Don 20. Treymain Spry 21. Darius Farmer
Ash Taylor returns to the side to give them the extra attacking potency they lacked last round. Peachy has been named at lock with their best forward Moe Fotuaika suspended for a crusher tackle, but he really needs to get his discipline in order in both attack and defence. If he can do that, he can have a real impact on this game to guide the Titans to an upset win.
Titans by 2
Sydney Roosters vs Brisbane Broncos
Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 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. Boyd Cordner 12. Sitili Tupouniua 13. Isaac Liu 14. Freddy Lussick 15. Poasa Faamausili 16. Nat Butcher 17. Lindsay Collins 18. Daniel Fifita 19. Ryan Hall 20. Max Bailey 21. Egan Butcher
Despite the injury toll, the reigning premiers put on a clinical performance against the Tigers last round. Hutchison and Flanagan were good in the halves and they welcome back their co-captain Boyd Cordiner from concussion. I don’t think this will be another 59-0 massacre like we saw in round 4, but I expect the Roosters to cruise past the Broncos rather comfortably.
Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd 2. Richard Kennar 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Jordan Kahu 5. Herbie Farnworth 6. Sean O’Sullivan 7. Tom Dearden 8. Joe Ofahengaue 9. Cory Paix 10. Rhys Kennedy 11. David Fifita 12. Ben Te’o 13. Patrick Carrigan 14. Brodie Croft 15. Jordan Riki 16. Ethan Bullemor 17. Jamil Hopoate 18. Jesse Arthars 19. Pride Petterson-Robati 20. Tyson Gamble 21. Corey Oates
The club has finally parted ways with the coach Anthony Seibold, and I would think some of the players are now playing for their futures. Their 4th choice half, Sean O’Sullivan returns to the NRL ahead of Brodie Croft, who has been named on the bench, likely to rotate at dummy half. I expect them to give their best but the Roosters are too professional and are a class above.
Roosters by 20
New Zealand Warriors vs Newcastle Knights
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. Eliesa Katoa 12. Tohu Harris 13. Jazz Tevaga 14. Wayde Egan 15. Adam Blair 16. Daniel Alvaro 17. Jack Murchie 18. Isaiah Papali’i 20. Gerard Beale 21. Josh Curran 22. Paul Turner
The Warriors continue to show a lot of character and fight with their come-from-behind win over the Bulldogs last round. I expect a close game against Newcastle, but the question will be if they can continue to show that defensive grit to stop Ponga and grind out a win.
Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Starford To’a 3. Enari Tuala 4. Gehamat Shibasaki 5. Hymel Hunt 6. Mason Lino 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. Chris Randall 20. Tex Hoy 21. Jirah Momoisea
They were scrappy in their shut-out win over the Cowboys last round. They defended well but their attack was way out of sync. I’m not sure whether that will improve with Mason Lino coming into the side at #6 to replace Blake Green. There’s a lot of improvement required if they’re to challenge for the premiership, and it has to start by disposing of the Warriors.
Knights by 6
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks vs North Queensland Cowboys
Sharks: 1. Will Kennedy 2. Sione Katoa 3. Josh Dugan 4. Jesse Ramien 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Connor Tracey 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Braden Hamlin-Uele 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Aaron Woods 11. Briton Nikora 12. Wade Graham 13. Toby Rudolf 14. Siosifa Talakai 15. Scott Sorensen 16. Jack Williams 17. Royce Hunt 18. Teig Wilton 19. Bryson Goodwin 20. Matt Moylan 21. Andrew Fifita
Although the Sharks are 4-points clear of 9th place on the ladder, they’re still not finals certainties and need to continue racking up wins to ensure a top 8 spot. Matt Moylan and Andrew Fifita have been named on the extended bench. Shaun Johnson is still playing at his peak and they should have enough points in them get by the struggling Cowboys.
Cowboys: 1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Justin O’Neill 4. Murray Taulagi 5. Valentine Holmes 6. Daejarn Asi 7. Michael Morgan 8. Francis Molo 9. Reuben Cotter 10. Jordan McLean 11. Mitchell Dunn 12. Coen Hess 13. Josh Mcguire 14. Jake Granville 15. John Asiata 16. Tom Gilbert 17. Corey Jensen 18. Shane Wright 19. Jake Clifford 20. Connelly Lemuelu 21. Peter Hola
Their 12-0 loss to the Knights last round was the first time the club had been kept to nill and hadn’t scored a try in a game since round 1, 2012. They lose Taumalolo to injury which is a huge blow to a team who are still a chance of finishing with the wooden spoon. On paper they still have a strong side, but they’re a side with no answers and void of confidence.
Sharks by 10
Penrith Panthers vs Wests Tigers
Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Josh Mansour 3. Brent Naden 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Brian To’o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. James Tamou 9. Mitch Kenny 10. Moses Leota 11. Isaah Yeo 12. Liam Martin 13. James Fisher-Harris 14. Tyrone May 15. Spencer Leniu 16. Billy Burns 17. Zane Tetevano 18. Daine Laurie 19. Kurt Capewell 20. Matt Burton 21. Pat Hollis
The Panthers continue to improve week-after-week. I thought they might not have the experience to continue keeping up with the top sides, but as the winning streak continues to extend, I think they’re a real chance of going undefeated for the rest of the season.
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. Harry Grant 10. Thomas Mikaele 11. Luke Garner 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Alex Twal 14. Matt Eisenhuth 15. Elijah Taylor 16. Jacob Liddle 17. Shawn Blore 18. Chris Lawrence 19. Sam McIntyre 20. Josh Reynolds 21. Asu Kepaoa
Although the Tigers are mathematically still a chance at reaching the top 8, their performances in recent weeks suggests they’re done for 2020. Not sure what coach Maguire does from here. He’s tried to get rid of that “soft underbelly” associated with the club for over a decade now, but it seems it’s only gotten softer. I don’t think they’re any chance of beating Penrith.
Panthers by 14
Melbourne Storm vs Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
Storm: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. Marion Seve 3. Brenko Lee 4. Justin Olam 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith 10. Christian Welch 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Tom Eisenhuth 13. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 14. Nicholas Hynes 15. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 16. Sandor Earl 17. Darryn Schonig 18. Ryley Jacks 19. Chris Lewis 20. Albert Vete 21. Isaac Lumelume
The Storm have named their 2 Cam’s, Smith and Munster which is a huge boost to their side after their shut-out loss last round. They’re still a possibility of securing another minor premiership, but will need to get back to their winning ways. They shouldn’t have too much trouble getting past the struggling Sea Eagles.
Sea Eagles: 1. Tevita Funa 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Brad Parker 4. Jack Gosiewski 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Cade Cust 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 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. Taniela Paseka 18. Albert Hopoate 19. Abbas Miski 20. Morgan Boyle 21. Haumole Olakau’atu
Manly’s season went from bad to worse last round, conceding 56-points to Souths, 38 of which was conceded in the first half. They’ve struggled with injuries and their lack-of-quality with their depth has been badly exposed. I expect an improvement with effort but it’s hard to see them challenging the Storm with their big guns back.
Storm by 16
Canberra Raiders vs Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
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. Matthew Timoko 18. Sam Williams 19. Harley Smith-Shields 20. Kai O’Donnell 21. Matt Frawley
I won’t soon forget Josh Papalii chasing down Titans halfback Jamal Fogarty in their last round win against the Titans. Wighton also returned to his best form. The Raiders are proving a lot of the doubters wrong who said they couldn’t win the competition without Hodgson, but they’re traveling nicely at the moment and should dispose of the last-placed Bulldogs.
Bulldogs: 1. Will Hopoate 2. Nick Meaney 3. Marcelo Montoya 4. Kerrod Holland 5. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 6. Kieran Foran 7. Lachlan Lewis 8. Ofahiki Ogden 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Dylan Napa 11. Josh Jackson 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Aiden Tolman 14. Sione Katoa 15. Renouf To’omaga 16. Dean Britt 17. Matt Doorey 19. Luke Thompson 20. Jack Cogger 21. Reimis Smith 22. Tim Lafai
The Bulldogs are a side who doesn’t know how to win, because they really should have won their last round match against the Warriors which would have lifted them off the bottom of the ladder. The coach has made several changes to the side but I don’t think it will help them in scoring an upset against last years grand finalists.
Raiders by 12