South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Brisbane Broncos
Rabbitohs: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Alex Johnston 3. Dane Gagai 4. Campbell Graham 5. Josh Mansour 6. Benji Marshall 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Burgess 9. Damien Cook 10. Tevita Tatola 11. Jacob Host 12. Jaydn Su’A 13. Cameron Murray 14. Dean Hawkins 15. Mark Nicholls 16. Patrick Mago 17. Jai Arrow 18. Hame Sele 19. Jaxson Paulo 20. Troy Dargan 21. Steven Marsters
The Rabbitohs are hitting their straps with their attack and Latrell’s game is reaching new heights as a fullback. Amazing how they lose Cody Walker to suspension but hey have a bloke named Benji Marshall who slots straight in to the six jumper so they will not lose much. They should trounce the Broncos.
Broncos: 1. Jamayne Isaako 2. Xavier Coates 3. Richard Kennar 4. Tesi Niu 5. David Mead 6. Anthony Milford 7. Tom Dearden 8. Matthew Lodge 9. Jake Turpin 10. Payne Haas 11. Alex Glenn 12. Jordan Riki 13. Tevita Pangai Junior 14. Brodie Croft 15. Thomas Flegler 16. John Asiata 17. Ben Te’o 18. Ethan Bullemor 19. Rhys Kennedy 20. Cory Paix
There has been improvements shown by the Broncos and it is evident that they are trying under Kevin Walters’ coaching. But at the moment they are probably a 50 minute team, compete well for 50 minutes during games but get absolutely pumped during the other 30 minutes. Once their opponents get a roll on, they let in several tries in a short space of time which is exactly how Thursday’s game might pan out.
Rabbitohs by 28
New Zealand Warriors vs Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. David Fusitu’a 3. Adam Pompey 4. Marcelo Montoya 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Kodi Nikorima 7. Sean O’Sullivan 8. Leeson Ah Mau 9. Wayde Egan 10. Tohu Harris 11. Eliesa Katoa 12. Jack Murchie 13. Jazz Tevaga 14. Ben Murdoch-Masila 15. Tom Ale 16. Kane Evans 17. Josh Curran 18. Rocco Berry 20. Paul Turner 21. Jackson Frei 22. Taniela Otukolo
The Warriors are an improving side but they did not back themselves in attack last round against the Roosters. A lot of one-out stuff which the Roosters just ate up and eventually gained the advantage. This game is a huge opportunity for them to really express themselves with their attack against a struggling Manly defence. If they are to make the finals, these are the games they must win.
Sea Eagles: 1. Dylan Walker 2. Jason Saab 3. Brad Parker 4. Morgan Harper 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Kieran Foran 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Taniela Paseka 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Martin Taupau 11. Jack Gosiewski 12. Josh Schuster 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Cade Cust 15. Toafofoa Sipley 16. Sean Keppie 17. Josh Aloiai 18. Tevita Funa 19. Zac Saddler 20. Christian Tuipulotu 21. Ben Trbojevic
The Sea Eagles are badly out of form, collectively and several key players such as Cherry-Evans, Walker and Jake Trbojevic are struggling individually. It is hard to see them inpoving with both their defence and their attack. They are currently last on the ladder and until their attitude changes and they show a bit of pride in the jersey, they will again struggle against a Tuivasa-Sheck led Warriors attack.
Warriors by 18
Penrith Panthers vs Canberra Raiders
Panthers: 1. Stephen Crichton 2. Charlie Staines 3. Paul Momirovski 4. Matt Burton 5. Brian To’o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Moses Leota 9. Mitch Kenny 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Kurt Capewell 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Tyrone May 15. Spencer Leniu 16. Matthew Eisenhuth 17. Liam Martin 18. Scott Sorensen 19. Robert Jennings 20. J’maine Hopgood 21. Jaeman Salmon
The Panthers are cruising along quite comfortably and they face the second real test so far this season against the Raiders. Even with key players missing, they have quality depth in their squad that fringe players can come in and get the job done. This is the match of the round and it could turn out to be a low scoring grind with two quality defensive sides, but the Panthers have the edge with a superior attack and should collect the two points in a close game.
Raiders: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Bailey Simonsson 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Sebastian Kris 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Jack Wighton 7. George Williams 8. Josh Papali’i 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Ryan Sutton 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Joseph Tapine 14. Tom Starling 15. Siliva Havili 16. Iosia Soliola 17. Ryan James 18. Sam Williams 19. Semi Valemi 20. Dunamis Lui 21. Corey Harawira-Naera
The Raiders seem to be stuck in third gear at the moment but the positive is they can beat any team in the competition once they reach top gear. But based on recent form, they are still a way off their best football and unless everything clicks this week, it is hard to tip against the Panthers. That said, it would be no surprise if the Raiders do cause an upset, as their forward pack will be primed to win the middle-third battle.
Panthers by 4
Gold Coast Titans vs Newcastle Knights
Titans: 1. Alexander Brimson 2. Phillip Sami 3. Brian Kelly 4. Patrick Herbert 5. Corey Thompson 6. Tanah Boyd 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Mitch Rein 10. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 11. Kevin Proctor 12. David Fifita 13. Tyrone Peachey 14. Moeaki Fotuaika 15. Sam Lisone 16. Jaimin Jolliffe 17. Erin Clark 18. Beau Fermor 19. Herman Ese’ese 20. Sam McIntyre 21. Ashley Taylor
The Titans are an improved side and their forward pack has been super impressive in the opening rounds. But they are still lacking polish in attack off the back of what the forwards are providing for their halves. Fogarty is in doubt, Taylor is a chance of a return and if they both play, they should have enough points in them to overcome a depleted Knights outfit.
Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Starford To’a 3. Enari Tuala 4. Gehamat Shibasaki 5. Hymel Hunt 6. Connor Watson 7. Blake Green 8. David Klemmer 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Mitchell Barnett 13. Sauaso Sue 14. Chris Randall 15. Pasami Saulo 16. Josh King 17. Brodie Jones 18. Jack Johns 19. Brayden Musgrove 20. Simi Sasagi 21. Garrett Smith
The Knights lose halfback Mitchell Pearce for a minimum of 10 weeks and although they finally get star fullback Kalyn Ponga back for his first game of the season, it should not be expected that he will fire straight away. Both forward packs are evenly matched but it is hard to see the Knights being able to outscore the Titans in this one.
Titans by 6
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs vs Melbourne Storm
Bulldogs: 1. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 2. Nick Cotric 3. Will Hopoate 4. Corey Allan 5. Tui Katoa 6. Jake Averillo 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Luke Thompson 9. Sione Katoa 10. Jack Hetherington 11. Adam Elliott 12. Corey Waddell 13. Josh Jackson 14. Jackson Topine 15. Renouf Atoni 16. Dylan Napa 17. Ofahiki Ogden 19. Brandon Wakeham 20. Chris Smith 21. Joe Stimson 22. Dean Britt
The Bulldogs have not scored a single point since the opening round and despite a few positional changes in an attempt to spark their attack, it is hard to see them scoring a point against the premiers. The effort will be there and they will do the best they can both individually and collectively, but they simply do not have the cattle to compete with this Storm side.
Storm: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. George Jennings 3. Reimis Smith 4. Justin Olam 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Brandon Smith 10. Christian Welch 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 14. Chris Lewis 15. Tui Kamikamica 16. Tom Eisenhuth 17. Nicholas Hynes 18. Aaron Pene 19. Dean Ieremia 20. Brenko Lee 21. Harry Grant
Harry Grant has been named on the extended bench and is a chance of a return but even if he does not play, the Storm should not have any problems disposing of the lowly Bulldogs. If they show plenty of aggression with their defence, their forwards should roll up the field comfortably and Munster, Hughes and Papenhuyzen will have plenty of space to do a lot of damage in attack.
Melbourne by 40
Sydney Roosters vs Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Josh Morris 4. Joseph Manu 5. Brett Morris 6. Drew Hutchison 7. Sam Walker 8. Isaac Liu 9. Freddy Lussick 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho 11. Angus Crichton 12. Sitili Tupouniua 13. Victor Radley 14. Ben Marschke 15. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 16. Nat Butcher 17. Fletcher Baker 18. Daniel Suluka-fifita 19. Egan Butcher 20. Joseph Suaalii 21. Matt Ikuvalu
It was an impressive debut at halfback for young gun Sam Walker last round but he will be put to the test against an in-form Sharks outfit. Despite the inexperience in the halves, this team is still stack with world class players across the park. On paper their forward pack is superior and that is where they will win this game. With young, inexperienced halves, they will need plenty of time and space to execute their game plan.
Sharks: 1. Will Kennedy 2. Mawene Hiroti 3. Josh Dugan 4. Jesse Ramien 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Matt Moylan 7. Chad Townsend 8. Braden Hamlin-Uele 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Aaron Woods 11. Teig Wilton 12. Wade Graham 13. Toby Rudolf 14. Connor Tracey 15. Aiden Tolman 16. Jack Williams 17. Billy Magoulias 18. Braydon Trindall 19. Nene Macdonald 20. Andrew Fifita 21. Franklin Pele
The Sharks mauled a hapless Cowboys and almost brought up the half-century last round and despite missing Shaun Johnson for the opening couple of month of this season, their attack has clicked and looks very slick with all members of their spine in good form. But, the stigma of not being able to beat the top sides is still there and that will prove a mental challenge for this team which is why it is hard to tip them against the Roosters.
Roosters by 8
Wests Tigers vs North Queensland Cowboys
Tigers: 1. Daine Laurie 2. David Nofoaluma 3. James Roberts 4. Moses Mbye 5. Tommy Talau 6. Adam Doueihi 7. Luke Brooks 8. Zane Musgrove 9. Jacob Liddle 10. James Tamou 11. Luke Garner 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Alex Twal 14. Michael Chee-Kam 15. Thomas Mikaele 16. Stefano Utoikamanu 17. Joe Ofahengaue 18. Alex Seyfarth 19. Joseph Leilua 20. Jake Simpkin 21. Tukimihia Simpkins
The Tigers are another team on the improve, but still have a long way to go before they start putting together more clinical performances and nailing the big moments during games. The effort cannot be faulted though, they look like a team who are desperate to be better. They play a woeful Cowboys side this weekend and despite sitting only one place ahead of them on the ladder (currently 13th), the are miles ahead when it comes to progress and should easily collect the two points.
Cowboys: 1. Valentine Holmes 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 4. Connelly Lemuelu 5. Murray Taulagi 6. Scott Drinkwater 7. Ben Hampton 8. Francis Molo 9. Reece Robson 10. Jordan McLean 11. Shane Wright 12. Ben Condon 13. Jason Taumalolo 14. Jake Granville 15. Coen Hess 16. Josh Mcguire 17. Lachlan Burr 18. Esan Marsters 19. Reuben Cotter 20. Corey Jensen 21. Jake Clifford
There is something very, very wrong with this club. On paper they look like a decent team but there are huge attitude problems especially when it comes to their defence. Unlike the Tigers, they do seem to be trying to get better as a side and if anything, they are getting worse from recent seasons. Co-captain Jason Taumalolo returns from injury and is a huge inclusion for them as well as the return of high-flyer Kyle Feldt on the wing, but it is still hard to see them improving.
Tigers by 12
Parramatta Eels vs St George Illawarra Dragons
Eels: 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Tom Opacic 4. Marata Niukore 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. Oregon Kaufusi 15. Isaiah Papali’i 16. Will Smith 17. Bryce Cartwright 18. Ray Stone 19. Haze Dunster 20. Keegan Hipgrave 21. Jordan Rankin
The Eels are undefeated after four rounds and they are a team that still looks to have plenty of improvement left in them. They are letting teams back into games which unforced errors but when they are at their clinical best, they are a hard team to beat. But the concern is those errors and if they give the Dragons a sniff, they will not die wondering. Control the footy and the tempo of the game, they should edge out the Dragons in a close one.
Dragons: 1. Matthew Dufty 2. Cody Ramsey 3. Jack Bird 4. Zac Lomax 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Corey Norman 7. Adam Clune 8. Blake Lawrie 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Josh Kerr 12. Tariq Sims 13. Tyrell Fuimaono 14. Poasa Faamausili 15. Trent Merrin 16. Daniel Alvaro 17. Brayden Wiliame 18. Jackson Ford 19. Kaide Ellis 20. Jordan Pereira 21. Max Feagai
The Dragons, who many tipped to finish with the wooden spoon, are three wins from four starts this season and look like a team willing to work hard and they are playing for each other under new coach Anthony Griffin. Andrew McCullough deserves a lot of credit. He gets through a mountain of work in defence, rarely misses a tackle but his service from dummy half and his ability to straighten up the attacking game of his halves, especially Corey Norman has been exceptional. It will be a close game but the loss of captain and in-form halfback Ben Hunt is the only real reason they might come up just short against the Eels.
Eels by 2