NRL: Tips for Round 8


Canberra Raiders vs South Sydney Raiders

Raiders: 1. Caleb Aekins 2. Bailey Simonsson 3. Sebastian Kris 4. Curtis Scott 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Jack Wighton 7. George Williams 8. Ryan James 9. Tom Starling 10. Emre Guler 11. Corey Harawira-Naera 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Ryan Sutton 14. Siliva Havili 15. Joseph Tapine 16. Corey Horsburgh 17. Hudson Young 18. Matthew Timoko 19. Iosia Soliola 20. Matt Frawley 21. Dunamis Lui

The Raiders are out of form and Ricky Stuart has rested (or dropped) a few of his most experienced players including Josh Hodgson and Josh Papalii. Jarrod Croker is reportedly injured and arguably their most consistent player, fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klockstad is out indefinitely. They are a class side but it is hard to see them keeping up with a slick Rabbitohs attack.

Rabbitohs: 1. Cody Walker 2. Alex Johnston 3. Dane Gagai 4. Campbell Graham 5. Jaxson Paulo 6. Benji Marshall 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Burgess 9. Damien Cook 10. Tevita Tatola 11. Keaon Koloamatangi 12. Jaydn Su’A 13. Cameron Murray 14. Mark Nicholls 15. Liam Knight 16. Jacob Host 17. Jai Arrow 18. Steven Marsters 19. Hame Sele 20. Patrick Mago 21. Dean Hawkins

The Rabbitohs have been at their attacking best and Benji Marshall is aging like a fine wine. Despite losing Latrell Mitchell to suspension, Cody Walker shifts to fullback to link with Benji at five-eighth, they could put on a score against a struggling Raiders defence. The only issue for Souths is their own defence, which has leaked a few easy tries in recent weeks.

Rabbitohs by 14


Melbourne Storm vs Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks

Storm: 1. Nicholas Hynes 2. Reimis Smith 3. Tom Eisenhuth 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. Tui Kamikamica 14. Harry Grant 15. Dale Finucane 16. Chris Lewis 17. Ryley Jacks 18. Aaron Pene 19. Dean Ieremia 20. Trent Loiero 21. Isaac Lumelume

The Storm are again without star fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen, but his replacement Nicho Hynes has proven his reliability. This game will be won in the middle and the Storm have a slight edge in the forwards which will give their gun halves and potent outside backs plenty of time and space to outscore the Sharks.

Sharks: 1. Will Kennedy 2. Mawene Hiroti 3. Will Chambers 4. Jesse Ramien 5. Connor Tracey 6. Shaun Johnson 7. Chad Townsend 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Aaron Woods 11. Briton Nikora 12. Wade Graham 13. Toby Rudolf 14. Teig Wilton 15. Braydon Trindall 16. Jack Williams 17. Braden Hamlin-Uele 18. Matt Moylan 19. Billy Magoulias 20. Franklin Pele 21. Josh Dugan

The Sharks will be looking to bounce back after a shock loss to the then-winless Bulldogs. Shaun Johnson plays his second game since returning from a long injury layoff and he will be better for the run. Will Chambers debuts for the club at centre and will look to get under the skin of his former teammates. They will compete strongly against the reigning premiers but they will not have enough points in them to cause an upset.

Storm by 10

Brisbane Broncos vs Gold Coast Titans

Broncos: 1. Jamayne Isaako 2. Xavier Coates 3. Jesse Arthars 4. Herbie Farnworth 5. Corey Oates 6. Anthony Milford 7. Tyson Gamble 8. Matthew Lodge 9. Jake Turpin 10. Payne Haas 11. Jordan Riki 12. Tevita Pangai Junior 13. Patrick Carrigan 14. Danny Levi 15. Thomas Flegler 16. Ethan Bullemor 17. Rhys Kennedy 18. Tesi Niu 19. John Asiata 20. David Mead 21. Brodie Croft

The Broncos failed to backup their impressive performance against the Panthers two weeks ago, getting trounced again last round to the Eels. Kevin Walters has again changed his halves combination, reinstating Anthony Milford and taking a gamble on young Tyson Gamble at halfback. Attitude in defence has been a major problem for them in recent times and they will likely struggle again against a potent Titans attack.

Titans: 1. Alexander Brimson 2. Anthony Don 3. Brian Kelly 4. Phillip Sami 5. Corey Thompson 6. Ashley Taylor 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Mitch Rein 10. Moeaki Fotuaika 11. Kevin Proctor 12. David Fifita 13. Tyrone Peachey 14. Erin Clark 15. Jaimin Jolliffe 16. Herman Ese’ese 17. Sam McIntyre 18. Beau Fermor 19. Tanah Boyd 20. Jai Whitbread 21. Darius Farmer

The Titans will look to continue their recent dominance over their northern-neighbours, the Broncos. Apart from their shutout loss to Manly two weeks ago, scoring points has not been an issue for the Gold Coast, but it is their defence that needs serious improvement. David Fifita will be looking to reap more pain on his former club and the Titans should dispose of the Broncos comfortably.

Titans by 18

Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Penrith Panthers vs Manly Warringah Sea Eagles

Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Charlie Staines 3. Stephen Crichton 4. Matt Burton 5. Brian To’o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Moses Leota 9. Apisai Koroisau 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. Mitch Kenny 20. Robert Jennings 21. Brent Naden

The Panthers will be looking to continue on their merry way at home against a rejuvenated Manly side, but they may have their work cutout for them as their opponents have fired since the return of star fullback Tom Trbojevic. But based on current form, not even a Turbo charged Manly will challenge this Panthers rock solid defence long enough to cause an upset. The high-flying Panthers will be even stronger with Api Koroisau returning to dummy-half.

Sea Eagles: 1. Tom Trbojevic 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. Haumole Olakau’atu 12. Josh Schuster 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Cade Cust 15. Josh Aloiai 16. Sean Keppie 17. Toafofoa Sipley 18. Zac Saddler 19. Tevita Funa 20. Christian Tuipulotu 21. Ben Trbojevic

The Sea Eagles will need to be even better than the form they showed in the past two rounds if they are to edge out the first-placed Panthers. The return of Tom Trbojevic has seen Daly Cherry-Evans and Kieran Foran return to their best football and they are looking like a confident side after a terrible first month of the season. An upset is not off the cards, but Manly’s defence will have to be almost impenetrable against the best attack in the competition.

Panthers by 8

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs vs Parramatta Eels

Bulldogs: 1. Nick Meaney 2. Nick Cotric 3. Will Hopoate 4. Corey Allan 5. Tui Katoa 6. Jake Averillo 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Dylan Napa 9. Sione Katoa 10. Luke Thompson 11. Adam Elliott 12. Chris Smith 13. Corey Waddell 14. Bradley Deitz 15. Renouf Atoni 16. Ava Seumanufagai 17. Matt Doorey 19. Brandon Wakeham 20. Joe Stimson 21. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 23. Ofahiki Ogden

Canterbury-Bankstown are finally on the board after an emotionally victory against the Sharks last round. You can always count on the Bulldogs giving their best but they will have to improve again against one of the top sides in the competition. The Eels backline thrive on the back of their impressive forward pack so the challenge for the Bulldogs is winning the middle-third battle and defending well if they are to give themselves a chance.

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. Isaiah Papali’i 13. Nathan Brown 14. Oregon Kaufusi 15. Ryan Matterson 16. Haze Dunster 17. Bryce Cartwright 18. Joey Lussick 19. Keegan Hipgrave 20. Wiremu Greig 21. Jordan Rankin

The Eels are looking the goods so far this season and Mitch Moses looks more composed than ever and is controlling the team nicely. Their forward pack has been dominant and edge back rower Isaiah Papali’i is in terrific form. Bryce Cartwright has also shown glimpses of his limitless potential from the bench an they are a nicely balanced side at the moment. They should not have any problems getting by the Bulldogs.

Eels by 12

Newcastle Knights vs Sydney Roosters

Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Starford To’a 3. Enari Tuala 4. Bradman Best 5. Brayden Musgrove 6. Kurt Mann 7. Blake Green 8. David Klemmer 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Mitchell Barnett 13. Connor Watson 14. Sauaso Sue 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Josh King 17. Brodie Jones 18. Pasami Saulo 19. Phoenix Crossland 20. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 21. Tex Hoy

Despite Kalyn Ponga looking in prime form since returning from injury, the Knights have a huge problem with direction and creativity in the halves. The game looks to have passed by halfback Blake Green, and if he is unable rediscover some of his old form, questions will be asked whether he has gone a year too long. Unfortunately Mitchell Pearce is still a long while from returning and it is hard to see how the Knights will have enough points in them to beat the Roosters.

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. Sam Verrills 10. Lindsay Collins 11. Angus Crichton 12. Sitili Tupouniua 13. Victor Radley 14. Benjamin Marsce 15. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 16. Nat Butcher 17. Siosiua Taukeiaho 18. Fletcher Baker 19. Matt Ikuvalu 20. Egan Butcher 21. Joseph Suaalii

The Roosters have found a good one in young halfback, Sam Walker as he looks to go from strength-to-strength. They will likely lose James Tedesco to concussion but Joey Manu is a more than capable replacement. They will need to keep winning in order to keep within reach of the top four and they should cruise past a struggling Knights outfit.

Roosters by 12


New Zealand Warriors vs North Queensland Cowboys

Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. David Fusitu’a 3. Adam Pompey 4. Rocco Berry 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Reece Walsh 7. Kodi Nikorima 8. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 9. Wayde Egan 10. Kane Evans 11. Josh Curran 12. Ben Murdoch-Masila 13. Tohu Harris 14. Jazz Tevaga 15. Leeson Ah Mau 16. Bunty Afoa 17. Bayley Sironen 18. Jack Murchie 20. Sean O’Sullivan 21. Tom Ale 22. Taniela Otukolo

The Warriors were outclassed last round against the Storm in Melbourne, but it was an impressive debut from 18-year-old Reece Walsh at fullback. His two try-assists sees him shift to the halves, with captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck shifting back to the custodian role. This game is a coin-toss. At their best, the Warriors should easily beat the Cowboys but their biggest issue besides a few key injuries, is inconsistency.

Cowboys: 1. Valentine Holmes 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Justin O’Neill 4. Connelly Lemuelu 5. Murray Taulagi 6. Scott Drinkwater 7. Ben Hampton 8. Coen Hess 9. Reece Robson 10. Jordan McLean 11. Shane Wright 12. Ben Condon 13. Jason Taumalolo 14. Jake Granville 15. Lachlan Burr 16. Francis Molo 17. Corey Jensen 18. Peter Hola 19. Javid Bowen 20. Tom Gilbert 21. Jake Clifford

The Cowboys are riding high on the back of three-straight wins, including an 18-point comeback victory against the Raiders last round. A win here could see them jump into the top eight. The return of their captain and wrecking ball, Jason Taumalolo is a huge boost for them and the momentum he creates for the spine which is firing on all cylinders at the moment. The key for the Cowboys is to improve their defence but perhaps most importantly, complete their sets which has been an issue for them this season. They will have plenty of points in them to edge out the Warriors.

Cowboys by 2

St George Illawarra Dragons vs Wests Tigers

Dragons: 1. Matthew Dufty 2. Cody Ramsey 3. Jack Bird 4. Zac Lomax 5. Max Feagai 6. Corey Norman 7. Ben Hunt 8. Blake Lawrie 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Josh Kerr 12. Tariq Sims 13. Tyrell Fuimaono 14. Adam Clune 15. Josh Mcguire 16. Daniel Alvaro 17. Billy Burns 18. Kaide Ellis 19. Jackson Ford 20. Poasa Faamausili 21. Junior Amone

The Dragons took a step backwards last round as their recent run of form fizzled out against the Roosters on Anzac Day. However they will be buoyed by the return of captain Ben Hunt, who was playing his best footy for the ‘Red V’ before he went down injured. They come up against a struggling Tigers side and if they are to win, they simply need to go back to what was working for them in the opening five rounds.

Tigers: 1. Daine Laurie 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Joseph Leilua 4. James Roberts 5. Tommy Talau 6. Adam Doueihi 7. Luke Brooks 8. James Tamou 9. Jake Simpkin 10. Alex Twal 11. Luke Garner 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Joe Ofahengaue 14. Moses Mbye 15. Stefano Utoikamanu 16. Alex Seyfarth 17. Thomas Mikaele 18. Michael Chee-Kam 19. Zane Musgrove 20. Tom Amone 21. Jacob Liddle

The Tigers defence folded meekly once again last round against Manly to leave themselves with a 1-6 record this season. It is hard to see where they can improve. They do not have a great roster and Luke Brooks is not cutting it at halfback. But their biggest issue is attitude. Occasionally they will show up and have a dig, but on most occasions this season you have to wonder if they want to be there. On current form, it is too hard to tip them.

Dragons by 6