NRL: Tips for Magic Round


Wests Tigers vs Newcastle Knights

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

The Tigers occasionally put in a quality effort and despite the perplexing positional changes made by coach Michael Maguire which sees their best player in Adam Doueihi shifted from five-eight to centre, it puts all the responsibility back on the shoulders of Luke Brooks to deliver against a depleted Knights side, which can only be a positive for the Tigers.

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

Kalyn Ponga has been named but will be unavailable due to injury. Tex Hoy is a decent replacement but the injury ravaged Knights are really lacking attacking potency with their makeshift spine.

Tigers by 4

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles vs Brisbane Broncos

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. Moses Suli 16. Sean Keppie 17. Toafofoa Sipley 18. Zac Saddler 19. Tevita Funa 20. Christian Tuipulotu 21. Ben Trbojevic

The Sea Eagles are one of the in-form teams in the competition right now thanks largely to star fullback Tom Trbojevic. Since his return to the side from injury, we have seen captain Daly Cherry-Evans and lock Jake Trbojevic return to form. Manly should have too many points in them against the Broncos.

Broncos: 1. Jamayne Isaako 2. Xavier Coates 3. Herbie Farnworth 4. Jesse Arthars 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. Thomas Flegler 14. Danny Levi 15. John Asiata 16. Ethan Bullemor 17. Rhys Kennedy 18. Keenan Palasia 19. David Mead 20. Tesi Niu 21. Brendan Piakura

The Broncos have shown signs of improvement over the past month but they will be tested against a Turbo led attack. This could be a game of which team can outscore the other, so Milford will have to be at his very best if they are to outgun Manly.

Sea Eagles by 12


Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs vs Canberra Raiders

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

The Bulldogs have dropped their first choice halfback in Kyle Flanagan. Problem is they do not have a better option. Their attack is so lacklustre, it is difficult to see where the points are going to comefrom, even against an out-of-form Raiders.

Raiders: 1. Caleb Aekins 2. Bailey Simonsson 3. Sebastian Kris 4. Curtis Scott 5. Semi Valemi 6. Jack Wighton 7. George Williams 8. Josh Papali’i 9. Tom Starling 10. Emre Guler 11. Corey Harawira-Naera 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Hudson Young 14. Josh Hodgson 15. Dunamis Lui 16. Corey Horsburgh 17. Ryan James 18. Sam Williams 19. Matthew Timoko 20. Siliva Havili 21. Harry Rushton

The Raiders desperately need to get their second halves sorted out. This is a big opportunity for them to regain some form and build some confidence for the coming weeks against the last-placed Bulldogs.

Raiders by 16

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks vs South Sydney Rabbitohs

Sharks: 1. Will Kennedy 2. Mawene Hiroti 3. Josh Dugan 4. Will Chambers 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. Matt Moylan 15. Teig Wilton 16. Jack Williams 17. Andrew Fifita 18. Braydon Trindall 19. Billy Magoulias 20. Franklin Pele 21. Jenson Taumoepeau

The Sharks have not been the same since the sacking of their coach and one has to question their attitude and whether their hearts are in it for the rest of this season. They have quality players on paper, Josh Dugan and Andrew Fifita return to the side and at their best, they can beat the Rabbitohs but on current form it is almost impossible to tip them.

Rabbitohs: 1. Cody Walker 2. Alex Johnston 3. Dane Gagai 4. Braidon Burns 5. Taane Milne 6. Benji Marshall 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Burgess 9. Damien Cook 10. Tevita Tatola 11. Keaon Koloamatangi 12. Jaydn Su’A 13. Liam Knight 14. Mark Nicholls 15. Hame Sele 16. Jed Cartwright 17. Jai Arrow 18. Troy Dargan 19. Patrick Mago 20. Dean Hawkins 21. Steven Marsters

The Rabbitohs

Rabbitohs by 12

Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Sydney Roosters vs North Queensland Cowboys

Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Josh Morris 4. Joseph Manu 5. Matt Ikuvalu 6. Lachlan Lam 7. Sam Walker 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Ben Marschke 10. Isaac Liu 11. Angus Crichton 12. Sitili Tupouniua 13. Victor Radley 14. Adam Keighran 15. Daniel Suluka-Fifita 16. Nat Butcher 17. Siosiua Taukeiaho 18. Naufahu Whyte 19. Tukupa Hau Tapuha 20. Egan Butcher 21. Joseph Suaalii

Despite the long injury list, the Roosters still have plenty of class led by captain James Tedesco. Sam Walker is proving to be a young superstar destined for big things. No matter who comes into the side, the systems stay the same which is why they are a great club. They should edge out the Cowboys.

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

The Cowboys are an improving team and some of their key players eg Holmes, Drinkwater and Taumalolo are finding some form. This will be a good test to see where they are at as a club. If they are competitive, they are making good progress. Do not rule out an upset in this one.

Roosters by 2

New Zealand Warriors vs Parramatta Eels

Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. Edward Kosi 3. Adam Pompey 4. Rocco Berry 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Kodi Nikorima 7. Chanel Harris-Tavita 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. Reece Walsh 18. Bayley Sironen 20. Jack Murchie 21. Eliesa Katoa 22. Euan Aitken

The Warriors have been a bit hot and cold this season and they desperately need to fins some consistency with their performances. It will not come easy against the in-form Eels though, but they have more than enough quality to compete. The Eels have had some off-field dramas this week and could be slightly vulnerable if the Warriors are good enough to take advantage.

Eels: 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Tom Opacic 4. Waqa Blake 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Jakob Arthur 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Isaiah Papali’i 12. Ryan Matterson 13. Nathan Brown 14. Oregon Kaufusi 15. Shaun Lane 16. Ray Stone 17. Bryce Cartwright 18. Joey Lussick 19. Keegan Hipgrave 20. Haze Dunster 21. Jordan Rankin

The Eels are fortunate to be able to field 17 players after their covid-bubble debacle. Jakob Arthur, son of the coach, Brad will make his debut at five-eighth. The Eels are flying in second position on the ladder, but you could argue they still have not reached their best form. This could be the upset of the weekend.

Warriors by 6


Melbourne Storm vs St George Illawarra Dragons

Storm: 1. Nicholas Hynes 2. George Jennings 3. Reimis Smith 4. Justin Olam 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Ryley Jacks 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Kenneath Bromwich 10. Christian Welch 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Tui Kamikamica 13. Dale Finucane 14. Tyson Smoothy 15. Chris Lewis 16. Tom Eisenhuth 17. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 18. Aaron Pene 19. Ryan Papenhuyzen 20. Trent Loiero 21. Dean Ieremia

The Storm, like the Roosters have a large injury list but they also have quality players come in and play to the same systems and more often than not, get the job done. Their forward pack is still world class and fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen is a chance of a return. They still have enough strike power to conquer the Dragons.

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

The Dragons early season form has dropped off in recent weeks and they have an opportunity to regain some confidence against an undermanned Storm. The problem they have is their attack which has been spluttering along and is not as potent as it can be which is why they may struggle to outscore the reigning premiers.

Storm by 10

Gold Coast Titans vs Penrith Panthers

Titans: 1. Alexander Brimson 2. Anthony Don 3. Brian Kelly 4. Beau Fermor 5. Phillip Sami 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. Herman Ese’ese 16. Jaimin Jolliffe 17. Esan Marsters 18. Sam McIntyre 19. Erin Clark 20. Sam Stone 21. Jayden Campbell

The Titans defence has been very ordinary over the past month and they now come up against the best attack in the competition. The Titans attack however, could even cause the best defence in the competition some problems if they are on and firing. The only way the Titans win against the first-placed Panthers on a 9-game winning streak, is if they can score more than 30 and defend as if their lives depend on it. Hard to see that happening though.

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. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Tyrone May 15. Scott Sorensen 16. Matthew Eisenhuth 17. J’maine Hopgood 18. Paul Momirovski 19. Spencer Leniu 20. Robert Jennings 21. Mitch Kenny

The Panthers will look to make it 10-0 as they continue to cruise along in third gear while the rest of the competition struggle to keep up. If they can repel the Titans potent attack, they should win comfortably.

Panthers by 18