Panthers turn on the heat to scorch the Dragons

Penrith Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary

The Penrith Panthers have staged a late comeback to condemn the Dragons to their second home loss to start the season.

The Dragons led the see-sawing affair 28-18 with just twelve minutes remaining before a four-minute flurry from Penrith saw the Saints’ lead evaporate.

The Panthers exploded out of the gates to lead by twelve after just fifteen minutes courtesy of a dummy-half scoot from Api Koroisau to start.

This was followed by a sweet Nathan Cleary show-and-go that left Ben Hunt and Tyrell Fuimaono clutching for air.

Led by new recruit Zane Tetevano, the Penrith forward pack simply poured through the middle third, doubling the Dragons’ run metres over the first twenty minutes.

Players were given some relief from the oppressive conditions with a drinks break after twenty minutes.

Little seemed to change for the Dragons as Isaah Yeo split the defence before passing inside to an unmarked Dean Whare.

However, in a game-changing moment, the pass was sensationally intercepted by Matt Dufty who raced away to score a ninety-metre effort and complete a twelve-point swing in his fiftieth NRL appearance.

Seemingly inspired by Dufty’s antics, the Dragons further turned the momentum through a beautiful cutout pass from Corey Norman.

He made up for his earlier defensive deficiencies by sending Jordan Pereira down the sideline to set up a try for Brayden Wiliame.

Zac Lomax was the next to cross, capitalising upon an errant offload from Josh Mansour to give the Dragons a 16-12 half time lead, despite having just 40% possession.

After the break, a deft grubber from Nathan Cleary appeared to regain control of the game for Penrith through a Brent Naden try.

However, following his relegation from the squad last week, Matt Dufty again provided the spark the Dragons needed as he crashed over from short range.

When Corey Norman dived on Ben Hunt’s banana kick four minutes later, the Dragons looked to have the match on ice with less than twenty minutes to go.

In keeping with the volatile nature of the match, it wasn’t long until the momentum swung one final time.

Viliame Kikau ran over Issac Luke off the back of a hail-mary offload from Josh Mansour.

It was then up to the man with the magic touch, Stephen Crichton, to ice the match.

After scoring within seventeen seconds of entering the field last week, Crichton raced onto an inside ball from Nathan Cleary before combining with Liam Martin for the game winner.

Speaking post-game, Dragons coach Paul McGregor condemned his side’s discipline, agreeing that the Dragons gave away a golden opportunity to post their first win of the season.

“We had complete control with 16 mins to go… it’s not good enough,” McGregor said.

“Last week, we had three opportunities with the line open that we didn’t finish and today we led at halftime… we’re making it hard (for ourselves).”

In comparison, Ivan Cleary admitted his team were well below par tonight, but will happily accept another tight win to start the year.

“I was worried the whole second half… we just didn’t have the edge we needed to have… but you’ve just got to find a way to win those sorts of games, especially early in the season” he said.

Penrith will advance to play Melbourne at AAMI Park next week, while the Dragons will head South to the nation’s capital in search of their first victory of the season.

NRL News Player of the Game:

3 Points – Nathan Cleary – The Panthers’ half was simply superb, steering his side around shrewdly for the second week running. Chimed in for a try, try assist, line break and line break assist.

2 Points – Apisai Koroisau – Quickly putting his hand up as an early contender for buy of the year as he crossed for a try and made 38 tackles.

1 Point – Matt Dufty – Lost his fullback spot to Zac Lomax over the off-season but did his future selection chances no harm tonight as he crossed twice and seemed to be the Dragons’ enigma, bringing them to life twice when hope appeared lost.

Staggs the man as Broncos beat Rabbitohs in close affair

Promising Brisbane Broncos centre Kotoni Staggs

Led by the forward pack, it was Brisbane Broncos centre Kotoni Staggs who benefited most with a hat-trick against the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Proving themselves resilient in defence and potent in attack, the Broncos held on for a 22-18 victory.

The win puts the Broncos 2-0 on the season but the talking is all about Staggs and that forward pack.

It would be the Broncs who started the more lively of the two sides, with that man Staggs opening the scoring.

Soon after, Anthony Milford spotted the gap and went for it, showing deceptive strength to score.

The boot of Jamayne Isaako was off as the Broncos went up 8-0.

The Rabbitohs would soon hit back, as Campbell Graham finally got his try off a Cody Walker cut-out pass.

A second Rabbitohs try followed soon after, with Walker scoring one of his own and holding off defenders to plant the ball.

A successful Reynolds conversion and a penalty goal, then put them up 12-10.

The second half then quickly became the Kotoni Staggs show.

He gave the Broncos the lead again  when he carried defenders over the line and burrowed over to score.

And mere minutes later, his hat-trick was complete.

This time, he backed up a pass from Jamil Hopoate and just ran through some tired Rabbitohs defence to score under the posts.

It was left to the Rabbitohs to go into all out attack mode and they pulled one try back.

That was via Alex Johnston who grubbered ahead and found that his kick had ricocheted off a Bronco, and into his hands for a score.

That was close as the Rabbitohs would come, however, with the Broncos holding on for a deserved victory.

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Kotoni Staggs

2. Payne Haas

  1. Patrick Carrigan

NRL Rd 2: Brisbane Broncos v South Sydney Rabbitohs Stats Breakdown

South Sydney Rabbitohs halfback Adam Reynolds

Brisbane Broncos v South Sydney Rabbitohs Stats

The Brisbane Broncos and South Sydney Rabbitohs have played each other on 40 occasions; the Broncos have won 28, the Rabbitohs 11 and there has been 1 draw.

The Brisbane Broncos have won 12 of 19 games against the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Suncorp Stadium, including three of the last four.

South Sydney need just five more points to reach 800 total points against the Broncos.

The Rabbitohs have lost seven of the last nine games against the Broncos, although they have won the last two.

The first game between the two sides was a 16-4 win for the Rabbitohs in round 14, 1988.

Brisbane Broncos winger Corey Oates has 12 tries in 11 games against the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Brisbane Broncos winger Corey Oates

Biggest Wins

The Brisbane Broncos biggest win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs was a 56-6 drubbing in round 20, 1995.

The South Sydney Rabbitohs biggest win over the Brisbane Broncos was a comfortable 44-12 success in round 19, 2009.

Top try-scorer in this clash

Corey Oates (BRI) – 12
Nathan Merritt (SOU) – 11
Justin Hodges (BRI) – 7
Steve Renouf (BRI) – 6
Julian O’Neill (BRI/SOU) – 6
Gorden Tallis (BRI) – 6

Most prolific point-scorer in this clash

Adam Reynolds (SOU) – 1 try & 53 goals (108 pts)
Corey Parker (BRI) – 2 tries & 38 goals (84 pts)
Nathan Merritt (SOU) – 11 tries & 2 goals (48 pts)
Corey Oates (BRI) – 12 tries (48 pts)
Julian O’Neill (BRI/SOU) – 6 tries & 10 goals (44 pts)
Michael De Vere (BRI) – 3 tries & 14 goals (40 pts)

Players to have played for both sides from this clash

  1. Billy Noke – 1988 (BRI) & 1991 (SOU)
  2. Scott Tronc – 1989-1990 (BRI) & 1994 (SOU)
  3. Julian O’Neill – 1991-1995 (BRI) & 1997-1999 (SOU)
  4. Ben Walker – 1995-2000 (BRI) & 2005-2006 (SOU)
  5. Chris Walker – 1999-2002 (BRI) & 2003 (SOU)
  6. Lote Tuqiri – 1999-2002 (BRI) & 2014 (SOU)
  7. Shane Walker – 1996-2002 (BRI) & 2003-2006 (SOU)
  8. Dave Taylor – 2006-2009 (BRI) & 2010-2012 (SOU)
  9. Ben Te’o – 2009-2012 (BRI) & 2013-2014 (SOU)
  10. Luke Capewell – 2008-2010 (SOU) & 2012 (BRI)
  11. James Roberts – 2011 & 2019 (SOU) & 2016-2019 (BRI)
  12. Dane Gagai – 2011 (BRI) & 2018-2019 (SOU)

Players to have sin-binned/sent-off in this clash

  1. Matthew Fuller (SOU) sin-binned in round 14, 1993.
  2. Paul Quinn (SOU) sin-binned in round 20, 1995.
  3. Jack Reed (BRI) sin-binned in round 4, 2012.

Head coaching records

Wayne Bennett (SOU) – 2/2 (100%)
Wayne Bennett (BRI) – 24/29 (82.8%) (1 draw)
George Piggins (SOU) – 2/3 (66.7%)
Ivan Henjak (BRI) – 1/2 (50%)
Michael Maguire (SOU) – 4/11 (36.4%)
Shaun McRae (SOU) – 1/3 (33.3%)
Jason Taylor (SOU) – 1/3 (33.3%)
John Lang (SOU) – 1/3 (33.3%)
Anthony Griffin (BRI) – 2/7 (28.6%)
Paul Langmack (SOU) – 0/1 (0%)
Arthur Kitinas (SOU) – 0/2 (0%) (1 draw)
Anthony Seibold (SOU) – 0/2 (0%)
Anthony Seibold (BRI) – 0/2 (0%)
Frank Curry (SOU) – 0/3 (0%)
Ken Shine (SOU) – 0/3 (0%)
Craig Coleman (SOU) – 0/4 (0%)

Players to have scored three or more tries in one game in this clash

  1. Karmichael Hunt (BRI) scored four tries in round 17, 2004.
  2. Willie Carne (BRI) scored three tries in round 14, 1993.
  3. Steve Renouf (BRI) scored three tries in round 14, 1994.
  4. Wendell Sailor (BRI) scored three tries in round 14, 1994.
  5. Michael Hancock (BRI) scored three tries in round 20, 1995.
  6. Darren Smith (BRI) scored three tries in round 20, 1995.
  7. Shaun Berrigan (BRI) scored three tries in round 12, 2005.
  8. Justin Hodges (BRI) scored three tries in round 12, 2005.
  9. Beau Champion (SOU) scored three tries in round 19, 2009.
  10. Ben Te’o (BRI) scored three tries in round 14, 2010.
  11. Greg Inglis (SOU) scored three tries in round 23, 2014.
  12. Ben Hunt (BRI) scored three tries in round 25, 2015.
  13. Corey Oates (BRI) scored three tries in round 23, 2018.

NRL Rd 2: St George Illawarra Dragons v Penrith Panthers Stats Breakdown

Penrith Panthers legend Ryan Girdler

St George Illawarra Dragons v Penrith Panthers Stats

The St George Illawarra Dragons and Penrith Panthers have played each other on 34 occasions; the Dragons have won 20 times, Penrith have won 14 times and there have been no draws.

The St George Illawarra Dragons and Penrith Panthers have played at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on five previous occasions; the last clash was in 2017. Of these five games, the Dragons have won three.

The St George Illawarra Dragons have won four of the last six games between the two sides, although the Penrith Panthers have won the last two games.

The first game played between the two sides was a 27-6 win for the Penrith Panthers in round 10, 1999.

Ivan Cleary is the only Penrith Panthers coach with a winning record over the St George Illawarra Dragons.

Former St George Illawarra Dragons Matt Cooper

Biggest Wins

The Penrith Panthers biggest win over the St George Illawarra Dragons came in round 23, 2000, a comfortable 42-12 victory.

The St George Illawarra Dragons biggest win over the Penrith Panthers was an easy 42-10 win in round 1, 2017.

Top try-scorer in this clash

Matt Cooper (SGI) – 13
Nathan Blacklock (SGI) – 8
Mark Gasnier (SGI) – 7
Luke Rooney (PEN) – 7
Rhys Wesser (PEN) – 7
Preston Campbell (PEN) – 6
Jason Nightingale (SGI) – 6

Most prolific point-scorer in this clash

Ryan Girdler (PEN) – 4 tries, 37 goals & 1 field goal (91 pts)
Jamie Soward (SGI/PEN) – 3 tries, 29 goals & 2 field goals (72 pts)
Matt Cooper (SGI) – 13 tries (52 pts)
Gareth Widdop (SGI) – 3 tries & 19 goals (50 pts)
Preston Campbell (PEN) – 6 tries, 10 goals & 1 field goal (45 pts)
Mark Riddell (SGI) – 2 tries & 16 goals (40 pts)
Mathew Head (SGI) – 1 try & 16 goals (36 pts)
Wayne Bartrim (SGI) – 14 goals (32 pts)
Nathan Blacklock (SGI) – 8 tries (32 pts)

Players to have played for both sides from this clash

  1. John Cross – 1998-2002 (PEN) & 2003 (SGI)
  2. Colin Ward – 1999-2001 (SGI) & 2002-2003 (PEN)
  3. Matthew Rodwell – 1999 (SGI) & 2000-2001 (PEN)
  4. Amos Roberts – 2000-2001 (SGI) & 2004 (PEN)
  5. Lee Hookey – 2000-2002 (SGI) & 2006 (PEN)
  6. Luke Priddis – 2002-2008 (PEN) & 2009-2010 (SGI)
  7. Brent Kite – 2002-2004 (SGI) & 2014-2015 (PEN)
  8. Ben Ross – 2002 (SGI) & 2003-2005 (PEN)
  9. Brett Firman – 2003-2004 (SGI) & 2007 (PEN)
  10. Ben Rogers – 2004-2005 (PEN) & 2008 (SGI)
  11. Nick Youngquest – 2004-2005 (SGI) & 2006-2007 (PEN)
  12. Bryan Norrie – 2004-2005 (SGI) & 2006-2007 (PEN)
  13. Craig Stapleton – 2001-2003 (SGI) & 2006 (PEN)
  14. Wes Naiqama – 2005-2007 (SGI) & 2013 (PEN)
  15. Jamie Soward – 2007-2013 (SGI) & 2014-2016 (PEN)
  16. Trent Merrin – 2009-2015 (SGI) & 2016-2018 (PEN)
  17. Jeremy Latimore – 2012 & 2018-2019 (SGI) & 2013-2016 (PEN)
  18. Mitch Rein – 2011-2016 (SGI) & 2017 (PEN)

Players to have sin-binned/sent-off in this clash

  1. Lee Hopkins (PEN) & Jason Hooper (SGI) both sin-binned in round 8, 2001.
  2. Ben Hornby (SGI) & Frank Puletua (PEN) both sin-binned in round 2, 2006.

Head coaching records

Ivan Cleary (PEN) – 6/7 (85.7%)
Andrew Farrar (SGI) – 3/4 (75%)
Wayne Bennett (SGI) – 3/4 (75%)
Nathan Brown (SGI) – 8/12 (66.7%)
David Waite (SGI) – 2/3 (66.7%)
Paul McGregor (SGI) – 4/8 (50%)
John Lang (PEN) – 4/10 (40%)
Royce Simmons (PEN) – 2/6 (33.3%)
Anthony Griffin (PEN) – 1/4 (25%)
Matthew Elliott (PEN) – 1/6 (16.7%)
Steve Georgallis (PEN) – 0/1 (0%)
Steve Price (SGI) – 0/3 (0%)

Players to have scored three or more tries in one game in this clash

  1. Matt Cooper (SGI) scored four tries in round 6, 2004.
  2. Nathan Blacklock (SGI) scored three tries in round 21, 2003.
  3. Joel Thompson (SGI) scored three tries in round 1, 2017.

Taumalolo guides Cowboys to victory over the Bulldogs

North Queensland Cowboys lock Jason Taumalolo

Jason Taumalolo. The North Queensland Cowboys lock sets the benchmark for NRL forwards and he proved it, with a monumental effort in his side’s win against the Canterbury Bulldogs.

Taumalolo finished the game with 345 metres, breaking the record for the most metres in a game of 323, previously held by Steve Price.

With the game the first to be played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus, the 24-16 win gives the Cowboys some confidence.

It would be the Bulldogs who started strongest and they were quickly rewarded with the opening try.

Some quick hands from Joe Stimson saw Nick Meaney make a break, before finding Lachlan Lewis on the inside to score.

With the conversion successful, the Bulldogs went up 6-0.

The tide soon turned, however, as a Reimis Smith error proved costly, leading to a Cowboys onslaught.

After keeping the pressure on the Dogs, Michael Morgan found Coen Hess who ran a perfect line to score.

This was quickly followed by a Scott Drinkwater solo effort, as he sliced the defence and had too much pace for Stimson on the edge.

Soon after, Valentine Holmes showed off his silky ball skills, laying on a lovely cut-out for Ben Hampton to score on the wing.

The night just got worse for the Dogs, who saw Dallin Watene-Zelezniak sin-binned for a second effort.

With the extra man, the Cowboys capitalised and it was Jason Taumalolo who powered over on the back of a Francis Molo offload.

The Cowboys would head into the break leading 22-6 and the Dogs had it all to do.

There was a bright spot for Renouf To’Omaga, who crossed for his first NRL try with a yawning gap in front of him.

Holmes would then take the lead out to twelve with a penalty goal.

Try as they might, the Dogs could not crack the Cowboys defence until late on.

It was debutant Jake Averillo who found Christian Crichton in the corner to score, in what was a late consolation try.

Cowboys coach Paul Green was quick to praise his forwards, who set the platform in this fixture.

“I’m used to seeing it [from Taumalolo], he just does what he does and he was great tonight,” Green said.

“Jordan McLean in attack was outstanding tonight.

“I’m not sure about his stats but he had real purpose with what he wanted to do with the ball and set the tone early in the game.

Perhaps one of the most impressive was Coen Hess, who, by his own admission, had a poor 2019 season.

“Hessy has made some changes over the off-season,” Green continued.

“By his own admission, he was a bit disappointed with his season last year.

“He’s committed to putting his best foot forward this year and he’s started the season pretty well.”

Not one to shy away from picking the kids, Bulldogs coach Dean Pay said Lewis and Brandon Wakeham just need to learn how to control games.

“Tonight was a really good learning curve and a real lesson for them in what the team needs,” Pay said.

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Jason Taumalolo

2. Coen Hess

  1. Scott Drinkwater

NRL Rd 2: Canterbury Bulldogs v North Queensland Cowboys Stats Breakdown

Canterbury Bulldogs legend Hazem El Masri

Canterbury Bulldogs v North Queensland Cowboys Stats

The Canterbury Bulldogs and North Queensland Cowboys have played each other on 39 occasions; the Bulldogs have won 23 games, the Cowboys 16 games, with no draws.

The Canterbury Bulldogs won 13 of the first 15 games played between the two sides.

The North Queensland Cowboys have won six of the last eight games between the two sides, although the Bulldogs have won two of the last three.

The Cowboys have also won four of the last six games between the two sides in Sydney.

The first game played between the two sides was a 32-16 win for the Canterbury Bulldogs in round 1, 1995.

Biggest Wins

The Canterbury Bulldogs biggest win over the North Queensland Cowboys was a comprehensive 66-4 thrashing in round 22, 1995.

The North Queensland Cowboys biggest win over the Canterbury Bulldogs was an easy 48-12 success.

Former North Queensland Cowboys winger Ty Williams

Top try-scorer in this clash

Hazem El Masri (CBY) – 10
Ty Williams (NQL – 10
Rod Silva (CBY) – 8
Johnathan Thurston (CBY/NQL) – 8
Matthew Bowen (NQL) – 7
Paul Bowman (NQL) – 7
Matt Sing (NQL) – 6
Luke Patten (CBY) – 6
Willie Tonga (CBY/NQL) – 6
Ben Barba (CBY) – 6

Most prolific point-scorer in this clash

Hazem El Masri (CBY) – 10 tries & 75 goals (188 pts)
Johnathan Thurston (CBY/NQL) – 8 tries, 48 goals & 1 field goal (121 pts)
Daryl Halligan (CBY) – 3 tries & 46 goals (104 pts)
Josh Hannay (NQL) – 3 tries & 22 goals (56 pts)
Ty Williams (NQL) – 10 tries (40 pts)
Rod Silva (CBY) – 8 tries (32 pts)
Matt Bowen (NQL) – 7 tries & 2 goals (32 pts)
Trent Hodkinson (CBY) – 1 try & 10 goals (24 pts)


Players to have played for both sides from this clash

  1. Martin Bella – 1993-1994 (CBY) & 1995 (NQL)
  2. Matthew Ryan – 1990-1992 & 1994-1998 (CBY) & 1999 (NQL)
  3. Robert Relf – 1992-1999 (CBY) & 2000-2001 (NQL)
  4. Jason Smith – 1990-1995 (CBY) & 2007 (NQL)
  5. Darrien Doherty – 1995 (CBY) & 1999-2000 (NQL)
  6. Travis Norton – 1997-2003 (CBY) & 2004-2006 (NQL)
  7. Kris Tassell – 1995 (CBY) & 1996-1999 (NQL)
  8. Paul Rauhihi – 2001-2002 (CBY) & 2003-2005 (NQL)
  9. Willie Mason – 2000-2007 (CBY) & 2010 (NQL)
  10. Johnathan Thurston – 2002-2004 (CBY) & 2005-2018 (NQL)
  11. Ben Harris – 2002-2005 (CBY) & 2008-2010 (NQL)
  12. Willie Tonga – 2004-2008 (CBY) & 2009-2011 (NQL)
  13. Antonio Kaufusi – 2009-2010 (NQL) & 2015 (CBY)
  14. Glenn Hall – 2002-2003 (CBY) & 2011-2015 (NQL)
  15. Curtis Rona – 2014 (NQL) & 2015-2016 (CBY)
  16. Ben Hannant – 2009-2010 (CBY) & 2015-2016 (NQL)

Players to have sin-binned/sent-off in this clash

  1. Adrian Vowles (NQL) & Jason Smith (CBY) both sent-off in round 1, 1995.
  2. Nigel Vagana (CBY) sin-binned in round 11, 2001.
  3. Johnathan Thurston (CBY/NQL) sin-binned in round 21, 2002.
  4. Steve Price (CBY) sin-binned in the 2004 NRL Qualifying final.
  5. Brent Sherwin (CBY) sin-binned in round 22, 2006.
  6. Asipeli Fine (CBY) sin-binned in round 6, 2018.

Head coaching records

Kevin Moore (NQL) – 3/3 (100%)
Ian Millward (NQL) – 1/1 (100%)
Jim Dymock (NQL) – 1/1 (100%)
Chris Anderson (CBY) – 4/5 (80%)
Paul Green (NQL) – 6/8 (75%)
Dean Pay (CBY) – 2/3 (66.7%)
Steve Folkes (CBY) – 11/19 (57.9%)
Graham Murray (NQL) – 6/12 (50%)
Tim Sheens (NQL) – 2/8 (25%)
Des Hasler (NQL) – 2/8 (25%)
Neil Henry (NQL) – 1/7 (14.3%)
Grant Bell (NQL) – 0/2 (0%)
Graham Lowe (NQL) – 0/1 (0%)
Murray Hurst (NQL) – 0/1 (0%)

Players to have scored three or more tries in one game in this clash

  1. Rod Silva (CBY) scored three tries in round 22, 1995.
  2. Rod Silva (CBY) scored three tries in round 22, 1996.
  3. Matt Sing (NQL) scored three tries in the 2004 NRL qualifying final.
  4. Ben Barba (CBY) scored three tries in round 21, 2012.
  5. Antonio Winterstein (NQL) scored three tries in round 20, 2016.

NRL Round 2 Best Bets

NRL best bets are back in 2020. Every week, I will publish an article that will showcase some of the best bets of the round.

Let’s have a winning season and make some money.

Penrith Panthers Vs St George Illawarra Dragons

Two teams who are on opposite ends of the spectrum, Penrith are coming of a comeback win from 12-0 against the reigning premiers, and then the Dragons losing by 10 to the Tigers.

This game for the Dragons has been a microcosm for how they have played in the past few seasons,  very mediocre.  However, round one is round one, and its early days.

The Dragons still have key players injured, but will see Matt Duffy return moving Zac Lomax to the wing and Tyrell Fuimaono will replace the suspended Tariq Sims.

St George Illawarra Dragons utility Tyrell Fuimaono

For some reason, Ivan decided to start Kikau on the bench, I know puzzling.

He will start this round and will face Tyson Frizell on the left edge which will be a good clash.

The addition of Api Koroisau has immediately improved  the attack and also Nathan Cleary’s play.

Penrith’s spine could develop into one of the best in the NRL and its going to be exciting to watch.

Penrith Panthers hooker Api Koroisau

The Dragons couldn’t put away the Tigers, and when presented with attacking opportunities on the goal line, they were unable to piece together any effective set pieces.

This round, I expect the Dragons to prioritise their attack especially in the redzone and score points.

Penrith should continue their momentum from round one and come out hot, ready to blowout the Dragons. This should be a high scoring affair.

Over 38.5 (Bet-Easy)

Wests Tigers Vs Newcastle Knights

Both of these teams are going into round two 1-0.

The Tigers faced an early deficit and fought their way out to win comfortably against the Dragons and the Knights shutout the Warriors 20-0..

No injuries from either teams, just Michael Chee Kam being replaced by Paul Momirovski and Sione Mata’utia for the Knights has been named in reserves coming back from a knee injury.

Wests Tigers back-rower Luciano Leilua

I think both sides were disappointing in round one.

The Tigers missed Luke Brooks in attack and looked clunky especially in set pieces.

Benji Marshall carried the Tigers attack, and had his hand in most of the Tigers points against the Dragons.

I don’t expect Marshall to be able to maintain this level of play round to round.

The Knights won easily against a bad Warriors team, however the Knights missed a lot of opportunities and probably could have beat the Warriors by 40.

Newcastle Knights fullback Kalyn Ponga

With that said, a win is win, but you shouldn’t judge the Knights on  a below average win against the worst team in the NRL.

I like the Knights here, just because I think the Tigers look incomplete on attack and they won’t be playing in front of their fans at Leichhardt.

I am  more confident that this game will be low scoring and points will be a rare commodity.

Under 41.5 (Points Bet)

Knights Win

Rabbitohs Vs Broncos

One of the best coaching battles in the NRL, Anthony Seibold vs Wayne Bennett.

This has been a rivalry that has been brewing in the past years and is a key talking point heading into this game.

Brisbane Broncos coach Anthony Seibold

The angst between both coaching is reflected in the play, as both teams want to win for their coach.

Bennett has the upper hand on Seibold as the Rabbitohs were able to beat the Broncos in both match ups.

Broncos were victorious in the Queensland derby against the Cowboys, and the Rabbitohs beat the Sharks by eight points.

Both of these teams played well in round one, showing that they are both going to be hard for teams to handle.

The Rabbitohs have no changes to their team for round two.

The Broncos will be out without Tevita Pangai facing a four week suspension, and Alex Glenn is expected to miss one more round with a hamstring injury.

Brisbane Broncos halfback Brodie Croft

The Broncos have seen key players like Lodge and Bird fall victim to injury in the off-season.

While these are big losses, it doesn’t affect them as much as it would other teams because of the large amount of talent and depth within the Broncos.

Brodie Croft has been a good addition and has taken allot of the important decisions out of Milford’s hands, which will give the Broncos a greater chance of winning.

They have more composure  on attack and an effective kicking game.

Having  a cool, calm and collected player like Croft brings more structure in attack and direction in the tail end of games.

Brisbane Broncos five-eighth Anthony Milford

This has been the Broncos weakness, and this addition has helped to address this.

The Broncos strengths are in the middle, and I expect this game to be won in the forwards.

For the Rabbitohs to win, they will need players like Liam Knight and Tevita Tatola to be able to contain the young and strong Broncos pack.

Bennett can always get his players up for big games, especially against his nemesis.

The Rabbitohs forwards will be eager to step up and take it to the Broncos forwards.

This game will be played in the middle and between both twenties. Its going to be all about possession and mistakes.


Which team can be composed and cool headed in high pressure situations?

The Rabbitohs have more experience in their halves  and in a close game this will be a difference maker.

I also believe that Wayne Bennett is better then Seibold schematically and in motivating his players.

Rabbitohs win 

NRL Round 2 preview

Canterbury Bulldogs captain and back-rower Josh Jackson

Canterbury Bulldogs v North Queensland Cowboys @ ANZ Stadium

This game of Rugby League to open round 2 on Thursday night will be like no other.

The Bulldogs and Cowboys run out onto an empty ANZ Stadium with games from this weekend to be played without fans in attendance for the first time in the game’s 112 year history.

Both teams are coming off first up losses in round one.

The Bulldogs went down to the Eels in a low scoring arm wrestle and the Cowboys going down to the Broncos in their Queensland derby despite a late fightback in the first game at their new stadium.

After missing the top eight last season, respective coaches Dean Pay and Paul Green will be drumming home the importance of getting in the winner’s circle this week.

Canterbury Bulldogs youngster Jake Averillo

TEAM NEWS: Just one change for the Bulldogs this week with Kerrod Holland being ruled out with a knee injury and rookie outside back Jake Averillo named to make his NRL debut via the bench.

A positive inclusion for the Cowboys with Origin forward Josh McGuire named to return from injury and a suspension which carried over from the end of last year.

McGuire will run out in the front-row pushing John Asiata to the pine and Corey Jensen out of the side.

KEY MATCH-UP: Dallin Watene-Zelezniak v Valentine Holmes

With both teams struggling to generate any quality attack for most of their round one matches, it could be one of these two all-action ball runners that proves the difference on Thursday night.

Watene-Zelezniak was one of the Bulldogs best last week with 198 metres, 6 tackle busts and a line-break.

Canterbury Bulldogs fullback Dallin Watene-Zelezniak

Holmes had a bit of a mixed bag last week with a try, try-assist and 181 metres, whilst making a couple of errors and at times seemingly limping on his ankle.

That being his first game back from 12 months out of the game, he’s sure to be better for the run this week.

RECENT HISTORY: The Cowboys hold a slight 3-2 edge in the last five played including a 15-8 victory at home the last time they met. Kyle Feldt and Coen Hess have both crossed for three tries in their last five matches against the Bulldogs.

St George Illawarra Dragons v Penrith Panthers @ Netstrata Jubilee Stadium

After opening their season with a loss despite holding a halftime lead at Win Stadium on Sunday night, the Dragons would have been buoyed at the prospect of playing at their other spiritual home this week.

But, of course, that will now hold little significance in an empty stadium.

St George Illawarra Dragons utility back Zac Lomax

The Red V will have their work cut out for them bouncing back as they run into a Panthers team who were very impressive in downing the defending premiers at the foot of the mountains first up.

Panthers Coach Ivan Cleary will be confident heading into this one but also wary that consistency will be key to how his team’s season unfolds in 2020.

TEAM NEWS: Winger Mikaele Ravalawa has been ruled out after picking up a knock on his thigh last Sunday night.

Zac Lomax shifts to the wing and Matt Dufty getting another crack at the Red V number one jersey.

Tariq Sims copped a one match suspension for a high shot with Tyrell Fuimaono starting in the second-row and Jacob Host joining the bench.

Penrith Panthers back-rower Viliame Kikau

After starting from the bench last week, Viliame Kikau has been named to start again switching places with Liam Martin.

Despite an impressive win last week, the Panthers have further re-jigged their back-row with James Fisher-Harris named at lock and Isaah Yeo in the second-row with Kikau.

The final change for the mountain men sees Billy Burns join the interchange in place of the suspended Jack Hetherington.

KEY MATCH-UP: Ben Hunt v Nathan Cleary

Expect the battle of the number sevens to prove pivotal here.

Hunt had a self-confessed disappointing opening to his season missing 5 tackles as well as a couple of errors.

St George Illawarra Dragons half Ben Hunt

This included a shocker of a kick which sprayed off the side of his boot, well over the side-line on the full.

Despite an off night, he still showed glimpses of his class and will be looking to swiftly bounce back with a strong showing here.

Cleary seemed to relish the responsibility of this now being his football team after the departure of James Maloney and steered the ship perfectly for his men last week.

Kicked well all night and laid on the match-winner taking the line on before offloading for big Viliame Kikau to score.

RECENT HISTORY: The Dragons hold a slight 3-2 lead in the last five, but the Panthers have won their last two against the Dragons by a combined margin of 48.

Brisbane Broncos v South Sydney Rabbitohs @ Suncorp Stadium

One of last year’s biggest talking points and most hyped matches was when Anthony Seibold and Wayne Bennett’s charges locked horns after the two coaches switched clubs in the lead-up to season 2019.

That moment in time ensures there should be plenty of feeling whenever these two clash in the near future.

Both teams are coming off strong performances to open their campaign.

Brisbane Broncos back-rower David Fifita

The Broncos scored an impressive victory over North Queensland with young tyros Payne Haas and David Fifita again living up to the hype and they could well end up being one of the best forward pack duos seen in recent times.

The Rabbitohs were dominant for much of their win over the Sharks but will need to notch a strong 80 minutes here after letting the Sharks back into the contest in the final quarter last week.

TEAM NEWS: With Tevita Pangai Junior to sit out the next four weeks after being suspended, rookie forward Jamil Hopoate gets a chance to start in the second-row.

Skipper Alex Glenn still appears to be at least another week away from returning.

Young prop Ethan Bullemor will debut from the bench.

South Sydney Coach Wayne Bennett has named an unchanged 17.

Brisbane Broncos prop Payne Haas

KEY MATCH-UP: Payne Haas v Liam Knight

Despite running out in different positions on the team sheet, these two impressive young forwards both ply their trade through the middle third and will see plenty of each other come Friday night.

Unsurprisingly, Haas was simply brilliant in the opening game of the season running for 213 metres whilst busting 7 tackles in an 80 minute performance.

He looks set to back up his stellar breakout season from last year.

Moving to the back of the scrum this year, Knight was also impressive to open the season playing with plenty of physicality and showing the ability to offload in traffic.

South Sydney Rabbitohs prop Liam Knight

He also came up with a monster hit late in the contest to force the ball free from the Sharks when all the momentum was going against his team.

Expecting him to take the fight right up to Haas and co in what should be a ripping battle through the middle.

RECENT HISTORY: In last year’s battle of the coaches, it was the wily old Bennett who gained the upper hand winning both encounters.

Bronco’s winger Corey Oates has crossed the stripe on six occasions in his last five games against the Bunnies.

New Zealand Warriors v Canberra Raiders @ Cbus Super Stadium

Unable to return home due to New Zealand’s self-isolation laws enforced on people re-entering the country amidst COVID-19, the Warriors have setup camp in Kingscliff this week and will call the Gold Coast home for this match.

After a disappointing on-field showing going down to the Knights last Saturday, life got a whole lot more complicated for the Warriors.

Unless they can band together and forge some level of siege mentality, they’ll find it tough coming up against last year’s grand finalists.

New Zealand Warriors fullback and captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

The Raiders looked strong in downing the Titans in round one and will be looking to put the foot on the pedal here as they continue to build off their strong season last year.

TEAM NEWS: With Patrick Herbert and Peta Hiku flying home to New Zealand to be with their families, Adam Pompey and Adam Keighran come into the side at wing and centre respectively.

After impressing off the bench on debut last week, Eliesa Katoa has earned a run-on jersey on an edge which sees Adam Blair move to lock and Isaiah Papali’i to the bench.

No real changes for the green machine with Corey Horsburgh to suit up at lock and Joseph Tapine on an edge. They played those roles last week despite being named the other way around.

Canberrra Raiders fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad

KEY MATCH-UP: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck v Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad

If ever there was a game a skipper needed to stand up and lead from the front, it’s this game and it wouldn’t surprise to see an RTS masterclass this week.

He didn’t get many chances in attack last week as his halves failed to pose too many questions with the ball in hand.

You would expect him to take the game by the scruff of the neck and call a lot more ball himself this week.

After sitting behind the New Zealand fullback for years at the Warriors, Nicoll-Klokstad enjoyed a breakout year in 2019 and proved a vital cog in the green machine’s march to the grand final.

Canberra Raiders forward Josh Papalii

He didn’t get off to the best of starts in 2020 after going off and failing to pass a HIA late in the first half.

He will be looking to bounce back with a strong showing against his former club on Saturday.

RECENT HISTORY: The Warriors hold a 3-2 lead in their last five including an upset 24-20 victory in Canberra in the penultimate round last year.

Raiders prop Josh Papalii has scored a try in each of his last three appearances against the Warriors.

Sydney Roosters v Manly Sea Eagles @ Leichhardt Oval

Two of the more fancied teams in this year’s competition will both be looking to bounce back from first up losses in the second installment of Super Saturday.

The back-to-back defending champions fell at the hands of the Panthers in a tough fought contest.

The Sea Eagles also played out a hard tussle with the Storm for most of the contest before failing to match strides with their arch rivals in the final quarter.

Sydney Roosters fullback James Tedesco

It will be a rare occasion with the Roosters running out onto the Tigers home ground from the home sheds and will be a strange feeling for former Tiger James Tedesco in particular.

TEAM NEWS: Sitili Tupouniua is out after a picking up a knee injury in round one. Angus Crichton returns to take his place in the second-row.

Manly will line up with the same 17 that went down to the Storm last week.

KEY MATCH-UP: James Tedesco v Tom Trbojevic

Teddy versus Turbo – What a mouth-watering match-up between two of the attacking stars of the premiership.

The New South Wales team mates go head to head after having somewhat quiet performances in round one – at least by their high standards.

Manly Sea Eagles fullback Tom Trbojevic

Neither managed to notch an attacking stat last week and it’s hard to recall a time either player has had two games like that in a row. Look for an attacking masterclass by both men in this one.

RECENT HISTORY: The Roosters hold a 3-2 lead in the last five played including coming out victorious in the last three encounters.

Cronulla Sharks v Melbourne Storm @ Netstrata Jubilee Stadium

The Sharks will host their first home game at Kogarah on Saturday night against bitter rivals Melbourne.

This shapes as a new chapter in their recent rivalry following the retirement of club stalwart Paul Gallen.

Cronulla Sharks coach John Morris

A bit slow out of the blocks to start the season, coach John Morris’ men will be looking to quickly build off a second half comeback against the Rabbitohs where they came within four points of notching an unlikely win.

They run into a Storm outfit who’ve barely missed a beat again over the off-season.

Craig Bellamy’s charges played out a tough opening 60 minutes against Manly away from home before putting the foot down late to overpower their opposition.

TEAM NEWS: Both the Sharks and Storm have named the same 17 as last week.

Cronulla Sharks prop Andrew Fifita

KEY MATCH-UP: Andrew Fifita v Jesse Bromwich

Ever since the 2016 grand final when both men crossed the stripe for second half tries, these two bookends have played a key hand in their team’s chances in what has been an intense rivalry between the two clubs.

Fifita has reportedly been strong with his leadership during the off-season but on the field he looked well short of a gallop in the opening round as he struggled to get through just 39 minutes.

He’ll need to lift a couple of gears if the Sharks are to cause an upset here.

Melbourne Storm prop Jesse Bromwich

Bromwich meanwhile looked typically strong against the Sea Eagles as he ran for 184 metres with 3 offloads.

He’ll be looking to get one over his old foe in this one.

RECENT HISTORY: The Sharks hold the advantage in the last five with a 3-2 advantage. All of them clashes have been tight affairs except for their last match when the Storm ran out comfortable 40-16 victors.

TIGERS v KNIGHTS @ Leichhardt Oval

This won’t have the same Sunday afternoon at Leichhardt feels it normally would, but it still looms as an intriguing contest between two first round winners who look to be on the up in 2020.

The Tigers showed plenty of promise with a squad that looked to have plenty of attack in them as they downed the Dragons in Wollongong on Sunday night despite the absence of halfback Luke Brooks.

The Knights also looked the goods in their season opener with a shutout victory over the Warriors built on the back of an off-season where defence and mental toughness were high on the agenda.

Wests Tigers veteran half Benji Marshall

TEAM NEWS: Just the one change for the home team with Paul Momirovski named in place of Michael Chee Kam on the bench.

The Knights will go in unchanged.

KEY MATCH-UP: Benji Marshall v Mitchell Pearce

These two experienced halves are pushing 600 top grade appearances between them and they are both sure to play pivotal roles in the outcome of this one.

In the absence of the Tigers regular number seven, Benji put in an absolute masterclass of halfback play to steer his side home last week.

He scored a try and set two up but it was the wizardry of his short kicking game that proved vital forcing repeat sets at will as he built pressure on the Dragons defensive line.

Newcastle Knights halfback and captain Mitchell Pearce

Pearce led from the front in the Knights first up win with his long kicking game and the willingness to put his body on the line defensively key to their success.

He will know he needs to lift his 5th tackle options when in the Tigers half to match the brilliance of his opposite on Sunday with that area being one of the few negatives in the Knights game in round one.

RECENT HISTORY: The Tigers hold a 4-1 advantage in the last five including a thumping 46-4 victory late last season which was the final nail in the coffin of former Coach Nathan Brown’s tenure in the Hunter.

TITANS v EELS @ Cbus Super Stadium

In the final match of a historic round 2, last year’s wooden spooners host the team many are tipping for a serious premiership tilt this year.

It was ominous signs early in round one for the Titans as their defence let in a couple of rapid fire tries.

They at least showed a bit of resolve to not let the score-line blowout too much against the Raiders and will be looking for a better opening to this contest.

Parramatta Eels winger Blake Ferguson

The Eels got the job done in the season opener, but look to have a lot more work to do as they only notched the one try against the Bulldogs.

It was a good hit-out against a physical Canterbury pack last week and they should be a lot better for that outing.

TEAM NEWS: Brian Kelly has been named in the centres switching places with Tyrone Peachey who drops to the bench.

Moeaki Fotuaika has been named to return from injury via the bench replacing rookie forward Jaimin Jolliffe.

Gold Coast Titans centre Brian Kelly

The Eels have named the same 17 that accounted for the Bulldogs in round one.

KEY MATCH-UP: Jai Arrow v Nathan Brown

These two lock forwards both lead from the front on a consistent basis for their packs and play with a high work rate and physical nature that many can’t match.

Both with the ability to bust a tackle and offload make this an enticing battle through the middle.

RECENT HISTORY: The Eels have won the last three between these sides by an average margin of 20 points.

Gold Coast Titans lock Jai Arrow

Fantasy Watch Round 2

With round one done and dusted, fantasy coaches are now in the midst of assessing many members of their 21 man squad.

As we weigh up whether to burn early trades or sit tight for another week, we see if players who were a little underwhelming in round one can bounce back with a decent round two score.

One thing to consider with trades in mind is what effect COVID-19 could have on the fantasy season.

As it stands right now, the footy will go on, but that could change at any second.

When considering trades, be sure to have the casualty ward handy, particularly if you’re looking at a player whose covering for another injured player.

Wests Tigers forward Zane Musgrove

If the competition was suspended for any amount of time, it could effectively change the round that player is due back in. Eg:

Hypothetically, if the comp was to go on hold for two months and a player was listed to return in round 9, by the time the comp re-started that player would be ready to go again and you may well have burned a trade.

Anyway, enough about the crazy world we’re currently living in.

Let’s have a look at who’s in the firing line, ones to whack on your watch list and my base stats buys of the week.


Zane Musgrove – With just 26 minutes of game time and a score of 13, Musgrove who is owned by 17.3% of coaches could be one to consider giving the hook.

He still has a break even of 20 so still is every chance of making some money but there’s certainly a few other cheap options that look more likely to gain you some early increases based on the evidence of round one.

Warriors forwards Eliesa Katoa and Jamayne Taunoa-Brown and Shark Toby Rudolf could be ones to have a look at as alternatives.

Brayden Wiliame – With many of his 26.6% of owners starting him in the tricky centre position, Wiliame’s lowly 16 points counted to their overall score.

He still carries the same break even of 17 and is only a try or 2 away from gaining some price rises so is probably a hold for now – at least until a better option comes along.

St George Illawarra Dragons utility back Brayden Wiliame

Warriors winger Adam Pompey is perhaps the only other option in the same price bracket but he only averaged 17 fantasy points in his five games last year.

Joe Stimson – With a score of 24 in 69 minutes of game time, Stimson is one to consider parting ways with early on, especially if he’s used in your starting 17.

He’s been named to start again this week so is still a chance of notching you a solid score and making some cash with his break even still at 29.

Has showed fantasy promise in the past but it’s probably worth considering he was getting amongst the tries at times playing at the Storm.


Latrell Mitchell – The one player I’d be absolutely looking to offload if he was in my squad this week is Mitchell.

The 16.3% of coaches who took the punt on him hitting the ground running this season were left sadly disappointed as he scored just 14 and was taken off after just 55 minutes by Coach Wayne Bennett.

South Sydney Rabbitohs fullback Latrell Mitchell

There’s obviously a plan to ease him into the custodian role and it’s unclear at this stage how long it will be before he’s playing out the 80 again.

Sitting on a price tag of 624k and a break even of 66, I’d be getting him out now to free up space in your cap.


Named to start in the second-row this week, both Jamil Hopoate 231k and Tyrell Fuimaono 252k would have raised a few eyebrows when coaches were reading the team sheets this week.

Hopoate gets his chance for the suspended Tevita Pangai Jr but be prepared for Broncos skipper Alex Glenn to come into his position next week.

Similar story at the Dragons with Fuimaono filling in for Tariq Sims who will serve a one game suspension.

Brisbane Broncos forward Jamil Hopoate

Both are capable of making more money off the bench particularly if they post a big score this week.

Just don’t buy them anticipating they’ll be part of your scoring 17 beyond this round.


After a solid score of 43 at fullback, Zac Lomax has unfortunately been named on the wing to cover for the injured Mikaele Ravalawa with Matt Dufty getting another chance at the back.

The ultimate scenario here is Lomax moving back to fullback next week when Ravalawa returns.

There’s always the chance of course Dufty has a cracking game and retains his place but even so, with a break even of 17 Lomax is a hold for this week.


One of the golden rules in fantasy is to never get excited by one good week, but there’s certainly a few worth keeping your eye on this week.

Isaah Yeo 2RF
Base stats 74

Played through the middle in an 80 minute performance last week where he made 33 tackles, ran for 170 metres and busted 7 tackles.

Yeo is well priced at 595k and has a break even of 11 which almost make him a buy right now.

The only thing holding me back at this stage is the fact he’s been named to shift back onto an edge this week.

Penrith Panthers back-rower Isaah Yeo

Last week, James Fisher-Harris started on an edge and has been named at lock this week.

It’s hard to see why Ivan Cleary would tinker with a winning formula that saw his team down the defending premiers so it will be interesting to see where they play once the game kicks off.

Jesse Bromwich FRF
Base stats 50

A former fantasy gun who has been disappointing in the last few seasons for fantasy scores but could he be ready to recapture his best?

Scored 50 in round one all in base stats and with a price of 554K and a break even of 28, he could turn into a solid mid-range option if he can continue to produce the numbers he did last week.

George Williams HLF
Base stats 56

This English half’s style of game always looked suited to fantasy but his awkward price and the unknown of how he’d adapt to the NRL held most coaches back heading into round one, but after a very impressive 64 he’s certainly one to consider.

Busted five tackles on the weekend showcasing his willingness to run the footy, with his 29 tackles and 206 kick metres providing valuable points to his total.


David Fifita 2RF
Base stats 64

If you weren’t one of the 42% who started with this devastating back-rower in round one, you’ll want to get on now before his price tag skyrockets.

With 150 metres and 8 tackle busts, the all action running forward is sure to post plenty of big numbers this season, even when he’s not scoring 70 metre solo tries!

Brisbane Broncos back-rower David Fifita

His price of 717K is still unders but a break even of 28 means his price will continue to soar in the coming weeks.

Corey Horsburgh FRF/2RF
Base stats 59

After being named to start on an edge last week, Horsburgh ended up playing through the middle third.

Joseph Tapine instead played the edge role and they have been named to start that way again this week.

A solid work ethic in tackles and run metres means he has a strong base.

Canberra Raiders forward Corey Horsburgh

He also has the ability to post consistent offloads and tackle busts which are keys to the best fantasy forwards posting strong scores.

Priced at 499K with a break even of 15, he looks set to make some nice coin in the coming weeks.

The only possible negative is the return of John Bateman to the Raiders pack in a month or so.

I’m willing to take the punt he holds the 13 jersey with Tapine the man to make way when the Englishman returns.

NRL Teams Rd 2

Games might be behind closed doors but the show must go on! It’s NRL Teams Rd 2 and there’s plenty to prove in the early stages. 

Some teams fought hard for their wins, others won comprehensively.

The key is to find the level of consistency that keeps you up near the top of the ladder.

So here we go; teams for round 2 of the NRL Telstra Premiership:

Canterbury Bulldogs v North Queensland Cowboys (#NRLcbynql); ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park; Thursday, May 19. Kick-off: 8:05 pm. 

Bulldogs: 1. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 2. Nick Meaney 3. Reimis Smith 4. Will Hopoate 5. Christian Crichton 6. Brandon Wakeham 7. Lachlan Lewis 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Dylan Napa 11. Josh Jackson (C) 12. Joe Stimson 13. Adam Elliott.

Interchange: 14. Dean Britt 15. Renouf To’Omaga 16. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 17. Jake Averillo.

Reserves: 19. Ofahiki Ogden 20. Morgan Harper 21. Sione Katoa 22. Jack Cogger.

Coach: Dean Pay.

Cowboys: 1. Valentine Holmes 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Justin O’Neill 4. Esan Marsters 5. Ben Hampton 6. Scott Drinkwater 7. Michael Morgan (C) 8. Josh McGuire 9. Jake Granville 10. Jordan McLean 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Coen Hess 13. Jason Taumalolo.

Interchange: 14. Reece Robson 15. John Asiata 16. Mitchell Dunn 17. Francis Molo.

Reserves: 18. Corey Jensen 19. Shane Wright 20. Tom Opacic 21. Jake Clifford.

Coach: Paul Green

St George Illawarra Dragons v Penrith Panthers (#NRLsgipen); Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Sydney; Friday, May 20. Kick-off: 6 pm.

Dragons: 1. Matthew Dufty 2. Jordan Pereira 3. Brayden Wiliame 4. Tim Lafai 5. Zac Lomax 6. Corey Norman 7. Ben Hunt 8. James Graham 9. Issac Luke 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Tyrell Fuimaono 13. Blake Lawrie.

Interchange: 14. Trent Merrin 15. Josh Kerr 16. Billy Brittain 17. Jacob Host.

Reserves: 18. Jackson Ford 19. Adam Clune 20. Euan Aitken 21. Tristan Sailor.

Coach: Paul McGregor.

Panthers: 1. Caleb Aekins 2. Josh Mansour 3. Dean Whare 4. Brent Naden 5. Brian To’o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. James Tamou 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Zane Tetevano 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Isaah Yeo 13. James Fisher-Harris.

Interchange: 14. Stephen Crichton 15. Billy Burns 16. Moses Leota 17. Liam Martin

Reserves: 18. Matt Burton 19. Jed Cartwright 20. Kaide Ellis 21. Mitch Kenny.

Coach: Ivan Cleary

Brisbane Broncos v South Sydney Rabbitohs (#NRLbrisou); Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane; Friday, May 20. Kick-off: 8:05 pm (AEDT).

Broncos: 1. Jamayne Isaako 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Darius Boyd 5. Jesse Arthars 6. Anthony Milford 7. Brodie Croft (C) 8. Thomas Flegler 9. Jake Turpin 10. Payne Haas 11. David Fifita 12. Jamil Hopoate 13. Patrick Carrigan (C).

Interchange: 14. Herbie Farnworth 15. Andrew McCullough 16. Rhys Kennedy 17. Ethan Bullemor.

Reserves: 18. Xavier Coates 19. Tesi Niu 20. Thomas Dearden 21. Pride Petterson-Robati.

Coach: Anthony Seibold

Rabbitohs: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Dane Gagai 3. James Roberts 4. Braidon Burns 5. Campbell Graham 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds (C) 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Jaydn Su’A 12. Cameron Murray 13. Liam Knight

Interchange: 14. Mark Nicholls 15. Ethan Lowe 16. Hame Sele 17. Alex Johnston.

Reserves: 18. Bryson Goodwin 19. Bayley Sironen 20. Troy Dargan 21. Keaon Koloamatangi.

Coach: Wayne Bennett

New Zealand Warriors v Canberra Raiders (#NRLwarcan); Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast; Saturday, May 21. Kick-off: 3 pm (AEDT).

Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (C) 2. Adam Pompey 3. David Fusitu’a 4. Adam Keighran 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Chanel Harris-Tavita 7. Blake Green 8. Leesoh Ah Mau 9. Wayde Egan 10. Lachlan Burr 11. Eliesa Katoa 12. Tohu Harris 13. Adam Blair.

Interchange: 14. Kodi Nikorima 15. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 16. Isaiah Papali’i 17. King Vuniyayawa.

Reserves: 18. Karl Lawton 20 Hayze Perham 21. Leivaha Pulu 22. Adam Tuimavave-Gerrard.

Coach: Stephen Kearney

Raiders: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Bailey Simonsson 3. Jarrod Croker (C) 4. Curtis Scott 5. Nick Cotric 6. Jack Wighton 7. George Williams 8. Josh Papalii 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Dunamis Lui 11. Joseph Tapine 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Corey Horsburgh.

Interchange: 14. Siliva Havili 15. Emre Guler 16. Iosia Soliola 17. Michael Oldfield.

Reserves: 18. Sam Williams 19. Ryan Sutton 20. Harley Smith-Shields 21. Tom Starling.

Coach: Ricky Stuart

Sydney Roosters v Manly Sea Eagles (#NRLsydman); Leichhardt Oval; Saturday, May 21. Kick-off: 5:30 pm. 

Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Brett Morris 4. Joseph Manu 5. Matt Ikuvalu 6. Luke Keary 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend (C) 10. Sio Siua Taukeiaho 11. Angus Crichton 12. Mitch Aubusson 13. Victor Radley.

Interchange: 14. Sam Verrills 15. Isaac Liu 16. Nat Butcher 17. Lindsay Collins.

Reserves: 18. Daniel Fifita 19. Poasa Faamausili 20. Lachlan Lam 21. Asa Kepaoa.

Coach: Trent Robinson.

Manly: 1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Brad Parker 4. Moses Suli 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Dylan Walker 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Danny Levi 10. Martin Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic.

Interchange: 14. Lachlan Croker 15. Sean Keppie 16. Morgan Boyle 17. Haumole Olakau’atu.

Reserves: 18. Toafofoa Sipley 19. Brendan Elliott 20. Tevita Funa 21. Zac Saddler.

Coach: Des Hasler.

Cronulla Sharks v Melbourne Storm (#NRLcromel); Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Sydney; Saturday, May 21. Kick-off: 7:30 pm.

Sharks: 1. William Kennedy 2. Sione Katoa 3. Josh Morris 4. Jesse Ramien 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Shaun Johnson 7. Chad Townsend 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Aaron Woods 11. Briton Nikora 12. Wade Graham (C) 13. Jack Williams.

Interchange: 14. Connor Tracey 15. Braden Hamlin-Uele 16. Toby Rudolf 17. Scott Sorenson.

Reserves: 18. Billy Magoulias 19. Brayden Trindall 20. Royce Hunt 21. Josh Dugan.

Reserves: John Morris

Storm: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Marion Seve 4. Justin Olam 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith (C) 10. Tui Kamikamica 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Dale Finucane.

Interchange: 14. Tino Faasuamaleaui 15. Max King 16. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 17. Tom Eisenhuth.

Reserves: 18. Harry Grant 19. Brenko Lee 20. Ryley Jacks 21. Darryn Schonig.

Coach: Craig Bellamy.

Wests Tigers v Newcastle Knights (#NRLwstnew); Leichhardt Oval; Sunday, May 22. Kick-off: 4 pm. 

Tigers: 1. Corey Thompson 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Joey Leilua 4. Adam Doueihi 5. Robert Jennings 6. Benji Marshall (C) 7. Josh Reynolds 8. Josh Aloiai 9. Billy Walters 10. Alex Twal 11. Luke Garner 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Elijah Taylor.

Interchange: 14. Thomas Mikaele 15. Paul Momirovski 16. Zane Musgrove 17. Chris Lawrence.

Reserves: 18. Michael Chee-Kam 19. Oliver Clark 20. Matthew Eisenhuth 21. Tommy Talau.

Coach: Michael Maguire.

Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Edrick Lee 3. Enari Tuala 4. Gehamat Shibasaki 5. Hymel Hunt 6. Kurt Mann 7. Mitch Pearce (C) 8. David Klemmer 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 12. Mitchell Barnett 13. Herman Ese’ese.

Interchange: 14. Connor Watson 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Tim Glasby 17. Aidan Guerra.

Reserves: 18. Pasami Saulo 19. Starford To’A 20. Mason Lino 21. Sione Mata’utia.

Coach: Adam O’Brien

Gold Coast Titans v Parramatta Eels (#NRLgldpar); Cbus Super Stadium, Robina; Sunday, May 22. Kick-off: 6:05 pm (AEDT).

Titans: 1. Philip Sami 2. Anthony Don 3. Kallum Watkins 4. Brian Kelly 5. Dale Copley 6. Tyrone Roberts 7. Ash Taylor 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Mitch Rein 10. Sam Lisone 11. Kevin Proctor (C) 12. Bryce Cartwright 13. Jai Arrow.

Interchange: 14. Nathan Peats 15. Jai Whitbread 16. Tyrone Peachey 17. Moeaki Fotuaika.

Reserves: 18. Jaimin Jolliffe 19. Sam Stone 20. Shannon Boyd 21. Alexander Brimson.

Coach: Justin Holbrook

Eels: 1. Clint Gutherson (C) 2. Maika Sivo 3. Michael Jennings 4. Waqa Blake 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitch Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Ryan Matterson 12. Shaun Lane 13. Nathan Brown.

Interchange: 14. Brad Takairangi 15. Marata Niukore 16. Kane Evans 17. Peni Terepo.

Reserves: 18. David Gower 19. Ray Stone 20. Oregon Kaufusi 21. George Jennings.

Coach: Brad Arthur.


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