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NRL Round 10 preview (Part 1)

The Panthers are destined for greatness. Eventually.(AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)
Roar Guru
10th May, 2016
2
2535 Reads

After a successful representative round, NRL club football is back with some intriguing fixtures in store. Here is part 1 of our weekly NRL preview.

The first half of round 10 sees the Dragons do battle with the Raiders while the Eels will play for the first time since their proposed punishment for breaching the salary cap was handed down when they meet with Souths.

NRL football will also head across the ditch with the Panthers hosting the Warriors in Wellington while Melbourne will take on the Cowboys in a top-of-the-table clash at Suncorp Stadium.

NRL Round 10:
» NRL Thursday Night Forecast: Dragons vs Raiders
» Round preview Part 2
» Nathan Peats the sacrificial Eel as points matter to Parra

St George Illawarra Dragons versus Canberra Raiders
Thursday, May 12, 7:50pm (AEST) at UOW Jubilee Oval

The Dragons and Raiders will kick off Round 10 of the NRL when the two sides clash in Kogarah.

After losing in their last NRL game to the Warriors on the back of more than a month of travel and heavy losses, the Dragons have had a week off and will be looking to settle back in at home.

However, they will be severely disadvantaged with star lock Jack de Belin out for six weeks with a shoulder injury after a stellar start to the season for the Cootamundra junior who has proved himself as the Dragons’ best forward.

He is replaced by Joel Thompson while Tim Lafai joins him in the side replacing Adam Quinlan. Jake Marketo has been named on an extended bench.

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After going down by a point to the Panthers in Round 9, Ricky Stuart’s Raiders will be hell-bent on getting back in the winner’s circle.

Stuart has named an unchanged side from their meeting with Penrith after a host of players participated in last week’s representative round including skipper Jarrod Croker, Jack Wighton, Shannon Boyd, Paul Vaughan (Country), Aidan Sezer (City), Josh Papalii (Australia) and Kurt Baptiste (Papua New Guinea).

After deciding not to travel to Tamworth to play for City Origin in their annual clash with Country, Blake Austin will be the key for the Raiders with the enigmatic half needing to prove himself with Laurie Daley to select his New South Wales Blues State of Origin team in the coming weeks.

Austin must involve the Green Machine’s big forward pack most of whom have been well rested and will be ready to assert their dominance against the Red V.

Since 1998, the two sides have met a total of 26 times with the Raiders winning the majority of games with 16 victories to the Dragons’ 9 while one match has been drawn.

Canberra and St George Illawarra clashed twice in 2015 with the Red V winning on both occasions including a 22-20 win in Canberra during Round 3 and a 32-18 win in round 10 at Wollongong.

Prediction
Canberra will put on a show in Kogarah and continue their strong start to 2016 with a win over the Dragons.

Raiders by 10.

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What you need to know:
Kickoff: 7:50pm (AEST)
Venue: UOW Jubilee Oval
TV: Live, Nine Network and Fox Sports
Last meeting: Dragons defeated Raiders 32-18 (Round 10, 2015)
Head-to-head: 26 played – Dragons 9, Raiders 16
Dragons last three games: 10-26 versus Warriors, 20-18 versus Roosters, 19-14 versus Titans
Raiders last three games: 18-19 versus Panthers, 60-6 versus Wests Tigers, 16-40 versus Sharks

St George Illawarra Dragons
1. Josh Dugan, 2. Kalifa Faifai Loa, 3. Euan Aitken, 4. Timoteo Lafai, 5. Jason Nightingale, 6. Gareth Widdop (c), 7. Benji Marshall, 8. Leeson Ah Mau, 9. Mitch Rein, 10. Mike Cooper, 11. Tyson Frizell, 12. Joel Thompson, 13. Will Matthews
Interchange: 14. Russell Packer, 15. Dunamis Lui, 16. Siliva Havili, 17. Jacob Host, 19. Jake Marketo

Canberra Raiders
1. Jack Wighton, 2. Edrick Lee, 3. Jarrod Croker (c), 4. Joseph Leilua, 5. Jordan Rapana, 6. Blake Austin, 7. Aidan Sezer, 8. Shannon Boyd, 9. Josh Hodgson, 10. Paul Vaughan, 11. Josh Papalii, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. Shaun Fensom
Interchange: 14. Kurt Baptiste, 15. Luke Bateman, 16. Clay Priest, 17. Joseph Tapine

Canberra Raiders player Blake Austin

Parramatta Eels versus South Sydney Rabbitohs
Friday, May 13, 7:50pm (AEST) at Pirtek Stadium

After a nightmarish week, the Eels will face the horror of playing the South Sydney Rabbitohs on Friday the 13th in what will no doubt be a great game.

Parramatta will be determined to turn up the heat against Souths as they look to salvage their season requiring to win 12 of their next 15 games to make the finals after they were stripped of 12 points for breaching the salary cap.

Many rumours over who the Eels will let go of are currently flying around with Nathan Peats the latest victim of media reports, but he won’t be the only one needing to play for a contract with almost every member of their squad under pressure to play well with the possibility of losing their place at the club looming.

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Coach Brad Arthur has made one change to his side that beat the Bulldogs in round 9 with Tepai Moeroa replacing skipper Tim Mannah while Kieran Foran remains out with the star playmaker targeting a Round 11 return against Melbourne.

Souths coach Michael Maguire has made a number of changes to his side with the Rabbitohs deprived of a win since Round 5 when they scraped past Manly 16-12 at Brookvale Oval.

Alex Johnston returns for the first time since Round 3 and will wear the no. 1 jersey with Greg Inglis shifting to five-eighth at the expense of Luke Keary who drops to the bench.

It means Cameron McInnes will play at starting hooker at the expense of Damien Cook who drops out of the side.

Meanwhile, Paul Carter returns from suspension in place of Chris Grevsmuhl while Jason Clark comes onto the bench with Nathan Brown moving to prop and David Tyrrell and Patrice Siolo dropping out of the side.

Jack Gosiewski is in the frame for his NRL debut being named off the bench for the cardinal and myrtle.

Sam Burgess and Souths’ forward pack will need to lift against the Eels who boast a formidable forward rotation featuring heavy hitters including Junior Paulo, Manu Ma’u and Beau Scott while there will also be pressure on Greg Inglis and Adam Reynolds to steer the Rabbitohs to their first win in over a month.

In 25 meetings since 1998, the Eels have won 13 meetings while Souths have come out on top 11 times with one clash drawn.

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The two sides met twice in 2015 for a win apiece with Parra prevailing 29-16 in round 4 before the Bunnies got a 14-12 win in Round 11.

Prediction
Parramatta will be desperate for a win and will rally as they try to achieve an incredibly tough task and win 12 of their next 15 games.

Eels by 12.

What you need to know:
Kickoff: 7:50pm (AEST)
Venue: Pirtek Stadium
TV: Live, Nine Network and Fox Sports
Last meeting: Rabbitohs defeated Eels 14-12 (Round 11, 2015)
Head-to-head: 25 played – Eels 13, Rabbitohs 11
Eels last three games: 20-12 versus Bulldogs, 16-32 versus Cowboys, 22-10 versus Sea Eagles
Rabbitohs last three games: 22-30 versus Wests Tigers, 8-30 versus Broncos, 18-44 versus Cowboys

Parramatta Eels
1. Michael Gordon, 2. Semi Radradra, 3. Michael Jennings, 5. Vai Toutai, 6. Clinton Gutherson, 4. Brad Takairangi, 7. Corey Norman, 8. Junior Paulo, 9. Nathan Peats, 10. Danny Wicks, 11. Manu Ma’u, 12. Beau Scott (c), 13. Tepai Moeroa
Interchange: 14. Isaac De Gois, 15. Peni Terepo, 16. David Gower, 17. Kenny Edwards

South Sydney Rabbitohs
1. Alex Johnston, 2. Dane Nielsen, 3. Kirisome Auva’a, 4. Bryson Goodwin, 5. Aaron Gray, 6. Greg Inglis (c), 7. Adam Reynolds, 8. Thomas Burgess, 9. Cameron McInnes, 10. Nathan Brown, 11. Paul Carter, 12. Kyle Turner, 13. Sam Burgess
Interchange: 14. Luke Keary, 15. Jason Clark, 16. Jack Gosiewski, 17. George Burgess

Penrith Panthers versus New Zealand Warriors
Saturday, May 14, 3pm (AEST) at AMI Stadium

The Penrith Panthers will head across the ditch to host the Warriors in Christchurch with a sell-out crowd expected at AMI Stadium.

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The Panthers have been in some close games recently with the boys from the foot of the mountain having experienced their fair share of wins and losses that have come down to the final moments over the opening nine weeks of the NRL competition.

Anthony Griffin had a number of players represent City last Sunday against Country in Tamworth with Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Leilani Latu, Bryce Cartwright and Tyrone Peachey leading Brad Fittler’s forward pack while Josh Mansour appeared on the flank against teammate Isaah Yeo who represented Country, while Dallin Watene-Zelezniak made his much awaited New Zealand debut on Friday night.

With Hook’s forwards having had a run last week, they will not slow down against the Warriors as they are set to carry their momentum through when they travel across the ditch.

Matt Moylan will need to inspire the chocolate soldiers at the back while James Segeyaro will be required to add some spark to Penrith’s attack and add excitement to their brand of football as they pursue another win.

The Warriors will welcome back Ben Matulino, Bodene Thompson, Thomas Leuluai and Tuimoala Lolohea at the expense of Jeff Robson, Matthew Allwood and Toafofoa Sipley while young forward Sione Lousi has been ruled out for the season with an ACL injury after a brilliant start to 2016.

Despite it being an ‘away’ game, Andrew McFadden’s team will have the home ground advantage with Warriors fans almost certain to outnumber Penrith supporters.

Shaun Johnson will need to lead the way and inspire the people of the South Island with New Zealand just one win away from moving into the top eight.

It will be a tough ask, however, with the Panthers providing some stiff opposition following some strong showings over recent weeks.

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The two sides met just once in 2015 with Penrith prevailing 24-10 in Round 23.

It was their 32nd meeting since 1998 with the Panthers having won 17 of those while the Warriors have been victorious 13 times. One match between the two has been drawn.

Prediction
Penrith will just manage to scrape past the Warriors in a close match in Christchurch.

Panthers by 6.

What you need to know:
Kickoff: 3pm (AEST)
Venue: AMI Stadium
TV: Live, Fox Sports
Last meeting: Panthers defeated Warriors 24-10 (Round 23, 2015)
Head-to-head: 31 played – Panthers 17, Warriors 13
Panthers last three games: 19-18 versus Raiders, 18-20 versus Sharks, 20-16 versus Roosters
Warriors last three games: 26-10 versus Dragons, 0-42 versus Storm, 24-20 versus Bulldogs

Penrith Panthers
1. Matt Moylan (c), 2. Josh Mansour, 3. Waqa Blake, 4. Peta Hiku, 5. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 6. Jamie Soward, 7. Peter Wallace, 8. Sam McKendry, 9. James Segeyaro, 10. Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 11. Bryce Cartwright, 12. Isaah Yeo, 13. Trent Merrin
Interchange: 14. Tyrone Peachey, 15. Jeremy Latimore, 16. Leilani Latu, 17. James Fisher-Harris, 20. Suaia Matagi

New Zealand Warriors
1. Tuimoala Lolohea, 2. Jonathan Wright, 3. Blake Ayshford, 4. Solomone Kata, 5. David Fusitua, 6. Thomas Leuluai, 7. Shaun Johnson, 8. Jacob Lillyman, 9. Jazz Tevaga, 10. James Gavet, 11. Bodene Thompson, 12. Ryan Hoffman (c), 13. John Palavi
Interchange: 14. Issac Luke, 15. Ben Matulino, 16. Charlie Gubb, 17. Shaun Lane

Shaun Johnson running with football

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Melbourne Storm versus North Queensland Cowboys
Saturday, May 14, 5:30pm (AEST) at Suncorp Stadium

The Storm and Cowboys will kick off a double-header at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium in what will be their first meeting since last year’s preliminary final in Melbourne which saw North Queensland through to the big dance.

The Melbourne Storm have been hit hard by injury in recent weeks with their backline severely depleted however, they have not let that get to them after dismantling the Titans 38-0 in round 9 while also getting a 42-0 win over the Warriors the week before on Anzac Day.

It shapes as a battle in the middle with both sides boasting two of the best forward packs in the NRL with the two teams combining for a total of eleven players who competed in last week’s Trans-Tasman Test while an additional five players also played in other matches over the representative round.

The Storm and Cowboys will certainly put on a show with Michael Morgan locking horns with Cooper Cronk for a Maroons jersey just one of many exciting match-ups including a battle between the two hookers, a number of workhorses up front and rugby league’s two masters both of whom are considered future immortals – Johnathan Thurston and Cameron Smith.

Melbourne and North Queensland have clashed 30 times since the Storm were admitted into the competition back in 1998.

Of those 30 meetings, the Storm have won 20 while the Cowboys have come out on top ten times.

Last time the two sides met, the Cowboys broke the hearts of Melbourne fans as they stormed into the grand final with a 32-12 victory at a capacity AAMI Park in the preliminary finals last year.

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Prior to that encounter, they played in Round 25 in Melbourne with the Storm victorious 14-6 while the Cowboys prevailed 18-17 in extra time at Kirwan back in round 4, 2015.

Prediction
The Storm and Cowboys will put on an exciting show which will no doubt feature some huge battles. North Queensland will be too strong in the end and will come away with a hard-fought win.

Cowboys by 10.

What you need to know:
Kickoff: 5:30pm (AEST)
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
TV: Live, Fox Sports
Last meeting: Cowboys defeated Storm 32-12 (Finals Week 3, 2015)
Head-to-head: 30 played – Storm 20, Cowboys 10
Storm last three games: 38-0 versus Titans, 42-0 versus Warriors, 19-18 versus Wests Tigers
Cowboys last three games: 34-18 versus Sea Eagles, 32-16 versus Eels, 44-18 versus Rabbitohs

Melbourne Storm
1. Cameron Munster, 2. Suliasi Vunivalu, 3. Tohu Harris, 4. Ben Hampton, 5. Cheyse Blair, 6. Blake Green, 7. Cooper Cronk, 8. Jesse Bromwich, 9. Cameron Smith (c), 10 Jordan McLean, 11. Kevin Proctor, 12. Felise Kaufusi, 13. Dale Finucane
Interchange: 14. Kenneath Bromwich, 15. Tim Glasby, 16. Christian Welch, 17. Nelson Asofa-Solomona

North Queensland Cowboys
1. Lachlan Coote, 2. Kyle Feldt, 3. Justin O’Neill, 4. Kane Linnett, 5. Antonio Winterstein, 6. Michael Morgan, 7. Johnathan Thurston (c), 8. Matthew Scott (c), 9. Jake Granville, 10. James Tamou, 11. Gavin Cooper, 12. Ethan Lowe, 13. Jason Taumalolo
Interchange: 14. Rory Kostjasyn, 15. Patrick Kaufusi, 16. Scott Bolton, 17. Ben Hannant

Roarers, who are you tipping in Round 10?

Be sure to tune in tomorrow as I preview the remaining four fixtures of Round 10.

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