Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold has given Jason Demetriou a mighty serve for questioning his NRL finals record, suggesting the South Sydney assistant may be “dirty” after missing out on the Broncos’ head coach gig.
Two teams inside the top four will appear in the second half of Round 10 with some exciting matches in store.
It all begins with the Manly Sea Eagles taking on the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night before Sunday afternoon sees the Sharks head to Newcastle while Wests Tigers and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs go head-to-head in Sydney.
The Titans will then host the Roosters to round out the week’s action as they try to lift themselves out of a form slump.
Manly Sea Eagles versus Brisbane Broncos
Saturday, May 14, 7:55pm (AEST) at Suncorp Stadium
The Sea Eagles will host the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium to kick off the second half of Round 10 as part of a double-header which also features the Cowboys and Storm.
Manly have a huge task on their hands with the Broncos proving themselves as the best team so far in 2016 after nine rounds.
Halfback Daly Cherry-Evans will have a point of prove with just weeks to go until Kevin Walters selects his Queensland Maroons side with the incumbent bench utility at odds to make another State of Origin appearance.
Cherry-Evans must lead the way for Manly with the Silvertails lacking any real inspiration. Trent Barrett will also need a big performance from Martin Taupau and Nate Myles with the Sea Eagles’ forward pack having been lacklustre so far in 2016.
Barrett has made a few changes to his side with Brett Stewart returning at fullback which sees Dylan Walker return to five-eighth. Tom Symonds moves back to an extended bench alongside Pita Godinet and Blake Leary with Lewis Brown moving into the back row.
With a number of players having participated in last week’s representative round, Wayne Bennett’s Broncos will have momentum on their side as they prepare to recover from a 30-28 loss to the Sharks a fortnight ago.
They will be without backrower Alex Glenn, however, who has been ruled out. Jai Arrow will make his NRL debut off the bench. Jarrod Wallace will start in the front row in place of the suspended Adam Blair with Sam Thaiday, the victim of his chicken wing tackle during last week’s Trans-Tasman Test, moving to the back row.
Since 1998, the Sea Eagles and Broncos have clashed on 24 occasions with Manly winning 14 and Brisbane nine. One encounter was drawn.
Last time the two clubs met, Manly turned on the heat with a 44-14 win at Central Coast Stadium in Round 21 last year. Their only other clash in 2015 came in Round 13 when the Broncos got a big 44-10 win.
The Suncorp Stadium crowd will be right behind the Broncos with the local outfit to put in an impressive display and extend their stronghold over the competition.
Broncos by 18.
What you need to know
Kickoff: 7:55pm (AEST)
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
TV: Live, Fox Sports
Last meeting: Sea Eagles defeated Broncos 44-14 (Round 21, 2015)
Head-to-head: 24 played – Sea Eagles 14, Broncos 9
Sea Eagles last three games: 18-34 versus Cowboys, 26-10 versus Knights, 10-22 versus Eels
Broncos last three games: 28-30 versus Sharks, 30-8 versus Rabbitohs, 53-0 versus Knights
Manly Sea Eagles
1. Brett Stewart, 2. Matthew Wright, 3. Jamie Lyon (c), 4. Steve Matai, 5. Brayden Wiliame, 6. Dylan Walker, 7. Daly Cherry-Evans, 8. Darcy Lussick, 9. Matt Parcell, 10. Nate Myles, 11. Lewis Brown, 12. Martin Taupau, 13. Jake Trbojevic
Interchange: 14. Blake Leary, 15. Addin Fonua-Blake, 16. Brenton Lawrence, 17. Siosaia Vave, 18. Tom Symonds, 19. Pita Godinet
1. Darius Boyd, 2. Corey Oates, 3. Jack Reed, 4. James Roberts, 5. Jordan Kahu, 6. Anthony Milford, 7. Ben Hunt, 8. Josh McGuire, 9. Travis Waddell, 10. Jarrod Wallace, 11. Sam Thaiday, 12. Matt Gillett, 13. Corey Parker (c)
Interchange: 14. Herman Ese’ese, 15. Jai Arrow, 16. Joe Ofahengaue, 17. Kodi Nikorima
Newcastle Knights versus Cronulla Sharks
Sunday, May 15, 2pm (AEST) at Hunter Stadium
In Round 9, the Sharks proved themselves as serious premiership contenders after knocking off favourites the Broncos 30-28 at Shark Park.
The Newcastle Knights’ hopes at lifting the Provan-Summons trophy come the first Sunday of October however are very slim with the red and blue experiencing just one win and one draw in nine games. They sit in 15th position, in front of only the Parramatta Eels who have been docked of 12 competition points for a salary cap breach.
Coach Nathan Brown will again field an inexperienced side with a slew of changes welcoming Jacob Saifiti, Sam Mataora and Tyler Randell back into the side at the expense of David Bhana and Will Pearsall. Brock Lamb will make his second NRL appearance alongside Trent Hodkinson in the halves.
Lamb had a good start to his first-grade career despite the Knights going down 38-0 to the Roosters. The rookie had a well-composed debut match, which saw him make 24 tackles and run for 55 metres from seven hit-ups at five-eighth.
The Maitland junior will face off against likely NSW Blues half James Maloney, who put in a strong performance for Country in a losing side last week against City.
Joseph Paulo and David Fifita come onto an extended bench for the Sharks with Jayson Bukuya suspended. Luke Lewis moves into the starting side in place of the Fiji international.
It shouldn’t be much of a challenge for Cronulla, who have had a dream start to the year as they hunt their first ever premiership.
Since 1998, the Knights and Sharks have met 32 times with Newcastle winning 20 fixtures to Cronulla’s 12.
The boys from the Shire, however, were able to notch up two wins over the Novocastrians last year with a 22-6 win in Round 6 and a 30-28 victory in Round 15.
Cronulla will continue to go from strength to strength with a big win over the Knights in Newcastle.
Sharks by 20.
What you need to know
Kickoff: 2pm (AEST)
Venue: Hunter Stadium
TV: Live, Fox Sports
Last meeting: Sharks defeated Knights 30-28 (Round 15, 2015)
Knights last three games: 0-38 versus Roosters, 10-26 versus Sea Eagles, 0-53 versus Broncos
Sharks last three games: 30-28 versus Broncos, 20-18 versus Panthers, 40-16 versus Raiders
1. Dane Gagai, 2. Nathan Ross, 3. Sione Mata’utia, 4. Pat Mata’utia, 5. Akuila Uate, 6. Brock Lamb, 7. Trent Hodkinson (c), 8. Sam Mataora, 9. Danny Levi, 10. Daniel Saifiti, 11. Tariq Sims (c), 12. Jacob Saifiti, 13. Jeremy Smith (c)
Interchange: 14. Tyler Randell, 15. Korbin Sims, 16. Jack Stockwell, 17. Mickey Paea, 18. Pauli Pauli
1. Ben Barba, 2. Sosaia Feki, 3. Jack Bird, 4. Gerard Beale, 5. Valentine Holmes, 6. James Maloney, 7. Chad Townsend, 8. Andrew Fifita, 9. Michael Ennis, 10. Sam Tagataese, 11. Luke Lewis, 12. Wade Graham, 13. Paul Gallen (c)
Interchange: 14. Ricky Leutele, 15. Chris Heighington, 16. Matt Prior, 17. Joseph Paulo, 23. David Fifita
Wests Tigers versus Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Sunday, May 15, 4pm (AEST) at ANZ Stadium
The Tigers and Bulldogs will go head to head at ANZ Stadium as they battle it out in a south-western Sydney derby.
Jason Taylor has made a glut of changes with a number of stars returning to face the Dogs.
Skipper Aaron Woods returns alongside Mitchell Moses and Tim Grant with Asipeli Fine, JJ Felise, Michael Chee-Kam and James Tedesco omitted. Justin Hunt comes in at fullback and new recruit Elijah Taylor joins an extended bench.
Facing off against one of the most formidable forward packs in the game, the Tigers will need Woods to inspire his forward pack. Mitchell Moses is also a huge addition to Taylor’s team after the five-eighth withdrew from Round 9.
The boys from Belmore will be without Will Hopoate for the next three weeks with the fullback deciding not to play on Sundays due to his Mormon faith. He is replaced by Sam Perrett at fullback and Craig Garvey comes onto an extended six-man bench.
Canterbury were disappointing when they last played with a poor showing against the Eels in round 9. Des Hasler will have no doubt whipped his boys back into shape as he prepares to iron out the club’s inconsistent game with a strong run-in to the State of Origin period.
In 29 meetings since 1998, the Bulldogs have won 18 matches to the Wests Tigers’ 11 victories.
Last time they clashed, the Tigers came away with a 38-14 win in Round 8, 2015 while in their prior meeting in Round 4, Canterbury pipped the joint venture in extra-time 25-24.
Canterbury will be too strong for the Tigers with Hasler’s forward pack to lead the way.
Bulldogs by ten.
What you need to know
Kickoff: 4pm (AEST)
Venue: ANZ Stadium
TV: Live, Nine Network and Fox Sports
Last meeting: Wests Tigers defeated Bulldogs 38-14 (Round 8, 2015)
Head-to-head: 29 played – Wests Tigers 11, Bulldogs 18
Wests Tigers last three games: 30-22 versus Rabbitohs, 6-60 versus Raiders, 18-19 versus Storm
Bulldogs last three games: 12-20 versus Eels, 21-20 versus Titans, 20-24 versus Warriors
1. Justin Hunt, 2. David Nofoaluma, 3. Tim Simona, 4. Kevin Naiqama, 5. Jordan Rankin, 6. Mitchell Moses, 7. Luke Brooks, 8. Aaron Woods (c), 9. Robbie Farah, 10. Tim Grant, 11. Curtis Sironen, 12. Chris Lawrence, 13. Sauaso Sue
Interchange: 14. Josh Aloiai, 15. Dene Halatau, 16. Kyle Lovett, 17. Ava Seumanufagai, 18. Elijah Taylor
1. Sam Perrett, 2. Curtis Rona, 3. Josh Morris, 4. Kerrod Holland, 5. Tyrone Phillips, 6. Josh Reynolds, 7. Moses Mbye, 8. Aiden Tolman, 9. Michael Lichaa, 10. James Graham (c), 11. Josh Jackson, 12. Greg Eastwood, 13. Sam Kasiano
Interchange: 14. Tony Williams, 15. Raymond Faitala-Mariner, 16. David Klemmer, 17. Tim Browne, 19. Lloyd Perrett, 20. Craig Garvey
Gold Coast Titans versus Sydney Roosters
Monday, May 16, 7pm (AEST) at Cbus Super Stadium
The Roosters appear to be on the comeback trail and will be looking to move up the ladder when they round out the week in a meeting with the Titans on the Gold Coast.
The Roosters have welcomed back Mitchell Pearce and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves while Boyd Cordner has settled in well since returning on Anzac Day with three impressive performances for Trent Robinson’s side.
The boys from Bondi don’t quite have a full strength side, however, with Shaun Kenny-Dowall injured. He is replaced by Daniel Tupou on the wing.
The Titans welcome back David Shillington who replaces Lachlan Burr in the side while Anthony Don and Eddy Pettybourne come onto an extended bench.
Having failed to win since Round 4, Neil Henry’s team desperately need a victory as they slip down the table. Their Queensland counterparts, meanwhile, continue to prove themselves as one of the two best teams in the competition.
It will be down to Ashley Taylor, who had a good start to 2016. He will be expected to lift the struggling franchise.
Since their inception in 2007, the Titans have played the Roosters 13 times winning seven matches to their opponent’s six victories.
They last met at Central Coast Stadium where the tricolours enjoyed a 20-10 win in Round 16 last year.
The Roosters will continue their rebound after a poor start to 2016.
Roosters by 14.
What you need to know
Kickoff: 7pm (AEST)
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium
TV: Live, Fox Sports
Last meeting: Roosters defeated Titans 20-10 (Round 16, 2015)
Head-to-head: 13 played – Titans 7, Roosters 6
Titans last three games: 0-38 versus Storm, 20-21 versus Bulldogs, 14-19 versus Dragons
Roosters last three games: 38-0 versus Knights, 18-20 versus Dragons, 16-20 versus Panthers
Gold Coast Titans
1. William Zillman, 2. Nathan Davis, 3. Josh Hoffman, 4. Nene Macdonald, 5. David Mead, 6. Tyrone Roberts, 7. Ashley Taylor, 8. David Shillington, 9. Nathan Friend (c), 10. Ryan James, 11. Zeb Taia, 12. Chris McQueen, 13. Greg Bird
Interchange: 14. Luke Douglas, 15. Leivaha Pulu, 16. Agnatius Paasi, 17. Kierran Moseley, 18. Eddy Pettybourne, 19. Anthony Don
1. Latrell Mitchell, 2. Daniel Tupou, 3. Mitchell Aubusson, 4. Blake Ferguson, 5. Joe Burgess, 6. Jackson Hastings, 7. Mitchell Pearce, 8. Sam Moa, 9. Jake Friend (c), 10. Dylan Napa, 11. Boyd Cordner, 12. Aidan Guerra, 13. Isaac Liu
Interchange: 14. Kane Evans, 15. Eloni Vunakece, 16. Ryan Matterson, 17. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 18. Connor Watson
Roarers, which game are you most looking forward to in Round 10?
In case you missed it, you can read part one of my Round 10 preview here.