HEAVY HITTERS: The contest between Ryan James of the Titans (pictured) and Manly’s Martin Taupau will be a highlight on Monday night.
HEAVY HITTERS: The contest between Ryan James of the Titans (pictured) and Manly’s Martin Taupau will be a highlight on Monday night. BRENDAN ESPOSITO

Durko’s Dissections for Round 15

TOMORROW

RABBITOHS V EELS

ANZ Stadium, 7.50pm

History: Played 121, Rabbitohs 67, Eels 51, drawn 3

Last met: Rabbitohs 22-20, round 10, 2016

FIVE weeks ago, when their almost-impossible finals hunt held at least a glimmer of hope, the Eels faltered and fell at the first hurdle when the Rabbitohs took them down, at home at Pirtek Stadium. They were beaten again the following week and although the finals formula is now beyond them, they are still showing admirable fight. And against a Rabbitohs outfit down on form, hit by injury and without Origin stars Greg Inglis and Adam Reynolds, the Eels should muster their third successive win tomorrow night. Sitting 12th with just five wins, the Rabbitohs need to hit back or they too will be out of the finals race.

TIP – Eels

SATURDAY

DRAGONS V STORM

WIN Stadium, 7.30pm

History: Played 32, Storm 23, Dragons 8, drawn 1

Last met: Storm 18-16, round 1, 2016

LANGUISHING in 11th spot at the halfway mark of the competition and rated 100-1 to win the premiership, this weekend could well be D-Day for the Dragons. With no player on Origin duty and against a Storm outfit missing big guns Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk, they will never have a better chance to snare an unexpected two points against the marvels from Melbourne. And in their favour is a winning advantage over the Storm at WIN Stadium, plus the memory of beating the Cowboys there three weeks ago when the visitors were also minus their Origin players. But the table-topping Storm has been in irresistible form and will relish the challenge of winning without their big guns.

TIP – Storm

SUNDAY

WARRIORS V ROOSTERS

Mt Smart Stadium, 4pm (AEST)

History: Played 36, Warriors 19, Roosters 16, drawn 1

Last met: Warriors 32-28, round 5, 2016

SURELY, after scoring 86 points in their past two matches, we are entitled to claim the Warriors are back in form. And surely they should be able to again rattle up a big score against the under-strength and grossly out-of-form Roosters in Auckland, where the Roosters have won on just six of their 16 previous visits. But nothing is ever a certainty with the Warriors, although the bookies think so, installing them as $1.42 favourites. The Roosters are strengthened by the return of Dylan Napa, Isaac Liu and Shaun Kenny-Dowall, but they will need a massive form reversal to win this.

TIP – Warriors

MONDAY

TITANS V SEA EAGLES

CBUS Super Stadium, 7pm

History: Played 14, Sea Eagles 9, Titans 5

Last met: Sea Eagles 38-6, round 18, 2015

RESPECTIVE coaches Neil Henry and Trent Barrett must still be scratching their heads over last weekend’s losses. Both teams allowed handy leads to slip, which is often a confidence or concentration issue. The Titans’ loss was crucial, with the Gold Coasters falling out of the top eight, while the Sea Eagles must win at least eight of their next 11 games to play finals football in 2016. While Greg Bird is a major loss for the Titans, the inclusion of skipper Jamie Lyon – if he plays – will boost the spirits of the struggling Sea Eagles. The clash of the fiery Ryan James and Martin Taupau looms as a Monday night highlight.

TIP – Titans

BYES: Broncos, Raiders, Bulldogs, Sharks, Knights, Cowboys, Panthers, Tigers


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