NRL previews for round six
BRONCOS V ROOSTERS
Suncorp Stadium, 7.50pm
History: Broncos 26, Roosters 17
Last met: Broncos 24-14, round 26, 2016
WITH the third-worst attacking record after five rounds, the Broncos have vowed to entertain tonight, with maybe a five-star effort from Anthony Milford. Memories flood back from two seasons ago when Sam Thaiday and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves put on a mini tournament of their own and Ben Hunt scored in golden point. That match was an absolute cracker and - optimistically for what is expected to be another big crowd - that same standard will be replicated tonight.
TIP - Broncos
KNIGHTS V BULLDOGS
McDonald Jones Stadium 6pm
History: Bulldogs 22, Knights 20, drawn 1
Last met: Bulldogs 28-14, round 22, 2016
COACH Nathan Brown is making no excuses, but on what they have shown to date the Knights do not deserve to be at the bottom of the ladder. Apart from its 40-nil loss to the Panthers two weeks ago, Newcastle has been in every game this season and becoming more competitive as the weeks pass. Unfortunately for the Knights, the Bulldogs finally found their bite last weekend and should get the points in another close game.
TIP - Bulldogs
PANTHERS V RABBITOHS
Pepper Stadium, 7.50pm
History: Rabbitohs 43, Panthers 34, drawn 1
Last met: Panthers 28-26, round 16, 2016
MANY judges - me included - predicted the Panthers could upset the Storm last weekend, but it appears the boys from the foot of the Blue Mountains are not quite at that level just yet. And, with three players suspended, including captain Matt Moylan, all is not smooth sailing in the camp. But despite the brouhaha, playing at home tomorrow night they should get home against the struggling Rabbitohs who have been poor defensively without the direction of injured skipper Greg Inglis.
TIP - Panthers
SEA EAGLES V DRAGONS
History: Dragons 15, Sea Eagles 9
Last met: Sea Eagles 36-6, round 17, 2016
THE turnaround by these clubs from last season is remarkable and the competition now has two of its giants back in form, and winning. While the Dragons have made the greatest transformation, having already notched more than a third of the points they scored in all 24 games last year, the Sea Eagles have also become the entertainers, averaging 22 points a game despite two early-season hidings. Two genuine title contenders without an obvious weakness make this a toss-of-the-coin proposition with Fortress Brookvale the decider.
TIP - Sea Eagles
TITANS V RAIDERS
Cbus Super Stadium 5.30pm
History: Titans 11, Raiders 8
Last met: Raiders 30-22, round 16, 2016
THE Raiders may have a losing away record this season, but they couldn't ask for a better time to play the Titans, on the Gold Coast. Although Konrad Hurrell and Anthony Don are pencilled in to return, the home side still has nine members of its NRL squad on the sideline. Conversely, the Raiders, coming off a big win over the Eels, are at full strength. Courageous they may be, but the Titans might be out of their depth in this.
TIP - Raiders
COWBOYS V TIGERS
1300SMILES Stadium 7.30pm
History: Tigers 17, Cowboys 15
Last met: Tigers 26-14, round 22, 2016
BUOYED by the fact the drawn-out coaching drama has ended, the Tigers players will welcome the greatly respected Ivan Cleary to the clipboard for the next four seasons. But that boost in confidence won't suddenly fix their defensive deficiencies, which have resulted in 150 points being run by them in five outings. And the Cowboys, still smarting from their 2005 grand final defeat, will examine every one of those weaknesses as they continue to bounce back from some recent glitches of their own.
TIP - Cowboys
WARRIORS V EELS
Mt Smart Stadium 2pm (AEST)
History: Eels 20, Warriors 16
Last met: Eels 40-18, round 26, 2016
FOR both combatants, this is about much more than Kieran Foran playing against the club he left stranded when he walked out on the Eels last season. Genuine top-four candidates in the eyes of many - even premiership contenders - the Warriors and Eels have been massive disappointments to start the season and have leaked points alarmingly. Foran returned last week and made an immediate impact for the Warriors and looms as the genuine difference in this.
TIP - Warriors
STORM V SHARKS
AAMI Park, 4pm
History: Storm 21, Sharks 11
Last met: Sharks, 14-12, grand final 2016
AS IF avenging last year's skinny grand final loss was not enough motivation, the announcement on Tuesday that Cooper Cronk is leaving Melbourne at the season's end gives the Storm added incentive in this match-of-the-round. While the Sharks have been solid, they are yet to look genuine back-to-back premiership contenders, whereas the Storm have continued their relentless brand of professionalism that is almost impossible to break down. In every sense of the word, Craig Bellamy's men constitute a machine.
TIP - Storm
Compiled by Tony Durkin