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globalrugbyleague - Fri, 21 Mar 2008 13:00:00 GMT
The NRL is back on Friday night with an explosive double-header in Sydney to begin a round in which teams will either consolidate or commiserate. Adam Flier previews round 2.

roosters v Brisbane Broncos
Sydney Football Stadium, 7.30pm
Referee: Jared Maxwell
Head To Head: Played 29, Broncos 18, Roosters 11
Last Clash: Broncos 32 d Roosters 10 at SFS.

This could very well end up winning the ‘Game of the Week’ award particularly in the battle of the forwards. Freddie’s boys are wanting to get on with the season after a “prowling” week (who comes up with these names?) following their win over South Sydney last week. The Broncos with Lockyer back are a team to be taken seriously. They are on top of the competition ladder and want to stay there. Their backs and forwards are very mobile and in this new interchange rule of 10 only the fit will survive. A down to the wire game this one with a field goal possibly coming into play to decide the outcome.
rabbitohs v BULLDOGS
Telstra Stadium, 7.30pm
Referee: Sean Hampstead
Head To Head: Played 29, Bulldogs 69, Rabbitohs 61, Drawn 4
Last Clash: Bulldogs 34 d Rabbitohs 10

This will be a tough game for fans of both clubs. The Bunnies will be at a loss without Craig wing against the fast thinking dogs BUT in saying that if the Bulldogs play like they did last week for the second half against the Eels they will lose against most of the clubs in the competition. Canterbury are not letting the cat out of the bag on Sonny “I want to play State of Origin” Bill Williams yet but most reports are telling us he should be out for at least three weeks. The number 7 and 9 for the Rabbitohs offer some dangerous creativity in attack.
panthers v Canberra Raiders
CUA Stadium, 5.30pm
Referee: Jason Robinson
Head To Head: Played 51, Panthers 25, Raiders 25, drawn 1.
Last Clash: Raiders 34 d Penrith 30 at Penrith Football Stadium.

This is a must watch game. Penrith have a new half back this week in Jarrod Sammut and are hoping he can pull off more then just intercept tries this week. The Raiders have a pretty poor away record but did win 2 away games last season – one of which was against Penrith. Canberra will dig deep for a win on the road and have the ability to grind games out to the end.

knights v MANLY SEA EAGLES
EnergyAustralia Stadium, 7.30pm
Referee: Ben Cummins
Head To Head: Played 32, Manly 19, Knights 13
Last Clash: Manly 50 d Knights 16 at BlueTongue Stadium
The Knights played really well last week even with the loss of Steve Simpson whereas the Sea eagles struggled without Monaghan around the play the ball area. In a close contest, the Knights are good odds of getting up. There is pressure on the Manly halves to create a lot more chances this week. It will be Interesting to see if Josh Perry can have same impact on his former teammates as he did on against Cronulla last week.
cowboys v Wests Tigers
DairyFarmers Stadium, 9.30pm
Referee: Tony De Las Heras
Head To Head: Played 17, Cowboys 10, Tigers 7
Last Clash: Tigers 54 d Cowboys 10
This should be a great game around the ruck area with Tigers hooker Robbie Farah up against Cowboys halfback Jonathan “speed hump” Thurston. Thurston will be out to disprove Matt Rogers comment this week that he (Thurston) came back from two should reconstructions too soon and was now a defensive liability. Farah will try to repeat last weeks performance particularly out on the fringes.
New Zealand Warriors v eels
Mt Smart Stadium, 2pm
Referee: Shayne Hayne
Head To Head: Played 22, Eels 15, Warriors 7
Last Clash: Eels 12 d Warriors 10
The Warriors without Steve Price who will be hoping Rubin Wiki can step up and guide the club to it’s first home win for the year. The high flying Eels on the other hand will welcome back Jarryd Hayne with Krisnan Inu out with an ankle injury for up to 5-6 weeks. Hagan’s boys cant afford to play like they did in the first half of last week other wise the Warriors will run away with it and will not be caught napping like the Dogs. This will be a tougher war of physical attrition for the Eels and the new interchange rule forcing players to stay out on the field longer will really put the visitors to the test.
Melbourne Storm v CRONULLA SHARKS
Olympic Park, 3pm
Referee: Tony Archer
Head To Head: Played 17, Storm 10, Sharks 7
Last Clash: Storm 17 d Sharks 16 at Toyota Park.
The Sharks will be asked more questions in attack this week when they play the reigning premiers for the first time in 2008. They beat the Grand Final runners-up last week, now they want to finish the other half of the job. The Storm towards the back of their game on Monday let the Warriors get within four-points of them before the half-time break and the Sharks showed they are particularly good at snatching half-time leads and then building on them. Cronulla have won three of their last five games in Melbourne and should not be underestimated.
MONDAY

ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS v Gold Coast Titans
WIN Stadium, 7pm
Referee: Gavin Badger
Head To Head: Played 2, Dragons 2, Titans 0
Last Clash: Dragons 28 d Titans 10 at WIN Stadium.
If the Dragon players want to alleviate some of the pressure on coach Brown, they need to turn their form around in this game. They are playing to keep themselves in first grade and that should see them come out and produce some of their best football. The Titans won’t need to make too many adjustments for this game but they need to improve their record away from home. How much ball Mark Gasnier gets will determine the outcome of this game to an extent. - Read More, Here