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globalrugbyleague - Fri, 28 Mar 2008 09:37:00 GMT

Taken your medication yet? If not, then chuck on your team jersey and go paint the front of your house in the club colours in preparation for round 3 of the National Rugby League.

FRIDAY


eels v knights
Parramatta Stadium, 7.30pm
Referee: Tony Archer
GRL Tips: Eels

This is no longer a grudge match with both clubs satisfied they made the right decision in the great coaching swap of 2007. It will be a contest where skillful reputations at Parramatta take on unknown rising quantities at Newcastle. One gets the feeling that the Knights still have a fair way to go in sharpening their attacking capabilities whilst there is a lot to like about their gritty defense. Opportunities like they got in the last 10 minutes of play against Manly happen very rarely, so they’ll need to be more creative with their ball movement if they want to avoid the loss that seems to be coming. The Eels are still learning to control first halves of football and this is something they need to get right very quickly. Tim Smith returns to the number 7 jumper, allowing Brett Finch to move to back to five-eighth and Feleti Mateo to head back to the back row where he can cause Sonny Bill style problems for the Knights. More experience in the halves and the forwards should get the Eels across the line.

EELS: Luke Burt, Taulima Tautai, Joel Reddy, Jarryd Hayne, Eric Grothe, Brett Finch, Tim Smith, Nathan Cayless (capt), Mark Riddell, Fuifui Moimoi, Nathan Hindmarsh, Daniel Wagon, Feleti Mateo. Interchange: Matt Keating, Josh Cordoba, Todd Lowrie, Weller Hauraki. Coach: Michael Hagan

KNIGHTS: Kurt Gidley, James McManus, Wes Naiqama, Keith Lulia, Cooper Vuna, Jarrod Mullen, Scott Dureau, Daniel Tolar, Danny Buderus (capt), Jesse Royal, Chris Houston, Cameron Ciraldo, Zeb Taia. Interchange: Matt Hilder, Cory Paterson, Richard Faaoso, Danny Wicks, Adam MacDougall (one to be omitted) Coach: Brian Smith


Brisbane Broncos v cowboys
Suncorp Stadium, 8.30pm
Referee: Ben Cummins
GRL Tips: Broncos

The big Queensland derby will determine if the Cowboys are simply suffering from early season poor form or if they are setting a bad trend for Graham Murray’s final year as coach. The last time they lost their first three fixtures was in 2004. Smarter football is all the Cowboys really need to adopt to get the job done this week if the statistics are anything to go by. They’ve lagged behind in the penalty count in both of their losses and have been unable to dominate the line breaks which suggests their running game is too flat. Brisbane last week were inspirational after overturning a 6-point deficit at half-time to win by six come full-time. The halves are executing the game plan smoothly which is surprising given that Peter Wallace is very new to the job. The Broncos missed 54 tackles last Friday night and if the Cowboys can control the ruck and run direct, they could cause the first upset of round 3.

BRONCOS: Karmichael Hunt, Reece Robinson, Steve Michaels, Justin Hodges, Darius Boyd, Darren Lockyer (capt), Peter Wallace, Ben Hannant, PJ Marsh, Sam Thaiday, David Stagg, Ashton Sims, Tonie Carroll. Interchange: Michael Ennis, David Taylor, Greg Eastwood, Nick Kenny.Coach: Wayne Bennett


COWBOYS: Matt Bowen, Obe Geia, Ty Williams, Ben Harris, Mark Henry, Travis Burns, Johnathan Thurston (capt), Ray Cashmere, Aaron Payne, Carl Webb, Sione Faumuina, Jacob Lillyman, Luke O'Donnell. Interchange: David Faiumu, Sam Faust, Justin Smith, Matt Scott, Dayne Weston (one to be omitted). Coach: Graham Murray


SATURDAY

roosters v Melbourne Storm
Sydney Football Stadium, 5.30pm
Referee: Shayne Hayne
GRL Tips: Storm

These two teams have played sixteen times and both clubs have taken out eight victories each. Melbourne last week took a lot longer to find their rhythm but to their credit they didn’t need to wait for a half-time ass whooping from coach Craig Bellamy to readjust the way the were playing. They did that by themselves and managed to score two tries in six minutes to defuse a potential blowout. That is the sign of a very mature, experienced outfit that can win games at any time. roosters played a better second-half in round 2 then they did in the opening round. They gave away less points and kept on asking questions right up to the full-time buzzer. They were simply outclassed by a stronger defensive team that wasn’t afraid to test themselves on their own line. The Storm won the following week after everyone of their losses in 2007 and I expect them to stay true to form on Saturday night.


ROOSTERS: Anthony Minichiello, Amos Roberts, Mitchell Aubusson, Sam Perrett, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Braith Anasta, Mitchell Pearce, Nate Myles, Riley Brown, Mark O'Meley, Willie Mason, Anthony Tupou, Craig Fitzgibbon (capt). Interchange: Lopini Paea, David Shillington, Setaimata Sa, James Aubusson. Coach: Brad Fittler


STORM: Billy Slater, Steve Turner, Will Chambers, Israel Folau, Anthony Quinn, Russ Aitken, Cooper Cronk, Jeff Lima, Cam Smith (capt), Adam Blair, Jeremy Smith, Ryan Hoffman, Dallas Johnson. Interchange: Matt Geyer, Antonio Kaufusi, Sika Manu, Sam Tagataese, Clifford Manua (one to be omitted) Coach: Craig Bellamy.


Canberra Raiders v ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Canberra Stadium, 7.30pm
Referee: Gavin Badger
GRL Tips: Dragons

The Raiders are viewed as a bogey team for the Dragons heading into this clash after having won everyone of their games at Canberra since 2000. It’s a crucial period for the Saints who need to put back-to-back wins together to prove to coach Nathan Brown that the days of hot and cold consistency are over. Neil Henry’s boys knew how to take advantage of pathetic defense from the kick-restart last weekend but they won’t get such an easy ride from the Dragons. The Canberra ball-runners are very fast but they can’t seem to stay creative in attack for long enough periods. Both teams notched up 1298 metres in round 2. This will be a tight-knit affair in point-scoring.

RAIDERS: Bronx Goodwin, Colin Best, Phil Graham, Joel Monaghan, Adrian Purtell, Terry Campese, Todd Carney, Troy Thompson, Ryan Hinchcliffe, Dane Tilse, Marshall Chalk, Nigel Plum, Alan Tongue (capt). Interchange: Joe Picker, Josh Miller, Trevor Thurling, Michael Weyman, Lincoln Withers (one to be omitted). Coach: Neil Henry

DRAGONS: Ben Hornby, Jason Nightingale, Mark Gasnier (capt), Matt Cooper, Josh Morris, Rangi Chase, Jamie Soward, Justin Poore, Simon Woolford, Dan Hunt, Beau Scott, Kirk Reynoldson, Dean Young. Interchange: Jarrod Saffy, Jason Ryles, Ben Ellis, Chase Stanley, Lagi Setu, Brett Morris (two to be omitted) Coach: Nathan Brown

Gold Coast Titans v CRONULLA SHARKS
Skilled Park, 9.30pm
Referee: Jason Robinson
GRL Tips: Sharks

Will the real Cronulla Sharks please stand up? That’s the question the so-called experts have been asking after watching the men from the shire score back to back wins over last year’s Grand Final rivals. The gratitude attitude of Sharks fullback Brett Kearney is impressing me. This kid is so happy just to be out there playing football after finally returning from a long-term injury, he is producing what is expected of him without feeling any pressure. That sort of feeling is hopefully contagious and will infect the rest of the team. The Gold Coast are looking to bounce back after a big loss. At one stage they were up 6-all but playing conditions didn’t help them and too many unforced errors came back to haunt them against a team that had something to prove. Cronulla are handling pressure cooker games much better but they must keep their attitude on the park disciplined and not underestimate the home side. A tricky game to call.

TITANS: Preston Campbell, Ben Jeffery, Luke O'Dwyer, Brett Delaney, Jordan Atkins, Mat Rogers, Scott Prince (capt), Luke Bailey (capt), Nathan Friend, Michael Hodgson, Anthony Laffranchi, Mark Minichiello, Ashley Harrison. Interchange: Aaron Cannings, Luke Swain, Josh Graham, Clint Amos, James Stosic, Gavin Cooper, Brad Meyers (three to be omitted). Coach: John Cartwright


SHARKS: Brett Kearney, Bryson Goodwin, Ben Pomeroy, David Simmons, Luke Covell, Brett Seymour, Brett Kimmorley, Adam Peek, Isaac De Gois, Luke Douglas, Paul Gallen (capt), Fraser Anderson, Greg Bird. Interchange: Jacob Selmes, Bryan Norrie, Kevin Kingston, Misi Taulapapa, Paul Stephenson (one to be omitted). Coach: Ricky Stuart.

SUNDAY

panthers v rabbitohs
CUA Stadium, 2pm
Referee: Tony De Las Heras
GRL Tips: South Sydney

The clash of the winless heads out to the foot of the mountains on Sunday afternoon. Penrith have defended their wooden spoon with great vigour and purpose in the opening two weeks and South Sydney will be hoping the Panthers continue to provide other teams with scoring - Read More, Here