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globalrugbyleague - Wed, 04 Jul 2007 09:02:00 GMT
Teams will be looking over their shoulder this weekend with 9 weeks to go until the NRL finals kick-off. Who will score a season saving win in round 17?
Brisbane Broncos v Gold Coast Titans
Suncorp Stadium, 7.30pm
Referee: Steve Clark
GRL Tip: Broncos

The Titans winning form in 2007 gives them a good chance of ensuring the Broncos don’t make it four wins in a row on Friday. For most of the season, they’ve scored a win a week after losing on 3 occassions minus a slump in rounds 8, 9 and 10. However they will be without Mat Rogers for the next six weeks and their best prop Luke Bailey will have played Origin only two days earlier. The sad truth is that the Titans are a team that can least afford injuries or physical exhaustion. Brisbane should make up for their 28-16 loss to John Cartwright’s foot soldiers back in round 5.

BRONCOS: Karmichael Hunt, Steve Michaels, Darius Boyd, Justin Hodges, Brent Tate, Darren Lockyer (captain), Michael Ennis, Ben Hannant, Shaun Berrigan, Petero Civoniceva, David Stagg, Dane Carlaw, Tonie Carroll. Interchange: Greg Eastwood, Corey Parker, Brad Thorn, Dave Taylor, Ian Lacey, Nick Kenny (two to be omitted).
Coach: Wayne Bennett

TITANS: Preston Campbell, Matt Petersen, Luke O'Dwyer, Brett Delaney, Smith Samau, Josh Lewis, Scott Prince (captain), Luke Bailey (captain), Nathan Friend, Ian Donnelly, Michael Hodgson, Mark Minichiello, Luke Swain. Interchange: Matthew Hilder, James Stosic, Gavin Cooper, Clint Amos, Kris Kahler (one to be omitted).
Coach: John Cartwright

Wests Tigers v panthers
Telstra Stadium, 7.30pm
Referee: Ben Cummins
GRL Tip: Panthers

It’s hard to believe but it’s true. Two of the Panthers four wins this season have been against top eight teams (Manly and the Cowboys). They also scored a victory over reigning premiers Brisbane in round 3. One of the few things Penrith are good at this season is the ability to catch top teams off guard and win when they aren’t expected to. Wests Tigers haven’t been able to string together back to back wins since their 6-game winning streak ended in round 12. This is a huge danger game for the Tigers who are up against a side which knows that if they lose another 2 or 3 consecutive games, their wooden spoon rivals could jump ahead of them and make it harder for Penrith to fight their way out of that well known creek that Warren Ryan often refers to on ABC Grandstand.

TIGERS: Daniel Fitzhenry, Beau Ryan, Dean Collis, Paul Whatuira, Taniela Tuiaki, John Morris, Robbie Farah, Todd Payten (captain), Dene Halatau, Bryce Gibbs, Liam Fulton, Chris Heighington, Chris Lawrence. Interchange: Ben Galea, Stuart Flanagan, Bronson Harrison, Keith Galloway, Danny Galea (one to be omitted). Coach: Tim Sheens

PANTHERS: Richie Williams, Geoff Daniela, Michael Jennings, Luke Lewis, Nick Youngquest, Brett Firman, Craig Gower (captain), Joel Clinton, Keith Peters, Frank Puletua, Frank Pritchard, Tony Puletua, Nathan Smith. Interchange: Tim Grant, Junior Moors, Bryan Norrie, Peter Wallace, Matt Adamson (one to be omitted). Coach: Mathew Elliot


SATURDAY


rabbitohs v Melbourne Storm
Bluetongue Stadium, 5.30pm
Referee: Jared Maxwell
GRL Tip: South Sydney

Okay, it looks like I’ve totally finally lost the plot by putting my money on South Sydney to score a win over the Storm. There is however merit in my choice. Last week’s game – which I might add the Bunnies should have lost – was unarguably their best comeback we’ve seen from South Sydney this season. In fact it wouldn’t be extreme to say it was their best win of the year. That suggests to me they are capable of scoring a long-odds victory between now and round 26. The Storm will have four of their most outstanding players backing up to play their second game of football in three days. History shows that after Origin III, the Victorians either lose like they did in 2004 or they don’t have the capability of putting that many points on the board as was the case in their 10-6 win over Brisbane in July last year. I feel safe betting on Souths this weekend.

RABBITOHS: David Peachey, Nathan Merritt, Nigel Vagana, Shannon Hegarty, Paul Mellor, Ben Rogers, Jeremy Smith, Peter Cusack (captain), Stuart Webb, Roy Asotasi (capt), Luke Stuart, David Fa'alogo, Dean Widders. Interchange: Isaac Luke, Shane Rigon, Manase Manuokafoa, Jaiman Lowe. Coach: Jason Taylor

STORM: Billy Slater, Matt Geyer, Matt King, Anthony Quinn, Steve Turner, Greg Inglis, James Aubusson, Ben Cross, Cameron Smith, Brett White, Clint Newton, Ryan Hoffman, Dallas Johnson. Interchange: Jeff Lima, Adam Blair, Jeremy Smith, Sam Tagataese. Coach: Craig Bellamy.

cowboys v New Zealand Warriors
Dairy Farmers Stadium, 7.30pm
Referee: Tony Archer
GRL Tip: New Zealand

Three weeks ago if you said the Warriors would beat the Cowboys you’d be greeted by a comment like “Are you on any medication? No, well you should be.” But since round 13, the trans-tasman mob have strung together three straight wins while holding the Storm to just four-points in 80 minutes of football. That’s an incredible turn-around from the 9th placed Warriors who many said could not make the finals after losing 6 games in a row between rounds 8 and 13. North Queensland prior to the bye and their 4-point win over Canberra, conceded 122-points in two losses to the Roosters and the Storm. I’m still not sure if they’ve found the reasons behind those heavy defeats. Their best player, Johnathan Thurston, will be coming off Origin duties and he probably won’t be as fresh, fit and accurate as he normally would be. Sorry to say it but NQLD are a one-man team and will go down to NZ at home.

COWBOYS: Matt Bowen, Ashley Graham, Scott Minto, Paul Bowman, Ty Williams, Jason Smith, Johnathan Thurston (captain), Shane Tronc, Aaron Payne, Carl Webb, Steve Southern, Justin Smith, Sione Faumuina. Interchange: David Faiumu, Ben Farrar, Matthew Bartlett, Ray Cashmere, Matt Scott (one to be omitted). Coach: Graham Murray

WARRIORS: Wade McKinnon, Patrick Ah Van, Todd Byrne, Simon Mannering, Manu Vatuvei, Michael Witt, Grant Rovelli, Ruben Wiki, Nathan Fien, Steve Price (capt)ain, Louis Anderson, Logan Swann, Micheal Luck. Interchange: George Gatis, Lance Hohaia, Wairangi Koopu, Epalahame Lauaki, Sam Rapira, Evan Tuimavave (two to be omitted). Coach: Ivan Cleary

MANLY SEA EAGLES v roosters
Brookvale Oval, 7.30pm
Referee: Gavin Badger
GRL Tip: Manly

It’s the wrong time of the year to be playing an angry Manly outfit and that’s exactly what the roosters will encounter at Brookvale Oval on Saturday night. Sick of the criticism that their season is starting to crumble once again as it has in previous years Manly I expect will lift in intensity, attitude and look to score as many points as they can early on so that they can demoralise the Roosters quickly in the hope of winning the game by half-time. That shouldn’t be a difficult objective to achieve. Chris Anderson has lost halfback Mitchell Pearce to a back injury for up to six-weeks and with most teams finding it extremely difficult to win backing up from Monday night football, the Roosters are once again at risk of being slaughtered.

SEA EAGLES: Brett Stewart, Michael Robertson, Steve Bell, Steve Menzies, Chris Hicks, Travis Burns, Matt Orford (captain), Jason King, Michael Monaghan, Brent Kite, Anthony Watmough, Glenn Stewart, Luke Williamson. Interchange: Glenn Hall, Sione Finefeuiaki, Mark Bryant, Jack Afamasaga, Adam Cuthbertson (one to be omitted) Coach: Des Hasler


ROOSTERS: Amos Roberts, John Williams, Joel Monaghan, Mitchell Aubusson, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Setaimata Sa, Craig Wing, Nate Myles, Heath L'Estrange, Danny Nutley, Anthony Tupou, Craig Fitzgibbon (captain), Braith Anasta. Interchange: David Shillington, Lopini Paea, Danny Williams, Ashley Harrison. Coach: Chris Anderson

SUNDAY

ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS v Canberra Raiders
WIN Stadium, 2pm
Referee: Sean Hampstead
GRL Tip: Raiders

Nathan Brown will clearly have been pleased by the result of two games in round 16. The Dragons win over Manly was well-timed while the Roosters loss to the Dogs on Monday night helped the red and white army climb 1 spot on the NRL competition ladder. SGI finally have their best chance of scoring a back to back win for the first time this year when they play a Raiders outfit which has lost their last three. The good news for Raiders mentor Neil Henry is that his side has only lost by an average of 4.6 points in those games and they probably aren’t far off from a win. A change of goal kicker could be what Henry needs to order. A 50/50 game this one.

DRAGONS: Ben Hornby (captain), Jason Nightingale, Chase Stanley, Matt Cooper, Josh Morris, Rangi Chase, Jamie Soward, Justin Poore, Simon Woolford, Dan Hunt, Beau Scott, Chris Houston, Ben Creagh. Interchange: Adam Peek, Corey Payne, Lagi Setu, Ben Ellis, Keith Lulai (one to be omitted). Coach: Nathan Brown

RAIDERS: William Zillman, David Milne, Marshall Chalk, Colin Best, Bronx Goodwin, Terry Campese, Todd Carney, Troy Thompson, Lincoln Withers, Scott Logan, Neville Costigan, Josh Miller, Glen Turner. Interchange: Ryan Hin - Read More, Here