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globalrugbyleague - Fri, 30 Mar 2007 09:57:00 GMT
FRIDAY

GAME ONE

Brisbane V Penrith
Suncorp Stadium
KO: 8pm
Referee: Tony Archer
Television: Live 8pm QLD.

The Broncos have not started this badly to a season since they lost 5 in a row in 1999 so history could be in the making for all the wrong reasons for the Queenslanders tonight.

Form:

The halves trial is over if this week’s line-up is any indication by Wayne Bennett. Karmichael Hunt is back in the fullback spot while Shane Perry makes a return to the starting line-up.

Without Darren Lockyer, the Broncos are like a ship without a captain. They cannot win. But will Lockyer be fit enough to make a difference tonight if in fact he does return at all.

Penrith quickly turned around their form last week but can they be consistent? That’s their next challenge under new coach Mathew Elliot.

History:

Penrith have beaten the Broncos in 3 of their last five clashes and beat them both times before winning the premiership in 2003.

Forecast:

The Broncos were the worst team in round 2 for missed tackles, making 52. Defence will be improved. However the Broncos unlike the Panthers scored the first try last weekend.

Watch out for the Broncos to try and stamp their mark on this game with a big performance expected to come from Lockyer, Brent Tate & Dane Carlaw.

Back the Broncos to win between 2-10 points.

Broncos - 1. Karmichael Hunt, 2. Steve Michaels, 3. Brent Tate, 4. Justin Hodges, 5. Darius Boyd, 6. Darren Lockyer, 7. Shane Perry, 8. Dane Carlaw, 9. Shaun Berrigan, 10. Petero Civoniceva, 11. Sam Thaiday, 12. Brad Thorn, 13. Greg Eastwood Interchange - 14. Nick Kenny, 15. Ben Hannant, 16. Andrew Lomu, 17. Ian Lacey Coach: Wayne Bennett

Panthers - 1. Rhys Wesser, 2. Michael Gordon, 3. Michael Jennings, 4. Luke Lewis, 5. Luke Rooney, 6. Peter Wallace, 7. Craig Gower (c), 8. Joel Clinton, 9. Luke Priddis, 10. Frank Puletua, 11. Frank Pritchard, 12. Tony Puletua, 13. Trent Waterhouse. Interchange - 14. Junior Moors, 15. Nathan Smith, 16. Matthew Bell, 17. Paul Aiton, 18. Tim Grant Coach: Mathew Elliot.

GAME TWO

Parramatta V Wests Tigers
Parramatta Stadium
KO: 8pm
Referee: Tony Archer
Television: Live 8pm NSW

These winless sororities will be playing desperation style football tonight as they look to find some much needed fortune to get their season under way.

Form:

The Eels have been woeful in attack and have not been playing like a team with that much confidence while the Tigers are coming off their worst performance in 18 months.

Parramatta tend to only play one good half of football while the Tigers have struggled to either take the lead or control it in their past two games.

History:

The Tigers have only ever beaten the Eels at this Stadium twice and have lost 10 of their past 13 games away from home. The Eels have won their last four clashes as well.

Forecast:

Eric Grothe is a late withdrawal for Parramatta but Nathan Hindmarsh returns, so the Eels should lift in attitude and all areas of their game. But the Tigers will be quicker and will be fresher for longer periods of the game. Put your house on the Tigers by 6.


Eels - 1 Luke Burt, 2 Jarryd Hayne, 3 Ben Smith, 4 Timana Tahu, 5 Eric Grothe, 6 Brett Finch, 7 Tim Smith, 8 Nathan Cayless ©, 9 Mark Riddell, 10 Aaron Cannings, 11 Nathan Hindmarsh, 12 Chad Robinson, 13 Daniel Wagon Interchange - 14 PJ Marsh, 15 Josh Cordoba, 16 Ian Hindmarsh, 17 Todd Lowrie, 18 Feleti Mateo Coach: Michael Hagan.

Tigers - 1 Brett Hodgson ©, 2 Shannon McDonnell, 3 Dean Collis, 4 Daniel Fitzhenry, 5 Jason Moodie, 6 Benji Marshall, 7 John Morris, 8 Keith Galloway, 9 Robbie Farah, 10 Bryce Gibbs, 11 Ben Galea, 12 Todd Payten, 13 Liam Fulton Interchange - 14 Dene Halatau, 15 Chris Heighington, 16 Taniela Tuiaki, 17 Bronson Harrison Coach: Tim Sheens.

Parramatta Stadium, 8:00pm. 10:00pm on 9.Referee Steve Clark

GRL TIP: Tigers

SATURDAY

St George V North Queensland
WIN Stadium
KO: 5:30pm on Fox Sports.
Referee: Jared Maxwell

The Cowboys have roasted their last two opponents and unless the voodoo dolls amongst rival fans start working, they will be terribly difficult to contain in 2007.

Form:

Neither of these sides have really had a bad game to start off the season. The Dragons only lost by four-points last weekend and have no need to panic.

But they must improve their discipline amongst senior players to cut down on the unforced errors which virtually handed the Knights their win.

North Queensland are on a roll. The halves pairing between Johnathan Thurston and Jason Smith is working, they’re scoring tries earlier in the game and lead at half-time in their last two clashes and won.

History:

The Dragons however have won their last three clashes against the Cowboys and have only lost to the Townsville troops at this venue on one occasion (2004).

Forecast:

There is more experience in the Cowboys side plus they’ve run in 11 tries over two games while the Saints only have 5 to show. The Dragons will defend a lot more then they like to and that will limit their possession and tire them easily. The Cowboys by 8.


Dragons - 1. Josh Morris, 2. Luke MacDougall, 3. Keith Lulia, 4. Matt Cooper, 5. Wes Naiqama, 6. Ben Hornby, 7. Matthew Head, 8. Justin Poore, 9. Tony Caine, 10. Jason Ryles, 11. Corey Paine (Subject to Judiciary), 12. Ashton Sims, 13. Ben Creagh
Interchange - Rangi Chase, Adam Peek, Danny Wicks, Dan Hunt, Chris Houston Coach: Nathan Brown.

Cowboys – 1. Matthew Bowen, 2. Brenton Bowen, 3.Ashley Graham, 4. Paul Bowman, 5. Neil Sweeney, 6. Jason Smith, 7. Johnathan Thurston (c), 8. Matthew Scott, 9. Aaron Payne (vc), 10. Carl Webb, 11. Steve Southern, 12. Luke O'Donnell, 13. Justin Smith Interchange – 14. Rod Jensen, 15. Jacob Lillyman, 17. Sione Faumuina, 18. Shane Tronc, 19. Scott Bolton Coach: Graham Murray.


Cronulla V South Sydney
Toyota Park
KO: 7:30pm on Fox Sports.
Referee: Paul Simpkins

It’s the most exciting team to take the field since the Rabbitohs returned to the fold in 2002 versus the hungry, leaner and meaner Sharks under Ricky Stuart. A well-timed clash between these two.

Form:

The Sharks have been getting back to doing what they used to do best. Frustrating sides in defence over long periods.

Can’t say the defence of the Sharks has been pretty to watch. Against Penrith they looked like they were playing a Super 14’s game. But it worked and that’s all that matters.

South Sydney have played the best Rugby League in the last weeks with some of the most creative ad-lib play on the last play. More of it, please!

History:

Cronulla’s most recent win over Souths was by only two points last season while the Rabbitohs won the two games before that. A close game is on the cards.

Forecast:

If there is a coach who can quickly nullify what other teams are doing right, then it has to be Ricky Stuart (also the Kangaroos coach).

The Sharks will be desperate not to lose two in a row under Stuart for the first time and that should propel them to defend harder then what they did in round 1.

Forecast a 4-point win to the Sharks at home to spoil the party for the Rabbitohs.

Sharks - 1 Brett Kearney, 2 Fraser Anderson, 3 Ben Pomeroy, 4 Josh Hannay, 5 Luke Covell, 6 Adam Dykes, 7 Brett Kimmorley, 8 Ben Ross, 9 Kevin Kingston, 10 Luke Douglas, 11 Reece Williams, 12 Lance Thompson, 13 Greg Bird Interchange - 14 Craig Stapleton, 15 Jacob Selmes, 16 Cameron Ciraldo, 17 Isaac De Gois, 19 Dustin Cooper Coach: Ricky Stuart.

Rabbitohs - 1. David Peachey, 2. Nathan Merritt, 3. Nigel Vagana, 4. Shannon Hegarty, 5. Paul Mellor, 6. Jeremy Smith, 7. Joe Williams, 8. Peter Cusack (c), 9. Daniel Irvine, 10. Roy Asotasi, 11. David Kidwell (c), 12. David Fa’alogo, 13. John Sutton Interchange - 14. Shane Rigon, 15. Dean Widders, 16. Luke Stuart, 17. Scott Geddes Coach: Jason Taylor.


SUNDAY

GAME ONE

Melbourne V New Zealand
Olympic Park
KO: 12:00 on Fox Sports.
Referee: Shayne Hayne

If you had to pick which two teams are contenders for a Grand Final appearance this early in the season, these two teams would strongly fit into the calculations of many fans.

Form:

The Storm has not been held back by the addition of some very talented youth in their side nor has the loss of Jake Webster and Scott Hill affected them. They buy great replacements who are equally as talented as their predecessors.

Melbourne have won from in-front and behind so far this season and that’s good for coach Craig Bellamy. It keeps the team on it’s toes and makes the mentality of the team stronger.

New Zealand have found some groove in their halves pairing of Michael Witt and Grant Rovelli, the forwards are harder to stop then last season and play for the full eighty minutes.

History:

The Warriors were the only side to defeat the Storm at home in 2006. Both sides have only ever drawn 1 game - Read More, Here