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NRL preview panel for round 10

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 10/05/2017 Matt Encarnacion and Steve Zemek

PREVIEW OF NRL ROUND-10 MATCHES (all times AEST):

THURSDAY May 11:

Canterbury v North Queensland at ANZ Stadium, 7.50pm

Head to head: Bulldogs 21 Cowboys 14

Last clash: Round 25, 2016 - Cowboys 24 bt Bulldogs 16 at Belmore Sports Ground

TAB: Bulldogs $1.57 Cowboys $2.40 Draw $21

FootyTAB: Cowboys +4

Both sides go into the clash without their key playmaker. Johnathan Thurston is missing for the Cowboys, while Josh Reynolds is out for the Bulldogs. After a strong start to the year, the Cowboys have lost three of our their past four. The inclusion of fullback Lachlan Coote and hooker Jake Granville will make a big difference. While for Des Hasler's Bulldogs, they've hardly set the world on fire but keep on winning. They've lost just once in their past five starts. Matt Frawley will assume the playmaking duties with Reynolds out after making every post a winner in his elevation to top grade.

Key: Will Thurston's absence be a telling factor? The Cowboys have won just three of their past 14 without their skipper.

Tip: Bulldogs

FRIDAY May 12:

St George Illawarra v Cronulla at UOW Jubilee Oval, 6.00pm

Head to head: Dragons 20 Sharks 18 Draw 1

Last clash: Round 3, 2017 - Dragons 16 bt Sharks 10 at Shark Park

TAB: Dragons $3.00 Sharks $1.40

FootyTAB: Dragons +7.5

Are the Dragons contenders or pretenders? We'll find out a lot over the next few weeks while Gareth Widdop and Josh Dugan are out. After losing their past two, they're slowly slipping down the ladder. They need something special out of their much-vaunted pack if they're to keep their heads above water. The Sharks meanwhile just keep on keeping on despite looking pretty ordinary at times. They have the competition's worst completion rate and concede the most penalties but the defending premiers keep finding a way to win.

Key: Who budges first? This match pits the competition's best attack (Dragons) against the best defence (Sharks).

Tip: Sharks

Wests Tigers v South Sydney at ANZ Stadium, 7.50pm

Head to head: Tigers 14, Rabbitohs 15

Last clash: Round 1, 2017 - Tigers 34 bt Rabbitohs 18 at ANZ Stadium

TAB: Tigers $2 Rabbitohs $1.80

FootyTAB: Tigers +1.5

Are the Tigers toothless without captain Aaron Woods? They've lacked punch when he's been on the sideline this year and usually him coming to the interchange bench has coincided with the opposition gaining the upper hand. He's out for several weeks with a hamstring injury and, while the side have shown positive signs under new coach Ivan Cleary, that could all be undone. As for the Rabbitohs, they're desperately searching for something after their last-start flogging by Manly. Cody Walker is rumoured to be set to move into fullback in an attempt to ignite their attack. Winger Aaron Gray could return from injury.

Key: James Tedesco and Mitchell Moses have been booed by their own fans in recent weeks but must take control of the side.

Tip: Rabbitohs

SATURDAY May 13:

Penrith v Warriors at Pepper Stadium, 3.00pm

Head to head: Panthers 20, Warriors 16, Draw 1

Last clash: Round 21, 2016 - Warriors 20 bt Panthers 16

TAB: Panthers $1.68 Warriors $2.20

FootyTAB: Warriors +2.0

It's now or never for the Panthers. If they lose here, they're 2-8 and will need to win 10 of their last 14 to make the finals - an improbable proposition. The Panthers are out to avoid losing six straight for the first time since 2002. James Fisher-Harris (shoulder) is a big in and will give the Panthers' pack some starch. They hold a strong record against the Warriors having won six or their past eight meetings. The Warriors continue to be Jekyll and Hyde-like. They have won all four of their home matches this year and lost all four away games.

Key: How will Warriors playmaker Kieran Foran react after announcing he's leaving the club at the end of the season?

Tip: Warriors

Melbourne v Gold Coast at Suncorp Stadium, 5.30pm

Head to head: Storm 11 Titans 5

Last clash: Round 9, 2016 - Storm 38 bt Titans 0 at Cbus Super Stadium

TAB: Storm $1.37 Titans $3.10 Draw $23

FootyTAB: Titans +7.5

Two clubs caught at the centre of this week's cocaine crisis, with the Storm's Jesse Bromwich banned for two weeks and the Titans' Kevin Proctor suspended for four after their alleged drug use following the Kiwis' Test loss to Australia. The loss of Bromwich adds to a forward crisis at Melbourne, who are also without Christian Welch (ACL) and Nelson Asofa-Solomona (hand) but do get Tohu Harris back from a broken leg.

Key: Will Jarryd Hayne find yet another level as he strives for an Origin return?

Tip: Storm

Manly v Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium, 7.50pm

Head to head: Sea Eagles 21 Broncos 20 Drawn 1

Last clash: Round 10, 2016 - Broncos 30 bt Sea Eagles 6 at Suncorp Stadium

TAB: Sea Eagles $2.35 Broncos $1.60 Draw $21

FootyTAB: Sea Eagles +3.5

Manly will host the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium despite getting pumped 30-6 last season in the corresponding "home" fixture. This time though, they enter the match in red-hot form, scrapping together three straight wins against the Broncos' own four-game run. James Roberts (ankle) could be a late inclusion for the Broncos despite suffering an ankle injury in their last-start win over Penrith.

Key: The battle between Daly Cherry-Evans and Anthony Milford worth admission alone.

Tip: Broncos

SUNDAY May 14:

Newcastle v Canberra at McDonald Jones Stadium, 2.00pm

Head to head: Knights 18 Raiders 25 Drawn 2

Last clash: Round 17, 2016 - Raiders 29 bt Knights 25 at GIO Stadium

TAB: Knights $5.25 Raiders $1.16 Draw $34

FootyTAB: Knights +14.5

They produced a golden-point thriller in their most-recent meeting, but all signs point to a Raiders walkover given the Knights' seven-game losing streak. Axed skipper Trent Hodkinson could make a return after being named on an extended bench, with Jaelen Feeney again in the No.7. The Raiders are without Josh Papalii after being done for drink-driving, with David Taylor also named as 20th man.

Key: How will Hodkinson fare after being dropped to reserve grade for confidence issues?

Tip: Raiders

Sydney Roosters v Parramatta at Allianz Stadium, 4.00pm

Head to head: Roosters 62 Eels 62 Drawn 5

Last clash: Round 18, 2016 - Eels 22 bt Roosters 18 at Pirtek Stadium

TAB: Roosters $1.50 Eels $2.60 Draw $23

FootyTAB: Eels +5.5

On paper, the Roosters stand to get back in the winner's circle after cooling off from their red-hot start to the season and losing three of their past five. But a tricky challenge presents in arguably the most in-form team in Parramatta, who have cobbled together three straight wins. All eyes are on how the Roosters react to Shaun Kenny-Dowall's standing down due to drug charges, and Latrell Mitchell's call-up after his two-game spell in reserve grade.

Key: Will Bevan French make his long-awaited return from a knee injury?

Tip: Roosters

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