You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

NRL preview panel for round 16

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 22/06/2017 Matt Coughlan

FRIDAY June 23:

Warriors v Canterbury at Mt Smart Stadium, 6pm

Head to head: Warriors 13, Bulldogs 20, drawn 2

Last clash: Round 3, 2017 - Bulldogs 24 bt Warriors 12 at Forsyth Barr Stadium

TAB: Warriors $1.50 Bulldogs $2.60

FootyTAB: Bulldogs +5.5

Canterbury star Brett Morris has been ruled out with a knee injury, while fellow NSW State of Origin players David Klemmer and Josh Jackson boarded the flight to New Zealand. The Warriors have lost star playmaker Kieran Foran who has succumbed to a quad injury and misses the chance to face his future club. The Warriors are looking to continue their strong record during the Origin period. It's 11th v 12th, with both sides one win outside the top eight. Canterbury responded emphatically to heavy criticism before the bye, but they've been hot and cold all year.

Key: Can the Warriors cope with the loss of the Kiwi playmaker?

Tip: Warriors

Wests Tigers v Gold Coast at Campbelltown Stadium, 7.50pm

Head to head: Tigers 7, Titans 10

Last clash: Round 23, 2016 - Titans 19 bt Tigers 18 at Campbelltown Stadium

TAB: Tigers $2.20 Titans $1.67

FootyTAB: Tigers +2.5

Tigers star fullback James Tedesco is set to miss with an ankle injury he suffered in Origin II but skipper Aaron Woods is likely to back up. Both sides have suffered this season from leaky defences, with the Tigers slumping to the bottom of the ladder with six-straight defeats. Meanwhile, the Titans have lost four on the trot but will be hoping the return of Origin stars Jarryd Hayne, Nathan Peats and Jarrod Wallace can end the dismal streak.

Key: Can the Tigers defend the Titans' attack which was able to put 38 points on Melbourne a little more than a month ago?

Tip: Titans

SATURDAY June 24

North Queensland v Penrith at 1300SMILES Stadium, 3pm

Head to head: Cowboys 16, Panthers 18

Last clash: Round 6, 2016 - Cowboys 23 bt Panthers 18 at Pepper Stadium

TAB: Cowboys $1.90, Panthers $1.90

FootyTAB: Panthers +4.5

With effectively one arm, Johnathan Thurston put in one of the most-memorable performances in Origin history. But another representative injury has robbed the Cowboys of their superstar in what should have been his 300th NRL game. The Panthers are hunting a fifth-straight victory, with the streak rescuing their finals hopes from the brink of ruin. It's a crucial seventh-versus-eighth showdown with both sides jostling to cement themselves in the top eight. Panthers skipper Matt Moylan has been damaging since moving into the halves, with Penrith piling on 62 points in two matches with him at five-eighth.

Key: Can the Cowboys, minus Thurston, stop the Panthers racking up a fifth-straight win?

Tip: Panthers

Canberra v Brisbane at GIO Stadium, 5.30pm

Head to head: Raiders 19, Broncos 28, drawn 1

Last clash: Round 4, 2017 - Broncos 13 bt Raiders 12 at Suncorp Stadium

TAB: Raiders $1.63, Broncos $2.30

FootyTAB: Broncos +3.5

The Green Machine have made close defeats a habit this year, including in round four against the Broncos. They look a long way off the premiership contenders they were touted as before a ball was kicked, but face the Broncos at home and days after Darius Boyd, Matt Gillett and Josh McGuire played Origin. Boyd is out with a broken thumb but, on the plus side for Brisbane, Corey Oates and Sam Thaiday's omission from the Queensland side has given them two weeks off. The Raiders get back Test prop Shannon Boyd from a knee injury, while the Broncos remain without star playmaker Anthony Milford and Ben Hunt returns to the bench.

Key: Every loss has heightened the Raiders' desperation but they can't seem to get over the line. Is this the week they finally kick into gear?

Tip: Broncos

Sydney Roosters v Melbourne at Adelaide Oval, 7.30pm

Head to head: Roosters 14, Storm 18

Last clash: Round 5, 2017 - Roosters 21 bt Sharks 16 at Eden Park

TAB: Roosters $2.15, Storm $1.72

FootyTAB: Roosters +2.5

The first NRL match in Adelaide since 2011 is a top-of-the-table clash between two sides licking their wounds from State of Origin. The Storm can put six points between them and the Roosters with a victory, while the Tri-colours can shave the deficit to one game. Melbourne will be without Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith and Will Chambers. NSW captain Boyd Cordner (calf) will not play for the Roosters while Blake Ferguson, Mitchell Pearce and Dylan Napa are expected to line up.

Key: Can the Storm overcome the loss of the big three and Chambers to further assert their dominance over the chasing pack?

Tip: Storm

SUNDAY June 25

St George Illawarra v Newcastle at UOW Jubilee Oval, 2pm

Head to head: Dragons 23, Knights 10

Last clash: Round 26, 2016 - Dragons 28 bt Knights 26 at UOW Jubilee Oval

TAB: Dragons $1.20, Knights $4.50

FootyTAB: Knights +12.5

The Dragons won't get a better opportunity to arrest their decline than against lowly Newcastle at Kogorah. Tyson Frizell is long odds to play with a rib injury he suffered in Origin II. Losses to Parramatta and Canterbury have brought the Red V back down to earth after a blistering start to the season. They need to get their faltering attack back on track after scoring 12 points in their past two matches. The Knights have rarely gone down without a fight this season, but their 2-11 record shows the gulf in class between them and the majority of the competition.

Key: Are there enough points in the Dragons to hold off a dogged young Knights?

Tip: Dragons

Cronulla v Manly at Southern Cross Group Stadium, 4pm

Head to head: Sharks 24, Sea Eagles 62, drawn 2

Last clash: Round 11, 2016 - Sharks 20 bt Sea Eagles 12 at Southern Cross Group Stadium

TAB: Sharks $1.55, Sea Eagles $2.45

FootyTAB: Sea Eagles +4.5

It hasn't been pretty, but the Sharks keep finding a way to win. They haven't played in a match decided by more than a converted try for two months plus, while Manly have had the week off since edging out the Knights at home. A five-day turnaround from Origin gives Andrew Fifita and Wade Graham a good chance of rejoining the Sharks' pack, while Jack Bird, Valentine Holmes and James Maloney have also been named. The Sea Eagles lead the competition for average points scored but will have to overcome the Sharks' defence, the most miserly in the NRL.

Key: Who will prevail in a showdown between Manly's attack and Cronulla's defence?

Tip: Sharks

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon