NRL Round 6 Preview: Everything You Need To Know About Your Team’s Chances.
A huge Easter weekend of NRL is upon us with a Grand Final rematch and rivals Parramatta Eels and Wests Tigers set to face off at the new Bankwest Stadium. Here’s a look at everything you need to know about your team’s chances.
CANTERBURY BULLDOGS VS SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS – FRIDAY 19 APRIL, 6:00PM, ANZ STADIUM
A Friday night primetime match up against the Rabbitohs is the last thing the Bulldogs need right now. Canterbury were embarrassed by the Dragons last week, while the Rabbitohs withstood an early surge from the Warriors to earn their fourth win of the season.
The great thing about Souths win was their ability to weather the storm. New Zealand kept pace in the first half, but explosive runs (and tries) from Cody Walker ultimately wore the Warriors defence down.
A peak at the market suggests the Rabbitohs should have no trouble with the Dogs this week. Not only do South Sydney rank top five in points and tries so far, they’ve also won three straight over the Bulldogs dating back to 2017.
Canterbury’s biggest problem last week was lack of possession mixed with sloppy missed tackles and handling errors. It’s become a common theme for Dean Pay’s side over the last few weeks, and with an ugly 4-5 record as the underdog at home over the last 12 months, it’s hard to foresee an upset.
How To Watch:
Bulldogs: Walloped by the Dragons last week, the Bulldogs have been forced into one change, with Danny Fualalo named on the bench in place of the suspended Sauaso Sue.
Rabbitohs: Just a slight alteration to the team that beat the Warriors last week, with George Burgess in the starting lineup and Junior Tatola switching to the bench. Kyle Turner has held his starting spot in the centres, with Jacob Gagan named among the reserves.
- Canterbury has won each of its last five Friday matches as a home underdog.
- Seven of the last eight day matches between Canterbury and South Sydney have gone UNDER the total match points line.
- Sam Burgess has scored at least one try in each of South Sydney’s last three away matches.
- Josh Jackson has scored a try in two of Canterbury’s last three home matches against South Sydney.
TIP: Rabbitohs by a space!
MELBOURNE STORM VS SYDNEY ROOSTERS – FRIDAY 19 APRIL, 7:55PM, AAMI PARK
The highly anticipated grand final rematch has come at the perfect time with both teams again looking a class above through the first five weeks of the season.
The Melbourne Storm have started 5-0 as they did in their premiership season of 2017 while the Roosters are riding four consecutive wins. They will meet at AAMI Park on the evening of Good Friday, with a likely packed house to see the two premier teams of the competition who have combined to win each of the last six minor premierships.
The Storm have won 10 of their last 12 against the Roosters in Melbourne and are aided in their quest to continue that dominance by the return of Suliasi Vunivalu from suspension.
How To Watch:
Storm: Just one change for unbeaten Melbourne, with Suliasi Vunivalu returning on the wing for Sandor Earl. The Storm will be keen to take on the premiers after losing to them in last year’s grand final.
Roosters: A boost for the premiers with Jared Waerea-Hargreaves set to return after missing two games with a rib injury. JWH’s inclusion sees Zane Tetevano shifted to lock and Isaac Liu is out with a broken finger. Victor Radley left the field against the Sharks with a head gash but is good to go at hooker. Still no sign of Jake Friend (shoulder) and Brett Morris (knee).
- Melbourne has won each of its last four night matches against Sydney at AAMI Park.
- Each of Melbourne’s last seven matches have gone UNDER the total match points line.
- James Tedesco has scored at least one try in each of Sydney’s last three matches.
- Josh Addo-Carr has been the first try-scorer in two of Melbourne’s last six Friday night matches at AAMI Park.
TIP: Storm in a tight one
NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS VS NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS – SATURDAY APRIL 20, 5:30PM, MT SMART STADIUM
The Cowboys are desperate to snap their four-game losing streak with a win this week, but they’ll have their hands full with an equally hungry Warriors side looking to bounce-back from last week’s loss to Souths.
Stephen Kearney’s side didn’t do a whole lot wrong against the Bunnies, and the coach surely has to find faith in the fact his side matched the Rabbitohs with two tries in the first half.
The Cowboys also have to be proud of their effort against the Storm last week. North Queensland dominated possession at home and caught the Storm off guard with an opening Te Maire Martin try in the 11th minute. Still, North Queensland’s thin line up cost them in the end, and it’s hard to see them weathering a full 80-minutes of football against the likes of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Sam Lisone.
How To Watch:
Warriors: A big boost for Stephen Kearney’s men with Blake Green named to start after he suffered an injury minutes before kick-off last week and had to sit out. His last-minute replacement Gerard Beale has been named as a reserve.
Cowboys: Scott Bolton has been named on the bench for his first game back from an NRL suspension imposed after he pleaded guilty to common assault. Bolton’s return forces Corey Jensen to the reserves. In the backs, the experienced Justin O’Neill replaces injured winger Nene Macdonald (ankle).
- The home team has won each of New Zealand’s last 10 matches.
- Each of the last four matches between New Zealand and North Queensland have gone UNDER the total match points line.
- Ben Hampton has scored at least one try in each of his last three appearances in night matches.
- Peta Hiku has scored a try in each of New Zealand’s last three matches at Mt Smart Stadium.
- David Fusitua has scored at least one try in each of New Zealand’s last four night matches at Mt Smart Stadium.
TIP: Warriors will be too good at home.
ST GEORGE-ILLAWARRA DRAGONS VS MANLY SEA EAGLES – SATURDAY APRIL 20, 7:35PM, WIN STADIUM
Both the St. George Illawarra Dragons and Manly Sea Eagles appear to be flying, each winning their last three matches after suffering defeats in Rounds 1 and 2.
The Dragons pulled out consecutive one-point victories over the Broncos and Knights before demolishing the Bulldogs 40-4 at Jubilee Stadium on Sunday. Meanwhile, Manly has disposed of the Warriors, Rabbitohs and Knights to climb into the top eight. The Dragons have dominated the recent matchup between these sides and haven’t lost to the Sea Eagles at WIN Stadium since 2003.
With both sides cruising in their best form, it shapes to be an intriguing battle as they look to avoid losing momentum.
How To Watch:
Dragons: Good news for Dragons fans, with Paul McGregor naming exactly the same 17-man team that clicked so well in last week’s thrashing of the Bulldogs. After losing their first two games, the Dragons have steadied the ship with three straight wins.
Sea Eagles: Manly followers will also be happy that last week’s winning team has remained 100 per cent intact. Just like the Dragons, the Sea Eagles kicked off with a pair off losses before winning their past three.
- St. George Illawarra has won each of its last three matches against Manly by a margin of 13+ points.
- Mikaele Ravalawa has scored a try in each of St. George Illawarra’s last three matches.
- Timoteo Lafai has scored a try in each of St. George Illawarra’s last two matches against Manly at WIN Stadium.
- Manase Fainu has scored a try in three of Manly’s last four matches as an underdog.
GOLD COAST TITANS VS NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS – SUNDAY APRIL 21, 2:00PM, CBUS SUPER STADIUM
Garth Brennan must have breathed a big sigh of relief after the Titans broke through for their first win of the season last week against Penrith.
Perhaps the most pleasing aspect for Brennan was the fact his team came from behind twice and out-played the more fancied Panthers down the stretch for the 30-24 victory.
They rose to the occasion for veteran fullback Michael Gordon’s 250th game last week and if they can play with the same passion and commitment every week, more wins should follow.
The Knights have added pressure on themselves with last week’s home loss over to Manly and need to try to regain form against a team that won’t want to lose that winning feeling.
How To Watch:
Titans: The loss of prop Jarrod Wallace to a two-week suspension has been tempered by the return of Shannon Boyd from hamstring soreness. The only other change is on the bench where Phillip Sami replaces AJ Brimson (broken thumb).
Knights: Only one change for the Knights, with Herman Ese’ese named on the bench in place of injured back-rower Aidan Guerra. Newcastle have lost four in a row since their season-opening win over Cronulla.
- Both teams have only won 1 from their last 5 games.
- 80% of the Knights matches have gone under the total match points market this season.
- The Knights score the first try in 40% of their matches this season.
- The Titans score the first try in 0% of their matches this season
CANBERRA RAIDERS VS BRISBANE BRONCOS – SUNDAY APRIL 21, 4:05PM, GIO STADIUM
How To Watch:
Raiders: The red-hot Raiders have replaced injured back-rower Joe Tapine on the bench with Junior Collins. Aside from that Ricky Stuart has retained the same team that beat the Eels 19-0. Canberra have won four of five games and conceded just 44 points.
Broncos: Anthony Seibold has resisted making wholesale changes as the Broncos aim to halt a three-game losing skid. Payne Haas has moved from lock to prop in place of Matt Lodge (throat injury), while David Fifita is the new starting lock. Gehamat Shibasaki is the new face on the bench and James Roberts was named as a reserve.
- The Raiders score the first try in 80% of their matches this season.
- The Broncos score the first try in 40% of their matches this season.
- The Broncos average 40 total match points this season.
- Clashes at GIO Stadium average 26 total match points.
PARRAMATTA EELS VS WESTS TIGERS – MONDAY APRIL 22, 4:00PM, WESTERN SYDNEY STADIUM
It’s only round six but this Easter Monday duel should be a great test for both teams for different reasons.
The Eels went to Canberra intending to make a statement last week, only to be sent home with plenty to think about after a 19-0 shutout.
Teams make it a goal every year to avoid two losses on the trot and that’s the challenge facing Parra this week.
The Tigers got the better of the Broncos last week in a gutsy come-from-behind win and have shown they’re a team that usually won’t beat itself – not withstanding their patchy effort in round three against the Bulldogs.
How To Watch:
Eels: Two new faces on the interchange bench for Brad Arthur with 19-year-old Oregon Kaufusi and 21-year-old Ray Stone coming in for Kane Evans and David Gower who have been named as reserves. Stone made one NRL appearance in 2018 and Kaufusi has played just four games.
Wests Tigers: Not surprisingly, Michael Maguire has kept last week’s winning team intact. The fifth-placed Tigers are chasing their fourth win.
- Both teams have the first try in 60% of their matches this season.
- Both teams average over 18 points for this season.
- Both teams average over 30 total match points this season.