Gold Coast Titans vs. New Zealand Warriors
Cbus Super Stadium, 6:00pm, Friday June 14
Team News: Kevin Proctor and Keegan Hipgrave are out, with Tyrone Peachey and Bryce Cartwright starting in the back-row. Shannon Boyd joins the bench. The Warriors are unchanged.
Prediction: Yawn. This game doesn't exactly excite many, despite the Titans having a good win against big brother Brisbane last week. It's easily a game where Roger Tuivasa-Sheck could dominate, with a staggered and somewhat lazy defensive line. The Gold Coast have struggled to defend laterally at times, so don't be surprised to see RTS skip along from one sideline to another, looking for a gap. After being punished by Melbourne last week, the Warriors will win this one. Warriors by 14.
North Queensland Cowboys vs. Wests Tigers
1300SMILES Stadium, 7:55pm, Friday June 14
Team News: Enari Tuala moves into the centres, with Javid Bowen on the wing and Mitch Dunn out injured. Scott Bolton will start at prop with Jordan MacLean out, Reuben Cotter drops to the reserves, with Kurt Baptiste and Corey Jensen joining the bench. Moses Mbye has been named in the centres, with Corey Thompson at fullback and Robert Jennings on the wing.
Prediction: Michael Maguire hates losing, and he'll hate being on the wrong end of a 28-0 scoreline. 'Madge' will be flogging his team all week this week, they'll be ready. Jason Taumalolo had more post-contact metres than any Wests Tigers forward had metres last week, and could tear them apart up the middle. This will be a point-scoring affair, but it'll be Wests that manage an upset victory away from home Tigers by 6.
Melbourne Storm vs. Newcastle Knights
AAMI Park, 3:00pm, Saturday June 15
Team News: Melbourne is unchanged. Newcastle welcome back Kalyn Ponga, whose inclusion sees Kurt Mann shift to five-eighth and Mason Lino drop to the reserves. Josh King replaces Pasami Saulo on the bench.
Prediction: Unfortunately, this is the week that Newcastle's winning streak ends. The Knights have been good for so long now, but Melbourne is the form team right now, and their class will show. Ponga is back and will combine with Pearce, but names like Munster and Kaufusi will punish Newcastle, as will young Papenhuyzen off the bench. They've gone clear on the top of the table, and will want to stay there. Melbourne by 20.
South Sydney Rabbitohs vs. Penrith Panthers
ANZ Stadium, 5:30pm, Saturday June 15
Team News: Cody Walker replaces Connor Tracey at five-eighth, while Kyle Turner's return in the centres sees Dane Gagai shift to the wing and Mawene Hiroti drop out. Tom Burgess and Sam Burgess are out. Liam Knight starts at prop with Tom Amone joining the bench, while Ethan Lowe starts in the back-row with Dean Britt on the bench. Penrith are 1-17.
Prediction: South Sydney looked dominant for weeks, until Origin and injuries showed up. Adam Reynolds is the glue for the Bunnies, and they looked incredibly flat when back-up half Adam Douiehi played a part. They lose Sam and Tom Burgess to injury, but regain Kyle Turner and Cody Walker. It'll be battle for the Blues' five-eighth role this week, and without so much strike power in the form of Burgess x 2, Reynolds, Burns and Johnston, Penrith will get the upset win. Panthers by 8.
Parramatta Eels vs. Brisbane Broncos
Bankwest Stadium, 7:35pm, Saturday June 15
Team News: Jaeman Salmon replaces Will Smith at five-eighth, while Nathan Brown starts at lock, Ray Stone joins the bench and Tepai Moeroa drops out. Sean O'Sullivan will make his Broncos debut in place of Tom Dearden, with Corey Oates replacing Richie Kennar on the wing, and Matt Gillett returning in place of Alex Glenn.
Prediction: This will be a tight affair. Both sides had disappointing losses last week, with injuries to the spine taking away from both clubs. Brisbane have lost Dearden to an ankle injury, while Gutherson went down in the opening set with concussion for Parramatta. The Broncos regain their Origin stars bar Ofahengaue, but Nathan Brown is a huge in at lock for the Eels, and they'll snag a win another win at Bankwest. Parramatta by 2.
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles vs. St George Illawarra Dragons
Lottoland, 2:00pm, Sunday June 16
Team News: Both sides are unchanged.
Prediction: Corey Norman is back, and so are the Dragons! They put Canterbury to the sword last week, but Manly wasn't too shabby, defeating the Cowboys in Townsville is no easy task. Tom Trbojevic and Cherry-Evans are huge for the Sea Eagles, and a sunny Sunday arvo at Lottoland will be just the tonic Manly need to get a back-to-back win. Manly by 10.
Sydney Roosters vs. Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs
SCG, 4:00pm, Sunday June 16
Team News: Latrell Mitchell and Angus Crichton return. Mitchell's return sees Aubusson drop to the bench, as does Tupouniua for Crichton. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak will start in the centres, with Marcelo Montoya shifting to the wing and Christian Crichton dropped. Corey Harawira-Naera comes onto the bench for Ofahiki Ogden.
Prediction: This could get ugly. The Roosters are destined for another top four, possibly top two finish, while Canterbury appears certain to collect the wooden spoon with the displays they're putting on. Latrell Mitchell will have some fire in his belly after all the media scrutiny and a poor Origin performance, he'll give Will Hopoate a bath. The Bulldogs love a tough grind, but the Roosters will put this out of doubt early. Roosters by 16.
Point To Prove: Latrell Mitchell. The New South Wales centre had a shocker up against Will Chambers in State of Origin, but he'll be fired up this week, and who better to take it out on then last-placed Canterbury. Mitchell has even had some members of the media call for his dropping from Game II. He'll use this game to silence the critics.
Struggle Street: Mitchell Moses. Signs a $2.5 million contract, a few hours later he's being criticised for a poor performance against Cronulla. Moses has had a bad habit of only really showing up at Bankwest lately, and needs a big game away from home. He'll take on Anthony Milford at the Eels' home ground this week, and needs to build some consistency.
Rookie Watch: Tom Amone. This monster prop is a ready-made replacement for the Burgess brothers. The former Sea Eagle has been named to make his debut from the bench for the Rabbitohs. The 22-year-old front-rower is as big as he is aggressive, this is a big audition for Amone.
Rumour of the Week: Melbourne have lost Joe Stimson to Canterbury, but that's not the only major loss they'll be suffering. Scott Drinkwater will be a North Queensland Cowboy as soon as this weekend, Christian Welch has been speaking to South Sydney and the Bulldogs, and now young hooker Harry Grant seems all but certain to hit the exit doors at the end of this season, if not sooner. Rare Craig Bellamy loses someone he wants to keep, wonder what's happening south of the NSW border...