Manly Warringah Sea Eagles vs. North Queensland Cowboys
4 Pines Park, 6:00pm, Friday June 11
Prediction: Tom Trbojevic was electric in Origin and earns a much deserved rest, with Dylan Walker the new fullback. It’ll be interesting to see how the Sea Eagles go without their star fullback, the club looking like wooden spoon contenders without him earlier this season. Daly Cherry-Evans and Jake Trbojevic will take their spots, while Val Holmes and 18th man Coen Hess will both back up.
If this were in Townsville, the Cowboys nearly become favourites, that’s how important Turbo is to this team. Younger brother Ben gets another crack after play 90 seconds on debut. It’s going to be a battle through the middle, with both sides possessing some classy backs. The big difference comes in the halves, Scott Drinkwater is in great touch but has never partnered Dearden in the halves, while Foran and DCE first played together a decade ago. It’s the little combinations that will get Manly over the stripe here. Manly by 8.
Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, 7:55pm, Friday June 11
Team News: Andrew Fifita returns to the side in place of Frank Pele.
Nathan Cleary, Jarome Luai, Kurt Capewell, Brian To’o and Isaah Yeo are all rested, with Liam Martin the only Origin player to take place. Api Koroisau returns, bumping Mitch Kenny to the bench and Jaeman Salmon out of the side. Moses Leota is also back from suspension, pushing Spencer Leniu to the bench and Lindsay Smith out.
Prediction: Charlie Staines alert! The kid has scored seven tries in two games against the Sharks, and will be out for blood again, though the task gets harder without the majority of the Origin stars. They struggled without Luai and Cleary last weekend, losing by 20 to the Tigers, and making this clash a flip of a coin.
The Sharks have a newfound sense of solidarity, and were really strong in their last up match against the Titans, close to the best we’ve seen from Matt Moylan in two or three years. If the Panthers are to lose this, they’re in real danger of dropping to second on the ladder. This will go down to the wire, Tyrone May really struggled at halfback last week, don’t be surprised if Api Koroisau moves to halfback with Mitch Kenny at hooker, and Tyrone May the utility. The Panthers still have a stack of class in their side and should get past Cronulla – narrowly. Penrith by 4.
Cbus Super Stadium, 3:00pm, Saturday June 12
Team News: AJ Brimson replaces Jayden Campbell, David Fifita replaces Sam Stone, while Moe Fotuaika and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui come in at prop and lock, pushing Jaimin Joliffe and Sam McIntyre to the bench, and Joseph Vuna and Jai Whitbread drop out. Fotuaika however has copped a suspension from Origin.
Prediction: The Titans were valiant last week without their stars, only falling by a converted try to Melbourne, though they were missing half a dozen starters of their own. Their defence apart from last week though has been diabolical at times, they lack grit. The tough stuff. The stuff that the Roosters will punish you for lacking. The Chooks only Origin rep in James Tedesco is backing up, spelling even more pain for the Titans.
David Fifita is a freak but it’s Moe Fotuaika that has starred the last few weeks, and with him suspended, things aren’t looking good for the Gold Coast. Jared Warea-Hargreaves plays NRL match 250 and expect him to celebrate in style. After a few weeks rest, Sam Walker should be freshened, and star. Expect the halfback to come up trumps as he and Teddy leave their side to a big win. Roosters by 28.
Stadium Australia, 5:30pm, Saturday June 12
Team News: The Rabbitohs have rested Dane Gagai and Jai Arrow, with neither Queenslander named on Tuesday. Mark Nicholls has been named to start at prop while Braidon Burns starts at centre. Jacob Host has been named in the back-row, with Jayn Su’A rejoining the bench.
Prediction: The Knights really, really, really need Daniel Safiti to ack up here if they’re in with a shot. It’s looking like Damien Cook and Cameron Murray may miss the clash, though Latrell and Jaydn Su’A should suit up. Wayne Bennet will be hoping he sees the side that thrashed Parramatta the week before, not the one that turned up against Penrith.
Newcastle were embarrassed on Old Boy’s day by the Eels, but the troops aren’t their yet. Mitchell Pearce and Kalyn Ponga are both at least a week away, but the club needs to take advantage of the Rabbitohs if they are missing Damien Cook and Cameron Murray – both key losses to their middle third. Plenty of points in this clash, Souths have enough class to handle, especially if it’s the Knights team that ran out last week. Rabbitohs by 10.
GIO Stadium, 7:35pm, Saturday June 12
Team News: Josh Papalii returns for Ryan James at prop, while Joseph Tapine replaces Corey Horsburgh on the bench. Matthew Timoko comes in for the stood down Curtis Scott, and Caleb Aekins has been dropped at fullback, shifting Bailey Simonsson back there and Semi Valemi on the wing.
Karmichael Hunt plays his first game in 12 years for Brisbane, replacing Tyson Gamble in the halves. Jamayne Isaako misses out, Herbie Farnworth shifting to custodian and Dale Copley is recalled at centre. Albert Kelly is in doubt.
Prediction: Finally, the troops return for Canberra as they get internationals in Papalii and Tapine back. Both these sides are dreadfully inconsistent. Brisbane defeated the Roosters then conceded 40 the next week, if that’s not wavy form then I don’t know what is. The Raiders have been the underperformers of 2021 but with the George Williams saga concluded and some fresh blood in the side, they’re a massive chance here.
Karmichael Hunt brings question marks to the side, where his form lies compared to his last NRL game in 2009. Jack Wighton will be itching to make an impact after only a handful of minutes in Origin. Josh Papalii will be eager to reclaim his spot after missing Game I through suspension, there’s no doubt there’s motivation for both these sides. If Ricky Stuart can nail the balance of Josh Hodgson and Tom Starling, the Raiders will snare a crucial and rare victory. Canberra by 14.
Central Coast Stadium, 2:00pm, Sunday June 13
Team News: Reece Walsh‘s suspension sees Roger Tuivasa-Sheck return to fullback, Edward Kosi the new winger. Eli Katoa is replaced by Bayley Sironen, and Adam Pompey is out, with Rocco Berry the new centre.
Prediction: New Zealand are set to get a massive boost in the shape of a returning Addin Fonua-Blake, but even he might not be enough here. The Warriors are boosted by the announcement of a return to New Zealand for a match in a few weeks, but there’s still disruptions for the Warriors. Ken Maumalo may be out the door, and Reece Walsh is missing this clash. Melbourne? They’ve named all five Origin reps to back up.
Melbourne tore this side to shreds on ANZAC Day, scoring over 40 in a massive win. The Warriors will surely want to avenge the loss, but with so much star power on the park it’s looking unlikely. They’ll face future Warrior in Aaron Pene, who lines up on the bench for Melbourne. They grow a leg on the Central Coast, but it won’t be enough, Nicho Hynes will run amok in his home town. Melbourne by 20.
Bankwest Stadium, 4:05pm, Sunday June 13
Prediction: Wests Tigers will be brimming knowing they ended Penrith’s winning streak, but must accept the fact that the club was missing six to Origin and starting prop to suspension. Parramatta, who only lost one player to rep footy, dominated the Knights at home. They fought out a high-scoring affair earlier in the year, the Eels victorious.
There’s a good little rivalry between the clubs, former Tiger Mitchell Moses always prime to play his previous club. There’s normally some niggle between the clubs as well, Shawn Blore and Nathan Brown squaring off in Blore’s debut last year. Reed Mahoney is a huge loss but the Eels still have Gutherson, Dylan Brown and Ryan Matterson in that run on side, there’s too much strike from the boys in blue and gold. Parramatta by 16.
Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs vs. St. George Illawarra Dragons
Stadium Australia, 4:05pm, Monday June 14
The Dragons are unchanged, with Tariq Sims among the reserves.
Prediction: In a hard round to tip, you’d think this clash is clear cut. It’s not. These sides have a rivalry as well, the annual June long weekend clash, these sides love to beat each other. And while the Red V scored over 50 last week, it was against a very depleted Brisbane side. The Bulldogs have been building slowly, the results don’t reflect it but the effort does.
They need to sort out what’s happening with Matt Dufty. They say they’re happy to get rid of him but he’s their best player in the opposition red zone. Their attack is structured around him, he just makes things happen. Between the speed and the cut out balls, they must keep him. The Bulldogs welcome back a key asset in Marshall-King, there’s something about them this week that screams upset. Luke Thompson to have a blinder in one of the underdog victories of the year. Bulldogs by 6.