NRL round 8: How the teams match up

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Can anyone stop this man?: Anthony Milford is in career-best form. Photo: James BrickwoodBroncos v Rabbitohs
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Friday, 7.50pm, Suncorp Stadium

Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd 2. Corey Oates 3. Jack Reed 4. James Roberts 5. Jordan Kahu 6. Anthony Milford 7. Ben Hunt 8. Josh McGuire 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Adam Blair 11. Alex Glenn 12. Matt Gillett 13. Corey Parker (c) 14. Jarrod Wallace 15. Sam Thaiday 16. Joe Ofahengaue 17. Kodi Nikorima

Rabbitohs: 1 Greg Inglis, 2 Bryson Goodwin, 3 Kirisome Auva’a, 4 Hymel Hunt, 5 Aaron Gray, 6 Luke Keary, 7 Adam Reynolds, 8 Tom Burgess, 9 Cameron McInnes, 10 David Tyrrell, 11 Christopher Grevsmuhl, 12 Kyle Turner, 13 Sam Burgess. 14 Paul Carter, 15 Jason Clark, 16 Nathan Brown, 17 George Burgess, 18 Damien Cook

Chris Boulous writes: Adam Reynolds will play game 100 in the red and green as the Rabbitohs attempt to stop the red-hot Broncos and Anthony Milford. It’s a task easier said than done with the Rabbitohs looking tired and predictable in attack and last year’s grand finalists looking hungry and scarily are yet to produce their attacking best despite putting 50 on Newcastle.  The game is a virtual shootout for the Queensland No.1 jumper with out-of-form Greg Inglis looking to hold his spot against Darius Boyd. The Rabbitohs have won their last three games at Suncorp Stadium.

Key match-ups: Darius Boyd v  Greg Inglis, Corey Parker v Sam Burgess, Anthony Milford v Luke Keary,

Did you know: Greg Inglis used to be able to do this.

via GIPHY

Tip: Broncos by 10

UBET: Broncos $1.16, Rabbitohs $5.35

Bulldogs v Titans

Saturday, 3pm, ANZ Stadium

Bird is the word: Greg Bird makes his return for the Titans. Photo: Matt Roberts

Bulldogs: 1 Will Hopoate 2 Curtis Rona 3 Josh Morris 4 Kerrod Holland 5 Sam Perrett 6 Josh Reynolds 7 Moses Mbye 8 Aiden Tolman 9 Michael Lichaa 10 James Graham 11 Josh Jackson 12 Tony Williams 13 Greg Eastwood. 14 Sam Kasiano 15 Tim Browne 16 David Klemmer 17 Adam Elliot 19 Lloyd Perrett 21 Craig Garvey

Titans: 1. William Zillman, 2. Anthony Don, 3. Josh Hoffman, 4. Nene Macdonald4, 5. David Mead, 6. Tyrone Roberts, 7. Ashley Taylor, 8.David Shillington, 9. Nathan Friend, 10. Ryan James, 11. Zeb Taia, 12. Chris McQueen, 13. Greg Bird 14 Luke Douglas, 15 Leivaha Pulu, 16 Agnatius Paasi, 17 Kierran Moseley, 18 Eddy Pettybourne

Chris Boulous writes: It’s the hot-and-cold Bulldogs turn to be on this week and expect a much improved performance back at home. Des Hasler showed the luxury of having four quality front rowers benching Aiden Tolman and James Graham last week and the rotation policy could prove more successful than Cricket Australia’s attempt in the course of a long season with fresh legs the main priority in September. Greg Bird will be fresh after his enforced week off and his energy is what the Titans missed last week in attack. The Titans have won four out of their last five games between the two clubs.

Key match-ups: Moses Mbye v Ashley Taylor, Aiden Tolman v David Shillington, David Klemmer v Agnatius Paasi

Did you know: Greg Eastwood plays game 200 in the NRL and Luke Douglas plays his 100th game for the Titans.

Tip: Bulldogs by 8

UBET: Bulldogs $1.35, Titans $3.25

Raiders v Tigers

Saturday, 5.30pm, GIO Stadium

Pressure is on: Aidan Sezer of the Raiders looks dejected after a try. Photo: Mark Kolbe

Raiders: 1 Jack Wighton 2 Edrick Lee 3 Jarrod Croker 4 Joseph Leilua 5 Jordan Rapana 6 Sam Williams 7 Aidan Sezer 8 Shannon Boyd 9 Josh Hodgson 10 Frank-Paul Nuuausala 11 Josh Papalii 12 Elliot Whitehead 13 Shaun Fensom. 14 Kurt Baptiste 15 Luke Bateman 16 Paul Vaughan 17 Joseph Tapine 18 Clay Priest 19 Jarrad Kennedy 20 Mitch Barnett

Tigers: 1 James Tedesco 2 Josh Addo-Carr 3 Nathan Milone 4 Kevin Naiqama 5 Jordan Rankin 6 Mitchell Moses 7 Luke Brooks 8 Ava Seumanufagai 9 Robbie Farah 10 Tim Grant 11 Curtis Sironen 12 Chris Lawrence 13 Sauaso Sue.14 Josh Aloiai 15 Dene Halatau 16 Kyle Lovett 17 JJ Felise 18 Joel Edwards

Chris Boulous writes: It’s been 40 days since the Wests Tigers sang the team song and take a five-game losing streak to the nation’s capital where they surprisingly have a good record. Composure remains their biggest concern and they are yet to put together a complete 80-minute performance. The Raiders have fallen off the rails since they knocked off the Bulldogs at Belmore conceding 76 points in the last two outings. For all the attacking threats in both teams it will be a simple case of which team’s forwards win the battle up front to decide who will get the two points. The match-up of Josh Hodgson and Robbie Farah, fresh off his best game of the year, is one to look forward to.

Key match-ups: Jack Wighton v James Tedesco, Aidan Sezer v Luke Brooks, Josh Hodgson v Robbie Farah

Did you know: The Raiders are the only team in the top eight with a negative points differential.

Tip: Raiders by 6

UBET: Raiders $1.50, Wests Tigers $2.60

Cowboys v Eels

Saturday, 7.30pm, 1300 Smiles Stadium

Heading north: Can the Eels make it two from two against the Cowboys this year? Photo: Cameron Spencer

Cowboys: 1 Lachlan Coote, 2 Kyle Feldt. 3 Justin O’Neill, 4 Kane Linnett, 5 Antonio Winterstein, 6 Michael Morgan, 7 Johnathan Thurston, 8 Matt Scott, 9 Jake Granville, 10 James Tamou, 11 Gavin Cooper, 12 Ethan Lowe, 13 Jason Taumalolo.14 Rory Kostjasyn, 15 Patrick Kaufusi, 16 Scott Bolton, 17 Ben Hannant

Eels: 1 Michael Gordon, 2 Semi Radradra, 3 Michael Jennings, 4 Brad Takairangi, 5 Clinton Gutherson, 6 Corey Norman, 7 Kieran Foran, 8 Junior Paulo, 9 Nathan Peats, 10 Daniel Alvaro, 11 Manu Ma’u, 12 Beau Scott, 13 Tepai Moeroa. 14 Isaac De Gois, 15 Peni Terepo, 16 Danny Wicks, 17 Kenny Edwards

Chris Boulous writes: The Eels showed the blueprint to knock off the Cowboys –  control the ball, limit the Cowboys’ go-forward and employ a fast defensive line to limit the time of Johnathan Thurston, Michael Morgan and company. The Cowboys are a different proposition in Townsville and have a combined score of 140-32 at 1300 Smiles Stadium this year. The blue and golds last four visits to North Queensland have resulted in four losses for a combined score of 170-50. Easily the game of the round with the Eels’ title credentials getting a first-hand examination by the premiers with several Eels players getting the chance to push for representative jumpers including Junior Paulo against the Australian front row pairing of James Tamou and Matt Scott.

Key match-ups: Michael Morgan v Corey Norman, Ethan Lowe v Beau Scott, Johnathan Thurston v Kieran Foran

Did you know: The Cowboys have won 13 of their last 15 games at home.

Tip: Cowboys by 2

UBET: Cowboys$1.35, Eels $3.25

Sharks v Panthers

Sunday, 4pm, Southern Cross Stadium

Running into contention: The Sharks have quietly moved into the top four. Photo: Graham Tidy

Sharks: 1 Ben Barba 2 Sosaia Feki 3 Jack Bird 4 Ricky Leutele 5 Valentine Holmes 6 James Maloney 7 Chad Townsend 8 Andrew Fifita 9 Michael Ennis 10 Sam Tagataese 11 Jayson Bukuya 12 Wade Graham 13 Paul Gallen.14 Gerard Beale 15 Chris Heighington 16 Matt Prior 17 Luke Lewis

Panthers: 1 Matt Moylan (c) 2 Josh Mansour 3 Waqa Blake 4 Peta Hiku 5 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 6 Te Maire Martin 7 Jamie Soward 8 Leilani Latu 9 Peter Wallace 10 Reagan Campbell-Gillard 11 Bryce Cartwright 12 Isaah Yeo 13 Trent Merrin.14 Tyrone Peachey 15 Sam McKendry 16 Suaia Matagi 17 James Fisher-Harris 20 Elijah Taylor 21 Jeremey Latimore

Chris Boulous writes: Just like their team song, the Sharks continue to go up and up thanks to following rugby league principle 101: setting a good platform for the speedsters to fly. The difference this year is the Sharks have the talent to follow the good work of Paul Gallen and Michael Ennis with Ben Barba firming by the day to make the Queensland squad. The Panthers have their fair share of players pushing for representative jumpers including Matt Moylan and Bryce Cartwright and and will be confident of leaving the Shire with the two points after finally winning a close game last week. Their inability to put together a complete 80-minutes performance is a concern.

Key match-ups: Ben Barba v Matt Moylan, Andrew Fifita v Leilani Latu, Paul Gallen v Trent Merrin

Did you know:  Panthers prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard is yet to make up his mind whether he will play for Fiji or City.

Tip: Sharks by 4

UBET: Sharks $1.60, Panthers $2.35

Knights v Sea Eagles

Monday, 2pm, Hunter Stadium

Flogging: The Knights stand in the in-goal area waiting for a conversion attempt during the round seven NRL match against the Brisbane Broncos. Photo: Ian Hitchcock

Knights: 1.Dane Gagai 2.Nathan Ross 3.Sione Mata’utia 4.Pat Mata’utia 5. Akuila Uate 6. Jarrod Mullen 7. Trent Hodkinson (c) 8. Sam Mataora 9. Danny Levi 10. Daniel Saifiti 11 Tariq Sims (c) 12.Korbin Sims 13.Jeremy Smith (c) 14. Tyler Randell 15. Josh King 16.Jacob Saifiti 17.David Bhana 18 Micky Paea

Sea Eagles: 1 Brett Stewart, 2 Brayden Wiliame, 3 Jamie Lyon, 4 Steve Matai, 5 Tom Trbojevic, 6 Dylan Walker, 7 Apisai Koroisau, 8 Darcy Lussick, 9 Matt Parcell, 10 Nate Myles, 11 Tom Symonds, 12 Martin Taupau, 13 Jake Trbojevic. 14 Lewis Brown, 15 Addin Fonua-Blake 16 Brenton Lawrence, 17 17 Siosia Vave 18 Blake Leary

Chris Boulous writes: The Knights return home after a nightmare trip in Brisbane and will welcome the sight of the Sea Eagles at the Hunter having defeated them five out of their last six times at Hunter Stadium. Defence and ball control will be high on the priority list for coach Nathan Brown after his team missed 40 tackles and completed at 66 per cent last week. The Sea Eagles will enjoy the extra preparation after a hectic start to the season and continue to improve with ball in hand despite missing Daly Cherry-Evans. Jake Trbojevic can push his rep case with another strong outing.

Key match-ups: Dane Gagai v Brett Stewart, Trent Hodkinson v  Apisai Koroisau, Jeremy Smith v Jake Trbojevic

Did you know: After missing last week with injury, Jeremy Smith will play game 200 this week.

Tip: Sea Eagles by 12

UBET: Sea Eagles $1.45, Knights $2.80

Dragons v Roosters

Monday, 4pm, Allianz Stadium

Solemn: Roosters players before the Anzac Day match last year. Photo: Renee McKay

Dragons:  1. Josh Dugan, 2. Kalifa Faifai Loa, 3. Euan Aitken, 4. Timoteo Lafai, 5. Jason Nightingale, 6. Gareth Widdop, 7. Josh McCrone, 8. Leeson Ah Mau, 9. Mitch Rein, 10. Mike Cooper, 11. Tyson Frizell, 12. Joel Thompson, 13. Jack de Belin. 14. Russell Packer, 15. Will Matthews, 16. Dunamis Lui, 17. Siliva Havili

Roosters: 1 Latrell Mitchell 2 Daniel Tupou 3 Brendan Elliot 4 Blake Ferguson 5 Shaun Kenny-Dowall 6 Jayden Nikorima 7 Jackson Hastings 8 Sam Moa 9 Jake Friend (c) 10 Dylan Napa 11 Mitchell Aubusson 12 Aidan Guerra 13 Isaac Liu.  14 Kane Evans 15 Mitchell Frei 16 Eloni Vunakece 17 Connor Watson 18 Abraham Papalii

Chris Boulous writes: Arguably the biggest regular season fixture of the year, the Roosters and Dragons Anzac clash is a highlight of the rugby league calender. The game takes on extra significance with both teams struggling to start the season, however it’s not uncommon for a win on April 25 to kick-start the campaign for both teams. Despite not being named, the Roosters are still hopeful Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Boyd Cordner will make their long awaited returns to boost their forward strength. The Dragons broke their point-scoring drought and got back into the winner’s circle last week with Josh Dugan continuing his red-hot form.

Key match-ups: Josh Dugan v Latrell Mitchell, Mike Cooper v Dylan Napa, Joel Thompson v Aidan Guerra

Did you know: The Dragons have won nine out of the 15 Anzac day clashes between the two teams.

Tip: Roosters by 1

UBET: Roosters $1.78, Dragons $2.05

Storm v Warriors

Monday, 7pm, AAMI Park

Form player: Jesse Bromwich of the Storm. Photo: Getty Images

Storm:  1. Cameron Munster 2. Young Tonumaipea 3. Richard Kennar 4. Ben Hampton 5. Marika Koroibete 6. Blake Green 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith © 10. Jordan McLean 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Tohu Harris 13. Dale Finucane.14. Kenny Bromwich 15. Tim Glasby 16. Felise Kaufusi 17. Nelson Asofa-Solomona

Warriors: 1. Tuimoala Lolohea 2. David Fusitua 3. Blake Ayshford 4. Solomone Kata 5. Manu Vatuvei 6. Thomas Leuluai 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Sam Lisone 9. Issac Luke 10. Ben Matulino 11. Bodene Thompson 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Simon Mannering.  14. Jonathan Wright 15. Jacob Lillyman 16. Charlie Gubb 17. Ligi Sao.

Chris Boulous writes: Jesse Bromwich has been a one-man wrecking ball for the Storm and his battle with several of his New Zealand teammates is one to look forward to on Anzac Day. Both teams are missing their first choice No.1s but have pretty exciting replacements in Cameron Munster and Tuimoala Lolohea. Traditionally a close game with both teams matching up well with big forward packs and class at halfback and hooker – the same four that will line-up in the test match in a fortnight.

Key match-ups: Cameron Munster v Tuimoala Lolohea, Cooper Cronk v Shaun Johnson, Jesse Bromwich v Ben Matulino

Did you know: The Storm beat the Warriors 21-14 in round three.

Tip: Storm by 12

UBET: Storm $1.65, Warriors $2.25

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