NRL Preview: English battle in Raiders-Rabbitohs, Hall could return, Sims is back

We’ve taken an in-depth look into round 10 of the NRL campaign… 

Melbourne Storm v Wests Tigers

Last week, Storm decimated an Eels side that had no answer for the 2018 NRL runners-up in a 64-10 demolition. The standout win will be just what the doctor ordered for coach Craig Bellamy, with Storm’s full-back and wingers getting the job done and they can do that again here if given the room.

The Tigers will definitely be hoping they can translate their first half performance against the Panthers in which they scored five tries inside the first 20 minutes. If the Tigers want to come away with this one, then it will have to do a lot with the veteran connection between Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah.

Team news: Unfortunate injuries to duo Jahrome Hughes and Curtis Scott mean that Ryan Papenhuyzen and Marion Seve both come into the Melbourne starting 13.

After missing Magic Round due to a concussion, Josh Aloiai returns to the starting fold for the Tigers.

Penrith Panthers v New Zealand Warriors

Is the Panthers’ season already over? Well, you would be hard pressed to find anyone who may say no to this. It remains difficult times for Penrith as they succumbed to another loss last week, this time to the Tigers. The pieces do not seem to be coming together for Ivan Cleary’s men and are a far cry away from the team that many were tipping to place in the top four this season. There remains another 15 rounds for the Panthers to try and conjure some form of stability and now they face the Warriors and their free-flowing attacking talent but they are still rather inconsistent in nature.

Team news: A host of changes for the Panthers sees Dylan Edwards, Brian To’o, Waqa Blake and Liam Martin all named to start, with Blake returning after being dropped last week due to disciplinary reasons and Martin coming back after a one-week suspension. Sione Katoa is named at hooker, while Wayde Egan, Josh Mansour and Reagan Campbell-Gillard faced the axe.

There are no noteworthy changes for the Warriors after winning last week.

Brisbane Broncos v Sydney Roosters

After coming under much scrutiny recently over his side’s start to season, Anthony Seibold decided enough was enough and made a huge judgment call to drop three big names from the Broncos’ starting line-up. The pair of James Roberts and Jamayne Isaako both missed out last week, while powerhouse forward Tevita Pangai Jnr had to make do with a bench role. However, the move seemed to prove fruitful in the end as Brisbane stepped up to the plate with skipper Darius Boyd and half-back Anthony Milford helping secure a 26-10 win over a depleted Manly side.

The ultimate test lays in front of them now though, facing the Roosters who are in a form of cruise control right now, sitting top the ladder.

Team news: The injury to Jack Bird (knee) means Gehamat Shibasaki moves to the centre spot while Jamayne Isaako returns on the wing after being omitted last week for the Broncos. James Roberts and new signing James Segeyaro are named on the reserves.

Two changes for the Roosters sees Mitchell Aubusson come into back-row for Boyd Cordner (concussion), while Ryan Hall looks to make his way back from an ACL injury he suffered at Leeds last year after being named amongst the reserves for the first time this season.

Gold Coast Titans v Canterbury Bulldogs

The Titans certainly came out with some fire in their bellies against Cronulla in the opening game of last week’s Magic Round but were ultimately undone after a strong second half from the Sharks. The injury curse seems to have hit the NRL at the moment and has certainly hit the Titans in difficult spots as captain Ryan James remains out.

Both teams have had their difficulties this season, sitting right at the bottom of the ladder, despite some rather spirited performances this season. The failure to see out a game has been the main issue but here you would expect the need to deliver against a team as lowly ranked as themselves.

Team news: Tyrone Roberts makes a welcome return at stand off for the Titans, while AJ Brimson is named at full-back in place of Michael Gordon (leg). Moeaki Fotuaika is named at prop and Shannon Boyd is on the bench.

The Bulldogs see Keiran Foran and Jack Cogger switch at six and seven and Corey Harawira-Naera returns in the second-row after missing Magic Round due to personal reasons. At loose forward, Danny Fualolo comes in for Adam Elliot. Lachlan Lewis and Kerrod Holland are named in the reserves.

North Queensland Cowboys v Parramatta Eels

The Eels were left to lick their wounds following a comprehensive loss to Melbourne and will want to make sure that does not happen here.  If Parramatta want to bounce back then it may lie within the performances of Mitch Moses, Blake Ferguson or Clint Gutherson.

The return of Jason Taumalolo seems to have revitalised the Cowboys, despite the loss to the Rabbitohs last weekend. The key to victory here for the Queensland side will be no doubt be down to the Tongan wrecking ball’s influence alongside the impact of Michael Morgan in the halves.

Team news:  The Cowboys name Jake Granville as hooker and Kurt Baptiste amongst the bench. However, coach Paul Green made the decision to swap both players right before kick-off last week, so we could see the same here.

Reshuffling for the Eels has George Jennings on the wing for the suspended Maika Sivo, while Josh Hoffman and Will Smith are named to start at centre and stand-off retrospectively. Teapi Moeroa and Peni Terepo move to the bench as Manu Ma’u and Reed Mahoney take their place.

Canberra Raiders v South Sydney Rabbitohs

The pick of the games this weekend sees the Raiders face a Sydney team for the second week in a row after losing out to the Roosters last week. Once again, it is a match-up between two teams inside the top four and it is another enticing game between two of the league’s form sides this year.

The Rabbitohs are seemingly the Roosters’ biggest contenders at the moment, sitting in second place and tied on the same amount of points as the Chooks. The half-back combination of Cody Walker and Adam Reynolds remains vital to the Rabbitohs’ chances, however, it is certainly going to be an interesting watch as the Burgess brothers go toe-to-toe with a trio of their fellow Englishmen in Josh Hodgson, Elliott Whitehead and Ryan Sutton – a battle that will be integral to the outcome of this game.

Team news: The Raiders pretty much remain the same team that lost out to the Roosters with only change seeing Bailey Simonssen slot in on the wing to replace Jordan Rapana (knee).

It may a similar case once again between George Burgess and Junior Tatola as the past six rounds have seen them swapped close to kick off at the prop position. Corey Allan makes his way to full-back due to injury of Alex Johnston (Knee), with Mawene Hiroti on the wing in only his second ever NRL game.

St George Illawarra Dragons v Newcastle Knights

After plenty of struggles to start the season, the Knights are now seemingly on a fast track to success and are more like the team plenty of people were tipping to make top four this season. A great attacking outfit has come to life in recent weeks, with Mitchell Pearce, David Klemmer and Kalyn Ponga all finding an extra gear. If St George Illawarra want to come away with a win then their defence will need tighten up as in the last few weeks, they have allowed their opponents to get right back into a game that looked a cruise for the Dragons.

Team news: Despite suffering a broken arm at the start of April, Korbin Sims has been named amongst the reserves for the Dragons.

Newcastle coach Nathan Brown can take pride and comfort in naming the exact same 17 as last week.

Cronulla Sharks v Manly Sea Eagles

Despite no Shaun Johnson, the Sharks still look like ones to keep their eye on following their fifth win of the season. Cronulla have had some injury worries with the likes of Johnson and Aaron Woods still out, but there is still plenty of bright spots within the side. A collection of young talent in Briton Nikora, Chad Townsend and an electrifying Bronson Xerri have stood tall and have been great additions to a side that sits right in the top eight picture.

Manly are no stranger to the injury curse themselves. No Daly Cherry-Evans has presented a slight problem in the half-back positions for the Sea Eagles. However, the Sea Eagles are still sit in a healthy league position, despite losing out to the Broncos in the Magic Round. A real toss up, this one.

Team news: The return of trio Jorge Taufua, Addin Fonua-Blake and Lachlan Croker will provide a huge boost to a Manly side that’s had its injury concerns this season.

There are no changes to Sharks outfit that beat Gold Coast last week.

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