NRL Preview: Farnworth at centre, Waerea-Hargreaves returns & Manly without Taupau

Zach Holland

We have previewed round six of the NRL, with every game being shown live on Sky Sports.

Thursday, June 18

Newcastle Knights v Brisbane Broncos (10:55am)

The Broncos succumbed to an agonising defeat to Manly last week, but it was still a much better effort from Anthony Seibold’s men after suffering their worst ever loss only the week before. They now face a Newcastle side whose undefeated streak came to an end on Saturday against the brick wall of Melbourne. They still a remain a highly competitive team though and the combination of Mitchell Pearce and Kalyn Ponga can easily make life difficult for Brisbane and they can solidify themselves as true contenders yet again.

Team news: The only major change for the Knights sees Lachlan Fitzgibbon make his return from injury to slot in the back-row.

Herbie Farnworth is named at centre for Brisbane with Kotoni Staggs (hamstring) ruled out. Corey Oates moves back onto the wing and Alex Glenn and Tevita Pangai Junior return to the second-row. Issac Luke could make his Broncos debut.

Friday, June 19

South Sydney Rabbitohs v New Zealand Warriors (9am)

Despite all the sacrifices made by the Warriors, they now find themselves on a roll with two wins from three games since the competition’s restart. The likes of Kodi Nikorima and Peta Hiku took full advantage of an injury hit Cowboys side to run in seven tries last week. Another big test awaits Stephen Kearney’s side though as they face a highly confident South Sydney outfit who hit back with an impressive win over Gold Coast. Even though they came under heavy criticism throughout the week, the Bunnies put together their best performance of the season so far in their win over the Titans, with the return of Cody Walker proving to be a huge boost. Also, the evolution of Latrell Mitchell at full-back continued to go in a positive direction after an inspirational display.

Team news: The Souths remain unchanged with James Roberts named in the reserves.

Warriors star David Fusitu’a may return but otherwise the side are unchanged.

Penrith Panthers v Melbourne Storm (10:55am)

The Panthers threw everything they had at Parramatta but despite leading 10-0 they just could not hold on as the Eels fought their way back to end Penrith’s undefeated start to the year. Their season credentials will be tested yet again as they now come up against a Melbourne side that was performing as if it was business as usual in their win over the Knights, with a vintage display from Cameron Smith. The Victoria side can make it three wins in a row here and it looks as if history is on their side too as they have beaten the Panthers on 18 of the last 20 occasions.

Team news: Kurt Capewell’s injury means Liam Martin is named in the back-row while Dylan Edwards makes his return at full-back for Penrith.

Brandon Smith has once again been named on the bench but could be promoted to the starting side come match day and Jahrome Hughes is in the reserves.

Saturday, June 20

Gold Coast Titans v St George Illawarra Dragons (6am)

The Titans suffered a 32-12 defeat to the Rabbitohs last week. There is some solace for coach Justin Holbrook to take out of the game though as Gold Coast were vastly improved in the second half after restricting South Sydney to six points throughout that period. The Dragons ended their own extensive win drought last time out with an inspiring win against Cronulla and in turn leapfrogged Gold Coast to move out of last place.

Team news: Corey Thompson is set to make his debut for the Titans at full-back.

The only change for the Dragons sees James Graham move back into the starting 13, with Trent Merrin shifting to the bench.

Wests Tigers v North Queensland Cowboys (8:30am)

Fatigue and injury issues took its toll on North Queensland in their loss to the Warriors. The Cowboys seemed to lose some offensive power throughout the game as they had to deal with the loss of Valentine Holmes due to an ankle problem for the entire second half. The Tigers, on the other hand, put forth a great effort against the Raiders but just could not hold back a relentless Canberra attacking threat. The game between the Tigers and Cowboys may all come down to the halves as Luke Brooks will need to step up for the Tigers while Scott Drinkwater and Jake Clifford have looked special at times for the Cowboys.

Team news: Despite suffering an ankle injury against Canberra, Luciano Leilua is named to play for the Tigers. Luke Garner replaces Chris Lawrence in the second-row while Benji Marshall is named on the extended bench.

The Cowboys trio of Valentine Holmes (ankle), Jordan McLean (calf) and Tom Gilbert (suspended) are out while Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow comes in at full-back, Connelly Lemuelu slots in on the wing and Francis Molo starts at prop.

Sydney Roosters v Parramatta Eels (10:35am)

What a game we could have here as the reigning NRL champions take on a highly resilient and undefeated Parramatta side. The Eels are fresh off an incredibly hard-fought comeback win over Penrith, but two points here will certainly be a statement of intent. The Roosters looked to have found their groove after steamrolling their opposition in the last two games after putting up a combined 101 points in their wins over Brisbane and Canterbury. The Roosters look like a dominant force right now and if James Tedesco performs at the same level as he did against the Bulldogs then the Eels are going to have to be at their absolute best in this one.

Team news: The Roosters are boosted even further as Jared Waerea-Hargreaves returns at prop with Lindsay Collins moving back to the bench.

Oregon Kaufusi replaces the suspended Kane Evans on the Parramatta bench.

Sunday, June 21

Canberra Raiders v Manly Sea Eagles (7:05am)

It looked like the Sea Eagles were staring down the barrel of defeat against Brisbane last week but an impressive second half display saw Des Hasler’s side claw back to win and continue to prove they could be contenders this year. The Raiders had their struggles against the Tigers last week but were still a constant threat throughout the game and again showed their fighting mentality to take the victory over the Tigers.

This clash has all the makings of another being another treat this week as both Canberra and Manly look to cement themselves as top four teams and the halves battle between Canberra’s George Williams and Manly’s Daly Cherry-Evans is certainly worth keeping an eye on.

Team news: Corey Horsburgh is back in the starting 13 for Canberra while Hudson Young returns from a lengthy suspension.

The duo of Martin Taupau (thumb) and Moses Suli (finger) are out for the Sea Eagles. Brendan Elliot is named at centre and Curtis Sironen is back in the second-row.

Cronulla Sharks v Canterbury Bulldogs (9:30am)

The Bulldogs just had no answer for the offensive juggernaut of the Roosters on Monday but they have an opportunity to bounce back as they face Cronulla who went down to the Dragons on Sunday. Both sides only have the one victory to their names this season and will certainly be looking to make sure they do not lose more ground on the top eight. The Sharks have had their injury issues this year, forcing them to bring in some new recruits in the shape of Bryson Goodwin and Nene Macdonald while the Bulldogs need to quickly find some attacking spark.

Team news: New Cronulla recruit Bryson Goodwin is named in the reserves and Jack Williams is named at loose forward. Matt Moylan remains doubtful.

Aiden Tolman remains out for Canterbury. Nick Meaney drops out with Reimis Smith selected at centre and Jake Averillo moving to the wing.

Watch NRL and live stream every NRL game to keep up with how Tom Burgess, John Bateman, Ryan Sutton, Elliott Whitehead, James Graham, George Williams and all the others are getting on Down Under.

Watch our Last Tackle podcast, featuring a guest, every week. SUBSCRIBE to Love Rugby League on YouTube.

Listen to The Final Hooter podcast, featuring exclusive interviews, every week. SUBSCRIBE to Love Rugby League on Apple Podcasts.

More on site

Four legends who could become future Immortals

My Set of Six: with Saints legend Paul Sculthorpe featuring Ellery Hanley & Challenge Cup finals