NRL Preview Round 18: Line-ups, verdicts, tips, odds, everything you need to know for the weekend

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Eels were an option for Austin (0:36)

Blake Austin says he considered joining the Eels and ultimately it was a tough decision to turn down the club. (0:36)

The annual State of Origin interruption is over and teams can now focus on their runs to the finals. The top eight is just about wrapped up already, but teams will still be vying for the crucial top four spots,

The round opens with a clash between the fourth-placed Panthers and the sixth-placed Sharks who are only one win behind them. On Sunday, we see the seventh-placed Broncos tackle the unpredictable Warriors who sit in eighth, both only two points out of the top four.

Good luck with your tips.

Friday, July 13

Penrith Panthers vs. Cronulla Sutherland Sharks, Panthers Stadium, 6:00pm (AEST)

Panthers: 1 Caleb Aekins, 2 Christian Crichton, 3 Waqa Blake, 4 Dean Whare, 5 Tyrone Phillips, 6 Tyrone May, 7 Jarome Luai, 8 Trent Merrin, 9 Sione Katoa, 10 James Tamou, 11 Viliame Kikau, 12 Isaah Yeo (c), 13 James Fisher-Harris Reserves: 14 Wayde Egan, 15 Corey Harawira-Naera, 16 Jack Hetherington, 17 Moses Leota, 18 Liam Martin, 19 Kaide Ellis, 20 Tyrone Peachey, 21 James Maloney, 22 Nathan Cleary

Sharks: 1 Valentine Holmes, 2 Sione Katoa, 3 Jesse Ramien, 4 Ricky Leutele, 5 Edrick Lee, 6 Matt Moylan, 7 Chad Townsend, 8 Andrew Fifita, 9 Jayden Brailey, 10 Matt Prior, 11 Kurt Capewell, 12 Wade Graham, 13 Paul Gallen (c) Reserves: 14 Joseph Paulo, 15 James Segeyaro, 16 Aaron Woods, 17 Jayson Bukuya, 18 Scott Sorensen, 19 Ava Seumanufagai, 20 Sosaia Feki, 21 Kyle Flanagan

Verdict: The Panthers had a massive win last week against the Warriors without their Origin stars. Rookie halfback Jarome Luai went so well, that the Panthers have named their Origin halves on an extended bench for this clash. The Sharks had last week off following their hard-fought victory over the Warriors the week before. This result will go a long way to determining the top four hopes for both teams.

Tip: Panthers

TAB odds: Panthers $1.90 (-1.5 $2) Sharks $1.90 (+1.5 $1.80)

Newcastle Knights vs. Parramatta Eels, McDonald Jones Stadium, 7:55pm (AEST)

Knights: 1 Nick Meaney, 2 Ken Sio, 3 Sione Mata'utia, 4 Cory Denniss, 5 Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 6 Connor Watson, 7 Mitchell Pearce (c), 8 Josh King, 9 Danny Levi, 10 Daniel Saifiti, 11 Mitch Barnett, 12 Aidan Guerra, 13 Herman Ese'ese Reserves: 14 Nathan Ross, 15 Chris Heighington, 16 Jamie Buhrer (c), 17 Jacob Lillyman, 18 Luke Yates, 19 Sam Stone, 20 Jack Cogger, 21 JJ Felise

Eels: 1 Clint Gutherson (c), 2 Bevan French, 3 Michael Jennings, 4 Jarryd Hayne, 5 George Jennings, 6 Corey Norman, 7 Mitchell Moses, 8 Daniel Alvaro, 9 Cameron King, 10 Siosaia Vave, 11 Marata Niukore, 12 Brad Takairangi, 13 Nathan Brown Reserves: 14 Tepai Moeroa, 15 Tim Mannah (c), 16 David Gower, 17 Peni Terepo, 18 Kane Evans, 19 Kirisome Auva'a, 20 Jaeman Salmon, 21 Kaysa Pritchard

Verdict: The last time the Knights played they were smacked by the Bulldogs, while the Eels narrowly lost to the Dragons. Neither team has much to play for this year, other than pride, but the Eels will very keen to avoid the wooden spoon that the Knights have owned for years. Mitchell Pearce makes his long-awaited return for the Knights, but with Kalyn Ponga still out it is hard to see how they can score enough points to beat the Eels.

Tip: Eels

TAB odds: Knights $2.05 (+1.5 $1.90) Eels $1.75 (-1.5 $1.90)

Saturday, July 14

Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs vs. South Sydney Rabbitohs, ANZ Stadium, 3:00pm (AEST)

Bulldogs: 1 Will Hopoate, 2 Brett Morris, 3 Josh Morris, 4 Kerrod Holland, 5 Reimis Smith, 6 Lachlan Lewis, 7 Jeremy Marshall-King, 8 Aiden Tolman, 9 Michael Lichaa, 10 David Klemmer, 11 Josh Jackson (c), 12 Rhyse Martin, 13 Adam Elliott Reserves: 14 Fa'amanu Brown, 15 Clay Priest, 16 Ofahiki Ogden, 17 Danny Fualalo, 18 Asipeli Fine, 19 Matt Frawley, 20 Francis Tualau, 21 John Olive

Rabbitohs: 1 Alex Johnston, 2 Campbell Graham, 3 Hymel Hunt, 4 Dane Gagai, 5 Robert Jennings, 6 Cody Walker, 7 Adam Reynolds, 8 Thomas Burgess, 9 Damien Cook, 10 George Burgess, 11 John Sutton, 12 Angus Crichton, 13 Sam Burgess Reserves: 14 Adam Doueihi, 15 Cameron Murray, 16 Mark Nicholls, 17 Tevita Tatola, 18 Matt McIlwrick, 19 Braidon Burns, 20 Dean Britt, 21 Kyle Turner, 22 Billy Brittain

Verdict: The Bulldogs were brilliant last week against the Raiders, right up until the final ten minutes when they somehow surrendered a 14-point lead. The Rabbitohs had the week off after struggling to beat the Cowboys the week before. These two teams couldn't be much further apart on the ladder, but their clashes are always fiercely contested.

Tip: Rabbitohs

TAB odds: Bulldogs $4 (+11.5 $1.90) Rabbitohs $1.25 (-11.5 $1.90)

Manly Sea Eagles vs. Melbourne Storm, Lottoland, 5:30pm (AEST)

Sea Eagles: 1 Tom Trbojevic, 2 Matthew Wright, 3 Moses Suli, 4 Brian Kelly, 5 Bradley Parker, 6 Dylan Walker, 7 Daly Cherry-Evans (c), 8 Addin Fonua-Blake, 9 Manase Fainu, 10 Martin Taupau, 11 Joel Thompson, 12 Shaun Lane, 1 13 Jake Trbojevic Reserves: 14 Trent Hodkinson, 15 Kelepi Tanginoa, 16 Frank Winterstein, 17 Taniela Paseka, 18 Jorge Taufua, 19 Thomas Wright, 20 Tevita Funa, 21 Toafofoa Sipley, 22 Lloyd

Storm: 1 Billy Slater, 2 Suliasi Vunivalu, 3 Will Chambers, 4 Curtis Scott, 5 Josh Addo-Carr, 6 Cameron Munster, 7 Jahrome Hughes, 8 Jesse Bromwich, 9 Cameron Smith (c), 10 Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 11 Felise Kaufusi, 12 Ryan Hoffman, 13 Kenny Bromwich Reserves: 14 Brandon Smith, 15 Tim Glasby, 16 Christian Welch, 17, Joe Stimson, 18 Cheyse Blair, 19 Tui Kamikamica, 20 Young Tonumaipea, 21 Ryley Jacks, 22 Brodie Croft, 23 Albert Vete

Verdict: The Sea Eagles had last week off after upsetting the Panthers the week before. The Storm ran away from the Dragons in their Origin-depleted clash last week and they'll be keen to continue their charge towards a potential minor premiership. Does Daly Cherry-Evans come back from State of Origin full of confidence or a shattered man?

Tip: Storm

TAB odds: Sea Eagles $2.60 (+5.5 $2) Storm $1.50 (-5.5 $1.80)

Canberra Raiders vs. North Queensland Cowboys, GIO Stadium, 7:35pm (AEST)

Raiders: 1 Nick Cotric, 2 Michael Oldfield, 3 Jarrod Croker (c), 4 Joseph Leilua, 5 Jordan Rapana, 6 Sam Williams, 7 Aidan Sezer, 8 Dunamis Lui, 9 Josh Hodgson, 10 Junior Paulo, 11 Joseph Tapine, 12 Elliott Whitehead, 13 Josh Papalii Reserves: 14 Blake Austin, 15 Luke Bateman, 16 Siliva Havili, 17 Iosia Soliola, 18 Liam Knight, 19 Jack Murchie, 20 Royce Hunt, 21 Craig Garvey

Cowboys: 1 Lachlan Coote, 2 Kyle Feldt, 3 Enari Tuala, 4 Kane Linnett, 5 Antonio Winterstein, 6 Te Maire Martin, 7 Johnathan Thurston (c), 8 John Asiata, 9 Jake Granville, 10 Scott Bolton, 11 Gavin Cooper, 12 Coen Hess, 13 Jason Taumalolo Reserves: Ben Hampton, 15 Shaun Fensom, 16 Shane Wright, 17 Corey Jensen, 18 Justin O'Neill, 19 Ethan Lowe, 20 Mitchell Dunn, 21 Francis Molo, 23 Jake Clifford

Verdict: The Raiders somehow reversed their usual trait of losing games on the bell, to beat the Bulldogs in the dying minutes last week. The Cowboys had the week off after going painfully close to beating the Rabbitohs the week before.The Raiders have a very slim chance of making the finals, but they can't afford another loss. The Cowboys are going to be a thorn in the sides of a lot of finals-bound teams.

Tip: Cowboys

TAB odds: Raiders $1.53 (-4.5 $1.90) Cowboys $2.50 (+4.5 $1.90)

Sunday, July 15

Brisbane Broncos vs. New Zealand Warriors, Suncorp Stadium, 2:00pm (AEST)

Broncos: 1 Darius Boyd (c), 2 Corey Oates, 3 James Roberts, 4 Jordan Kahu, 5 Jamayne Isaako, 6 Anthony Milford, 7 Kodi Nikorima, 8 Matthew Lodge, 9 Andrew McCullough, 10 Sam Thaiday, 11 Alex Glenn, 12 Jayden S'uA, 13 Josh McGuire Reserves: 14 Kotoni Staggs, 15 Joe Ofahengaue, 16 Korbin Sims, 17 Tevita Pangai jnr, 18 Jonus Pearson, 19 Patrick Mago, 20 David Fifita, 21 Sam Tagataese, 22 Jake Turpin, 23 Tom Opacic

Warriors: 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 2 David Fusitu'a, 3 Peta Hiku, 4 Solomone Kata, 5 Gerard Beale, 6 Blake Green, 7 Shaun Johnson, 8 James Gavet, 9 Issac Luke, 10 Agnatius Paasi, 11 Isaiah Papali'i, 12 Simon Mannering, 13 Adam Blair Reserves: 14 Jazz Tevaga, 15 Tevita Satae, 16 Joseph Vuna, 17 Anthony Gelling, 18 Ligi Sao, 19 Karl Lawton, 20 Blake Ayshford, 21 Mason Lino

Verdict: The Broncos looked very sharp last week against the Titans, even with several key players missing. The Warriors were terrible in losing convincingly to the depleted Panthers. Both teams need a win here to reignite their top-four challenges. With the Broncos at home and the Warriors showing last week that the old fragility is still in their make-up, I think Brisbane can win this crucial clash.

Tip: Broncos

TAB odds: Broncos $1.70 (-1.5 $1.80) Warriors $2.15 (+1.5 $2)

St George Illawarra Dragons vs. Wests Tigers, Jubilee Oval, 4:10pm (AEST)

Dragons: 1 Matt Dufty, 2 Nene Macdonald, 3 Euan Aitken, 4 Tim Lafai, 5 Jason Nightingale, 6 Gareth Widdop (c), 7 Ben Hunt, 8 James Graham, 9 Cameron McInnes, 10 Paul Vaughan, 11 Tyson Frizell, 12 Tariq Sims, 13 Jack de Belin Reserves: 14 Jeremy Latimore, 15 Kurt Mann, 16 Leeson Ah Mau, 17 Luciano Leilua, 18 Patrick Herbert, 19 Hame Sele, 20 Blake Lawrie, 21 Reece Robson, 22 Jai Field, 23 Darren Nicholls

Tigers: 1 Moses Mbye, 2 David Nofoaluma, 3 Esan Marsters, 4 Kevin Naiqama, 5 Corey Thompson, 6 Benji Marshall, 7 Luke Brooks, 8 Russell Packer (c), 9 Robbie Farah, 10 Ben Matulino, 11 Chris Lawrence, 12 Josh Aloiai, 13 Elijah Taylor Reserves: 14 Alex Twal, 15 Suaso Sue, 16 Michael Chee Kam, 17 Matt Eisenhuth, 18 Jacob Liddle, 19 Luke Garner, 20 Tim Grant, 21 Malakai Watene-Zelezniak

Verdict: The Dragons were a little disappointing last week against the Storm after competing for most of the game before completely crumbling at the end. The Tigers had the week off after being smashed at home by the Titans the week before. Coach Paul McGregor will be very keen for his Dragons to kick on with the finals on the horizon and they really should account for the Tigers at Jubilee Oval.

Tip: Dragons

TAB odds: Dragons $1.35 (-8.5 $1.90) Tigers $3.20 (+8.5 $1.90)

Gold Coast Titans vs. Sydney Roosters, Cbus Super Stadium, 6:30pm (AEST)

Titans: 1 Michael Gordon, 2 Anthony Don, 3 Konrad Hurrell, 4 Brenko Lee, 5 Phillip Sami, 6 AJ Brimson, 7 Ashley Taylor, 8 Jarrod Wallace, 9 Nathan Peats, 10 Ryan James (c), 11 Kevin Proctor, 12 Keegan Hipgrave, 13 Jai Arrow Reserves: 14 Mitch Rein, 15 Moeaki Fotuaika, 16 Will Matthews, 17 Jack Stockwell, 18 Morgan Boyle, 19 Leilani Latu, 20 Kane Elgey, 21 Brendan Elliot, 22 Jai Whitbread

Roosters: 1 James Tedesco, 2 Daniel Tupou, 3 Latrell Mitchell, 4 Joseph Manu, 5 Blake Ferguson, 6 Luke Keary, 7 Cooper Cronk, 8 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 9 Jake Friend (c), 10 Siosiua Taukeiaho, 11 Nat Butcher, 12 Victor Radley, 13 Isaac Liu Reserves: 14 Zane Tetevano, 15 Lindsay Collins, 16 Mitchell Aubusson, 17 Kurt Baptiste, 18 Matthew Ikuvalu, 19 Sitili Tupouniua, 20 Ryan Matterson, 21 Sean O'Sullivan, 22 Paul Momirovski, 23 Poasa Faamausili

Verdict: The Titans were traveling much better until the Broncos came to town last week and gave them a football lesson. The Roosters had a rest last week, but were narrowly beaten by the Storm the week before. The Roosters still have a good shot at finishing in the top four and can't afford to miss out on two points here.

Tip: Roosters

TAB odds: Titans $3 (+8.5 $1.80) Roosters $1.40 (-8.5 $2)