The Easter long weekend is here and there is plenty of NRL action lined up across the break. The clash of the season happens on Friday night when the Roosters travel to Melbourne to take on the unbeaten Storm. The Dragons host the Sea Eagles on Saturday night and the Raiders await the bewildered Broncos on Sunday afternoon.
The weekend is topped off by the first game ever played at the brand new Bankwest Stadium, as the Eels host the Tigers.
Good luck with your tips.
Thursday, April 18
Sharks: 1. Josh Dugan, 2. Sosaia Feki, 3.Bronson Xerri, 4. Josh Morris, 5. Sione Katoa, 6. Shaun Johnson, 7. Chad Townsend, 8. Andrew Fifita, 9. Jayden Brailey, 10. Matt Prior, 11. Briton Nikora, 12. Kurt Capewell, 13. Paul Gallen. Reserves: 14. Blayke Brailey, 15. Jayson Bukuya, 16. Jack Williams, 17. Scott Sorensen.
Panthers: Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 2. Josh Mansour 3. Dean Whare 4. Waqa Blake 5. Dylan Edwards 6. James Maloney 7. Nathan Cleary 8. James Tamou 9. Wayde Egan 10. Tim Grant 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Isaah Yeo 13. James Fisher-Harris. Reserves: 14. Sione Katoa, 15. Tyrell Fuimaono, 16. Moses Leota 17. Regan Campbell-Gillard.
Verdict: The Sharks were well beaten by the Roosters last week, while the Panthers were fairly ordinary in losing to the Titans. These two teams are both below their best with the Sharks struggling with injuries and the Panthers battling under new coach Ivan Cleary. If the Panthers don't find a way to drastically reduce their error rate, the Sharks will have too much ball to lose this one in the Shire.
Friday, April 19
Bulldogs: 1. Nick Meaney 2. Jayden Okunbor 3. Kerrod Holland 4. Will Hopoate 5. Reimis Smith 6. Jack Cogger 7. Lachlan Lewis 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Ofahiki Ogden 11. Josh Jackson 12. Corey Harawira-Naera 13. Rhyse Martin. Reserves: 14. Michael Lichaa 15. Danny Fualalo 16. Adam Elliot 17. Chris Smith.
Rabbitohs: 1. Alex Johnston 2. Corey Allen 3. Kyle Turner 4. Dane Gagai 5. Campbell Graham 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. George Burgess 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. John Sutton 12. Sam Burgess 13. Cameron Murray. Reserves: 14. Tevita Tatola 15. Mark Nicholls 16. Ethan Lowe 17. Liam Knight.
Verdict: The Bulldogs were blown off the park last week by the fast-moving, hard-hitting defence of the Dragons. The Rabbitohs came from well down to beat the Warriors and showed they are serious contenders for this year's title. The retirement on Greg Inglis this week will have hit them momentarily, but Wayne Bennett will have his side focused and ready to be absolutely ruthless at ANZ Stadium. This looks like being a bad Friday for the Bulldogs.
Inglis calls time on decorated NRL career
South Sydney star Greg Inglis announced his immediate retirement from rugby league in a heartfelt press conference.
Storm: 1. Jahrome Hughes 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Will Chambers 4. Marion Seve 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Brodie Croft 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenny Bromwich 13. Dale Finucane. Reserves: 14. Brandon Smith 15. Christian Welch 16. Tui Kamikamica 17. Ryan Papenhuyzen.
Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Latrell Mitchell 4. Joseph Manu 5. Matt Ikuvalu 6. Luke Keary 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Victor Radley 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Angus Crichton 13. Zane Tetevano. Reserves: 14. Lindsay Collins 15. Nat Butcher 16. Poasa Faamausili 17. Mitchell Aubusson.
Verdict: This should be the game of the season so far, with both teams in great form since the Roosters had their first-round hiccup. The Storm have been clinical all season without really being spectacular. The Roosters were spectacular last week in beating the Sharks, with Luke Keary continuing his incredible form. The Roosters should inflict a first loss on the Storm, taking them level on the competition ladder.
Saturday, April 20
Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (c) 2. David Fusitu'a 3. Peta Hiku 4. Solomone Kata 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Chanel Harris-Tavita 7. Blake Green 8. Agnatius Paasi 9. Issac Luke 10. Leeson Ah Mau 11. Adam Blair 12. Tohu Harris 13. Lachlan Burr. Reserves: 14. Jazz Tevaga 15. Sam Lisone 16. Bunty Afoa 17. Isaiah Papali'i
Cowboys: 1. Te Maire Martin 2 Justin O'Neill 3. Jordan Kahu 4. Enari Tuala 5. Ben Hampton 6. Jake Clifford 7. Michael Morgan 8. Matt Scott 9. Jake Granville 10. Jordan McLean 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Josh McGuire 13. John Asiata. Reserves: 14. Kurt Baptiste 15. Coen Hess 16. Scott Bolton 17. Francis Molo.
Verdict: Which of these two teams is most likely to lose this game in Auckland? The Warriors had an upset victory over the Rabbitohs all but in the bag last week before crumbling, while the Cowboys put up an improved effort in losing to the Storm. The Cowboys have been awful at home this year winning one of their four games in Townsville; maybe the trip across the ditch will spark them into life?
Dragons: 1. Matt Dufty 2. Jordan Pereira 3. Euan Aitken 4. Timoteo Lafai 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Corey Norman 7. Ben Hunt 8. James Graham 9. Cameron McInnes 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Tariq Sims 13. Blake Lawrie. Reserves: 14. Jeremy Latimore 15. Zac Lomax 16. Jacob Host 17. Luciano Leilua.
Sea Eagles: 1. Brendan Elliott 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Moses Suli 4. Brad Parker 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Kane Elgey 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Martin Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic. . Reserves: 14. Manase Fainu 15. Jack Gosiewski 16. Corey Waddell 17. Toafofoa Sipley.
Verdict: The Dragons looked like they were back to their best last week against the shell-shocked Bulldogs. Halfback Ben Hunt was brilliant and this week he comes up against Daly Cherry-Evans who will likely take the Queensland No. 7 jersey this year. The improving Sea Eagles could make a game of this down in Wollongong, but on last week's form alone the Dragons should pick up the points.
Sunday, April 21
Titans: 1. Michael Gordon 2. Anthony Don 3. Tyrone Peachey 4. Brian Kelly 5. Dale Copley 6. Tyrone Roberts 7. Ashley Taylor 8. Shannon Boyd 9. Mitch Rein 10. Ryan James 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Bryce Cartwright 13. Jai Arrow. Reserves: 14. Phillip Sami 15. Keegan Hipgrave 16. Max King 17. Jai Whitbread.
Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Edrick Lee 3. Hymel Hunt 4. Jesse Ramien 5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 6. Mason Lino 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. David Klemmer 9. Danny Levi 10. James Gavet 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 12. Mitchell Barnett 13. Tim Glasby. Reserves: 14. Connor Watson 15. Herman Ese'ese 16. Daniel Saifiti 17. Josh King
Verdict: On paper, the Titans are a much better team than their one from five record would indicate. Last week's tough victory over the Panthers could be the turning point in their so far disastrous season. The Knights have been nothing short of disappointing themselves and added another loss to their ledger last week against the Sea Eagles. Fans will start asking some serious questions of Nathan Brown if the Knights lose this one.
Raiders: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Nick Cotric 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Joseph Leilua 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Jack Wighton 7. Sam Williams 8. Josh Papalii 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Dunamis Lui 11. John Bateman 12. Elliot Whitehead 13. Ryan Sutton. Reserves: 14. Siliva Havili 15. Hudson Young 16. Iosia Soliola 17. JJ Collins
Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Jack Bird 5. Jamayne Isaako 6. Anthony Milford 7. Kodi Nikorima 8. Payne Haas 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Joe Ofahengaue 11. Alex Glenn 12. Matt Gillett 13. David Fifita. Reserves: 14. Gehamat Shibasaki 15. Jayden Su'a 16. Thomas Flegler 17. Patrick Carrigan
Verdict: The Raiders were very impressive last week in keeping the Eels scoreless. The Broncos continued their struggles losing to the Tigers at home. It's hard to imagine the Broncos continuing to lose, but they have shown very few signs of improvement. At home and full of running, the Raiders should grab the points and continue their stay near the top of the ladder.
Monday, April 22
Eels: 1. Clint Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Michael Jennings 4. Brad Takairangi 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Jaeman Salmon 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Daniel Alvaro 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Marata Niukore 13. Tepai Moeroa. Reserves: 14. Peni Terepo 15. Tim Mannah 16. Oregan Kaufusi 17. Ray Stone.
Tigers: 1. Moses Mbye 2. Mahe Fonua 3. Robert Jennings 4. Esan Marsters 5. Corey Thompson 6. Josh Reynolds 7. Luke Brooks 8. Russell Packer 9. Robbie Farah 10. Alex Twal 11. Ryan Matterson 12. Luke Garner 13. Josh Aloiai Reserves: 14. Ben Matulino 15. Thomas Mikaele 16. Matt Eisenhuth 17. Michael Chee-Kam.
Verdict: The Eels run out onto Bankwest Stadium for the very first time after losing to the Raiders last week. The Tigers were dogged in beating the Broncos in Brisbane. The atmosphere at the brand new stadium should be incredible and this game will be a battle between two very evenly matches teams. The Tigers should have the edge in confidence, but the Eels won't want to start with a loss in their brand new stadium.