The opening NRL round is out of the way and there are several clubs who will be wondering what hit them. Sea Eagles, Tigers, Dragons and Bulldogs fans in particular will be wondering whether there is a victory anywhere on the horizon.
What we did discover last week was that the new rules seem to have ironed out the chances of Round 1 upsets. Round 2 is often the week where we see some reversals of fortune after a rough start. Will we see some upsets this week?
Good luck with your tips.
Thursday, March 18
Eels: 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Tom Opacic 4. Waqa Blake 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Ryan Matterson 13. Nathan Brown. Bench: 14. Oregon Kaufusi 15. Isaiah Papali'i 16. Will Smith 17. Marata Niukore. Reserves: 18. Keegan Hipgrave 19. Haze Dunster 20. Ray Stone 21. Joey Lussick
Storm: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. George Jennings 3. Reimis Smith 4. Justin Olam 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Brandon Smith 10. Christian Welch 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Nelson Asofa-Solomona. Bench: 14. Tyson Smoothy 15. Tui Kamikamica 16. Tom Eisenhuth 17. Chris Lewis Reserves: 18. Nicholas Hynes 19. Darryn Schonig 20. Cooper Johns 21. Dean Ieremia
Referee: Ashley Klein
Verdict: Both teams started the season with a victory last week, with the Eels overcoming a sluggish start against the Broncos, while the Storm were all class against the Rabbitohs. The Eels really need to produce 80 minutes of their best football to win this one and even that might not be enough. The Storm seem to have an extra gear up their sleeve at all times. At home the Eels will lift, but the Storm should have them covered.
Tip: Storm by 8
Friday, March 19
Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (c) 2. David Fusitu'a 3 Adam Pompey 4 Peta Hiku 5 Ken Maumalo 6 Kodi Nikorima 7 Chanel Harris-Tavita 8 Addin Fonua-Blake 9 Wayde Egan 10 Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 11 Eliesa Katoa 12 Bayley Sironen 13 Tohu Harris. Bench: 14. Jazz Tevaga, 15. Ben Murdoch-Masila, 16. Leeson Ah Mau, 17. Bunty Afoa. Reserves: 18. Marcello Montoya, 20. Sean O'Sullivan, 21. Tom Ale, 22. Jack Murchie.
Knights: 1. Tex Hoy 2. Starford To'a 3. Enari Tuala 4. Bradman Best 5. Hymel Hunt 6. Kurt Mann 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. David Klemmer 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Mitchell Barnett 13. Connor Watson. Bench: 14. Sauaso Sue 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Josh King 17. Brodie Jones. Reserves: 18. Phoenix Crossland 19. Pasami Saulo 20. Dominic Young 21. Gehamat Shibasaki
Referee: Grant Atkins
Verdict: Another two teams coming off first round victories with the Warriors impressing against the Titans and the Knights running all over the Bulldogs. Warriors coach Nathan Brown had them playing mistake-free football against the Titans and it worked, but will they score enough points that way to beat the Knights? Newcastle have been hit early by injuries and the Warriors might just pip them in a toss-of-the-coin game.
Tip: Warriors by 4
Titans: 1. Alexander Brimson 2. Anthony Don 3. Phillip Sami 4. Patrick Herbert 5. Corey Thompson 6. Ashley Taylor 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Mitch Rein 10. Moeaki Fotuaika 11. Kevin Proctor 12. David Fifita 13. Tino Fa'asuamaleaui. Bench: 14. Tyrone Peachey 15. Sam Lisone 16. Jaimin Jolliffe 17. Erin Clark Reserves: 18. Beau Fermor 19. Herman Ese'ese 20. Sam McIntyre 21. Tanah Boyd
Broncos: 1. Jamayne Isaako 2. Xavier Coates 3. Herbie Farnworth 4. Tesi Niu 5. David Mead 6. Anthony Milford 7. Brodie Croft 8. Tevita Pangai Junior 9. Jake Turpin 10. Thomas Flegler 11. Alex Glenn 12. Jordan Riki 13. Patrick Carrigan. Bench: 14. John Asiata 15. Rhys Kennedy 16. Ethan Bullemor 17. Ben Te'o. Reserves: 18. Tom Dearden 19. Richard Kennar 21. Cory Paix 22. Corey Oates
Referee: Matt Cecchin
Verdict: These two both suffered losses last week, with the Broncos starting well against the Eels before being run down in the second half. The Titans never really settled against the Warriors. The Titans will be fired up for this derby at home, but I think the Broncos showed enough last week to suggest that they are a much-improved side under Kevin Walters and he won't want them losing their first two.
Tip: Broncos by 4
Saturday, March 20
Bulldogs: 1. Corey Allan 2. Nick Meaney 3. Will Hopoate 4. Nick Cotric 5. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 6. Jake Averillo 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Ofahiki Ogden 9. Sione Katoa 10. Jack Hetherington 11. Adam Elliott 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Josh Jackson. Bench: 14. Jeremy Marshall-King 15. Renouf Atoni 16. Corey Waddell 17. Dylan Napa Reserves: 19. Tui Katoa 20. Chris Smith 21. Lachlan Lewis 22. Joe Stimson
Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Charlie Staines 3. Paul Momirovski 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Brian To'o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Moses Leota 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Kurt Capewell 13. Isaah Yeo. Bench: 14. Tyrone May 15. Spencer Leniu 16. Matthew Eisenhuth 17. Liam Martin. Reserves: 18. Scott Sorensen 19. Matt Burton 20. Robert Jennings 21. Mitch Kenny
Referee: Peter Gough
Verdict: The Bulldogs started well against the Knights last week before a mountain of possession compounded by mistakes allowed the Knights to completely overpower them. The Panthers weren't at their best, but did enough to beat the Cowboys. If the Panthers click after their rusty first up effort, the Bulldogs could be in for a long day standing in the shadows of the posts at Bankwest. No one knows the inside workings of the Panthers as well as Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett, but will that be enough?
Tip: Panthers by 16
Sea Eagles: 1. Dylan Walker 2. Jason Saab 3. Brad Parker 4. Moses Suli 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Kieran Foran 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Josh Aloiai 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Martin Taupau 11. Andrew Davey 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic. Bench: 14. Cade Cust 15. Jack Gosiewski 16. Sean Keppie 17. Taniela Paseka. Reserves: 18. Josh Schuster 19. Tevita Funa 20. Toafofoa Sipley 21. Morgan Harper
Rabbitohs: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Alex Johnston 3. Dane Gagai 4. Campbell Graham 5. Jaxson Paulo 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Burgess 9. Damien Cook 10. Tevita Tatola 11. Keaon Koloamatangi 12. Jaydn Su'A 13. Cameron Murray. Bench: 14. Benji Marshall 15. Mark Nicholls 16. Patrick Mago 17. Jai Arrow. Reserves: 18. Liam Knight 19. Tautau Moga 20. Josh Mansour 21. Jacob Host
Verdict: The Sea Eagles were completely blown off the park last week by a red-hot Roosters side, while the Rabbitohs competed well in the second half against the Storm. It is hard to see the Sea Eagles bouncing back from that, but they are at home and Manly coach Des Hasler will do everything in his powers to avoid a second-straight loss. This will be a lot closer than expected.
Tip: Rabbitohs by 4
Cowboys: 1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Esan Marsters 4. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 5. Valentine Holmes 6. Michael Morgan 7. Jake Clifford 8. Francis Molo 9. Reece Robson 10. Jordan McLean 11. Mitchell Dunn 12. Coen Hess 13. Jason Taumalolo. Bench: 14. Jake Granville 15. Josh Mcguire 16. Corey Jensen 17. Reuben Cotter. Reserves: 18. Lachlan Burr 19. Shane Wright 20. Murray Taulagi 21. Ben Hampton
Dragons: 1. Matthew Dufty 2. Cody Ramsey 3. Jack Bird 4. Zac Lomax 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Corey Norman 7. Ben Hunt 8. Blake Lawrie 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Josh Kerr 12. Tariq Sims 13. Tyrell Fuimaono. Bench: 14. Poasa Faamausili 15. Trent Merrin 16. Daniel Alvaro 17. Brayden Wiliame. Reserves: 18. Adam Clune 19. Kaide Ellis 20. Jackson Ford 21. Jordan Pereira
Referee: Ben Cummins
Verdict: Both teams were mostly ordinary last week although the Cowboys had their moments in defence, while the Dragons showed flashes of brilliance in attack. Cowboys coach Todd Payten poked the bear last week in criticising Jason Taumalolo, it will be interesting to see how the great man responds. If he really fires up the Dragons could be in trouble up the middle of the ruck. Being at home should give the Cowboys the advantage in this one.
Tip: Cowboys by 8
Sunday, 21 March
Tigers: 1. Daine Laurie 2. David Nofoaluma 3. James Roberts 4. Joseph Leilua 5. Asu Kepaoa 6. Adam Doueihi 7. Luke Brooks 8. James Tamou 9. Jacob Liddle 10. Joe Ofahengaue 11. Luciano Leilua 12. Luke Garner 13. Alex Twal. Bench: 14. Moses Mbye 15. Thomas Mikaele 16. Stefano Utoikamanu 17. Tommy Talau Reserves: 18. Russell Packer 19. Alex Seyfarth 20. Michael Chee-Kam 21. Jock Madden
Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Josh Morris 4. Joseph Manu 5. Brett Morris 6. Lachlan Lam 7. Luke Keary 8. Lindsay Collins 9. Freddy Lussick 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho 11. Nat Butcher 12. Sitili Tupouniua 13. Isaac Liu. Bench: 14. Drew Hutchison 15. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 16. Fletcher Baker 17. Daniel Suluka-fifita. Reserves: 18. Matt Ikuvalu 19. Nat Butcher 20. Sam Walker 21. Tukupa Hau Tapuha
Referee: Adam Gee
Verdict: The Tigers fell away in the second half against the Raiders last week, while the Roosters were absolutely ruthless against the Sea Eagles from the first kick-off till the last. The Tigers will have to tidy up every little error from their game or the Roosters will take the possession advantage and turn it into a pile of points. It's a tough start for the Tigers and they could be on the receiving end of another belting.
Tip: Roosters by 18
Sharks: 1. Will Kennedy 2. Sione Katoa 3. Josh Dugan 4. Mawene Hiroti 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Matt Moylan 7. Chad Townsend 8. Braden Hamlin-Uele 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Aaron Woods 11. Briton Nikora 12. Wade Graham 13. Toby Rudolf. Bench: 14. Connor Tracey 15. Aiden Tolman 16. Jack Williams 17. Billy Magoulias. Reserves: 18. Nene Macdonald 19. Teig Wilton 20. Andrew Fifita 21. Braydon Trindall
Raiders: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Bailey Simonsson 3. Sebastian Kris 4. Curtis Scott 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Jack Wighton 7. George Williams 8. Josh Papali'i 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Dunamis Lui 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Joseph Tapine. Bench: 14. Siliva Havili 15. Ryan Sutton 16. Iosia Soliola 17. Ryan James. Reserves: 18. Sam Williams 19. Tom Starling 20. Emre Guler 21. Harley Smith-Shields
Referee: Chris Sutton
Verdict: The Sharks were solid against the Dragons last week, despite having a period where they relaxed and allowed their opposition right back into the game. The Raiders had a very dusty first half before finding some rhythm after the break against the Tigers. If the Raiders click into gear they should be too good for the Sharks.
Tip: Raiders by 14