The NRL enters the State of Origin zone, with only four games being played this weekend ahead of Game 1 next Wednesday.
There are lots of variables to take into consideration when tipping this week. Out of the Dragons and Broncos, which team is in the deepest pit? The Tigers would appear to be right in their clash with the Origin-weakened Panthers, or maybe not. Do the Titans have any chance against the Storm? And finally can the Knights upset the slumping Eels?
Good luck with your tips.
Thursday, June 3
Dragons: 1. Matthew Dufty 2. Cody Ramsey 3. Brayden Wiliame 4. Gerard Beale 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Corey Norman 7. Ben Hunt 8. Blake Lawrie 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Josh Kerr 12. Jack Bird 13. Jackson Ford Bench: 14. Talatau Amone 15. Poasa Faamausili 16. Daniel Alvaro 17. Jack de Belin Reserves: 18. Kaide Ellis 19. Adam Clune 20. Jayden Sullivan 21. Jordan Pereira
Broncos: 1. Jamayne Isaako 2. Selwyn Cobbo 3. Herbie Farnworth 4. Jesse Arthars 5. David Mead 6. Albert Kelly 7. Tyson Gamble 8. Matthew Lodge 9. Jake Turpin 10. Thomas Flegler 11. Alex Glenn 12. Tevita Pangai Junior 13. John Asiata Bench: 14. Kobe Hetherington 15. Keenan Palasia 16. Ethan Bullemor 17. Tc Robati Reserves: 18. Jordan Riki 19. Tesi Niu 20. Dale Copley 21. Cory Paix
Verdict: Both teams were badly beaten last week, the Dragons by the Tigers and the Broncos by the Storm. A week earlier the Broncos looked much improved as they upset the Roosters. The Broncos have lost more players to Origin and the game is at Kogarah, so I am going with the Dragons, but with absolutely no confidence.
Tip: Dragons by 10
Friday, June 4
Tigers: 1. Daine Laurie 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Adam Doueihi 4. Tommy Talau 5. James Roberts 6. Moses Mbye 7. Luke Brooks 8. James Tamou 9. Jacob Liddle 10. Alex Twal 11. Luke Garner 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Alex Seyfarth Bench: 14. Stefano Utoikamanu 15. Shawn Blore 16. Tom Amone 17. Thomas Mikaele Reserves: 18. Michael Chee Kam 19. Jake Simpkin 20. Tuki Simpkins 21. Kiah Cooper
Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Charlie Staines 3. Stephen Crichton 4. Paul Momirovski 5. Robert Jennings 6. Matt Burton 7. Tyrone May 8. Spencer Leniu 9. Mitch Kenny 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Scott Sorensen 13. Matthew Eisenhuth Bench: 14. Jaeman Salmon 15. J'maine Hopgood 16. Lindsay Smith 17. Izack Tago Reserves: 18. Brent Naden 19. Eddie Blacker 20. Sunia Turuva 21. Kurt Falls
Verdict: I'm not sure why the Panthers weren't given this week off, at the very least they were always going to lose half Nathan Cleary, Kurt Capewell and Isaah Yeo to Origin. Maybe it was to give some team a chance to finally beat them. I'm sure coach Ivan Cleary has long been preparing for this clash, slotting his back-up players into his so far undefeated game plan. They'll be determined to keep the unbeaten streak going and with players like Matt Burton and Stephen Crichton still in the line-up, the Tigers are going to be in for a battle.
Tip: Panthers by 4
Saturday, June 5
Storm: 1. Nicholas Hynes 2. George Jennings 3. Reimis Smith 4. Justin Olam 5. Dean Ieremia 6. Cooper Johns 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Brandon Smith 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Tom Eisenhuth 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Dale Finucane Bench: 14. Aaron Booth 15. Tui Kamikamica 16. Chris Lewis 17. Aaron Pene Reserves: 18. Jordan Grant 19. Isaac Lumelume 20. Trent Loiero 21. Ryley Jacks
Titans: 1. Jayden Campbell 2. Anthony Don 3. Brian Kelly 4. Patrick Herbert 5. Phillip Sami 6. Ashley Taylor 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Mitch Rein 10. Jaimin Jolliffe 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Sam Stone 13. Sam McIntyre Bench: 14. Tyrone Peachey 15. Erin Clark 16. Jai Whitbread 17. Joseph Vuna Reserves: 18. Tanah Boyd 19. Esan Marsters 20. Greg Marzhew 21. Darius Farmer
Verdict: The Storm have remained formidable opponents all season regardless of who has been out injured, so a couple of players lost to Origin won't worry them this week. Certainly the TAB doesn't think so, looking at the odds. The Titans lose a couple of key forwards in David Fifita and Tino Fa'asuamaleaui to Origin as well as AJ Brimson. The Titans will be hoping to make a game of this against the relentless Storm.
Tip: Storm by 14
Sunday, June 6
Knights: 1. Tex Hoy 2. Starford To'a 3. Enari Tuala 4. Bradman Best 5. Brayden Musgrove 6. Connor Watson 7. Phoenix Crossland 8. Sauaso Sue 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Jacob Saifiti 11. Brodie Jones 12. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 13. Mitchell Barnett Bench: 14. Kurt Mann 15. Josh King 16. Jack Johns 17. Simi Sasagi Reserves: 18. Jake Clifford 19. Jirah Momoisea 20. Mathew Croker 21. Gehamat Shibasaki
Eels: 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Tom Opacic 4. Waqa Blake 5. Haze Dunster 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Marata Niukore 11. Isaiah Papali'i 12. Ryan Matterson 13. Nathan Brown Bench: 14. Will Smith 15. Shaun Lane 16. Oregon Kaufusi 17. Bryce Cartwright Reserves: 18. Joey Lussick 19. Makahesi Makatoa 20. Jakob Arthur 21. Viliami Penisini
Verdict: The Knights came away with a hard-fought victory last week against the Sea Eagles, while the Eels meekly surrendered to the Rabbitohs. The Eels are desperately out of form, but have been given a big break with Reed Mahoney released from Queensland Origin duty. Coach Brad Arthur will be determined to turn the ship around against the Knights, but it might not be an easy task.
Tip: Eels by 8
All odds correct at time of publication. Check tab.com.au for the latest.