NRL Round 12
Origin 1 has been run and won and the NRL returns to some level of normality this weekend with seven games on the program. Last week was one of the more crazy rounds we’ve seen with exceptional defence and one show of utter disdain for tackling in Canberra! Let’s see how this weekend goes!
Here’s our preview and Tips for Round 12 of the NRL
PANTHERS V EELS – FRI 29 MAY, 7:45PM PEPPER STADIUM
They’re building again the Panthers. Personnel has a lot to do with that. Josh Mansour is back. Their regular halves pairing of Wallace and Soward is back together after an injury interrupted year so far. For the first time in a long time they look like a team to fear once again. Not exactly what the ailing Eels needed at a time like this. On paper there is plenty to like about Parramatta. But paper is about the strength of their defence of late. At home, expect the Panthers to tear straight through it.
ATHLETES TALK: Panthers by 12
TITANS V RABBITOHS – SAT 30 MAY, 3.00PM, CBUS SUPER STADIUM
Just the one player on each side backing up from Origin duty so there should be little impact. Neither team have had memorable years so far so it will be interesting to see how the Titans return from their bye. The Rabbitohs were resilient without being brilliant in last week’s narrow win over the Eels. Michael Maguire has kept his troops on notice. Issac Luke is back in the starting line-up while George Burgess finds himself on the bench. Even on tired legs they should be too good for the Gold Coast.
ATHLETES TALK: Rabbitohs by 10
RAIDERS V BRONCOS – SAT 30 MAY, 5:30PM, GIO STADIUM
The Broncos traditionally don’t fare well in Canberra. The loss of Justin Hodges and Sam Thaiday following Wednesday’s Origin win won’t help that either. The Raiders were a good thing beaten in their last start against the Bulldogs. In racing terms they missed the jump by the length of the straight and were pipped at the post by the Bulldogs. In racing terms – you back that horse the next time around! But Brisbane were also super impressive in downing the Knights. Three weeks in a row on the road is taxing though. Especially at Origin time.
ATHLETES TALK: Raiders by 4
COWBOYS V SEA EAGLES – SAT 30 MAY, 7:30PM, 1300SMILES STADIUM
So feared for their attacking ability, the Cowboys have shown their defence to be the true weapon in their artillery under Paul Green. They kept the Tigers scoreless to extend their winning run to eight, and it’s hard to see how that won’t reach nine against the Sea Eagles. Manly star Kieran Foran returns but their forward pack looks weak compared to the Cowboys giants.
ATHLETES TALK: Cowboys by 14
WARRIORS V KNIGHTS – SUN 31 MAY, 2:00PM, MT SMART STADIUM
This big for the Warriors. Win and they entrench themselves in the eight. Lose and the pack clusters again. It is familiar turf for the Warriors who have struggled to assert their authority when it matters most. This is their chance and the Knights appear ripe for the picking. Don’t be surprised if the Warriors rack up a score. A big one too.
ATHLETES TALK: Warriors by 18
DRAGONS V SHARKS – SUN 31 MAY, 4:00PM, JUBILEE OVAL
The big local derby, back at Kogarah. There will be no love lost in this one. Most interest will centre on the possible late inclusion of Paul Gallen for the Sharks. The Dragons say they’re preparing as though he’ll play. Reputations don’t seem to phase this Dragons line-up. They signed off for the bye with one of the more eye-catching performances in attack from any team this season. They’ve conceded fewer points than any team in the competition. If they combine the two it could get ugly.
ATHLETES TALK: Dragons by 16
ROOSTERS V STORM – MON 1 JUNE, 7:00PM, ALLIANZ STADIUM
First against fifth and two of the genuine contenders for the title. There are nine players backing up from Origin duty. It has rarely hurt the Storm in the past but the Roosters are a different beast. Their strength is proven in their bench. With so many backing up, that could be decisive.
ATHLETES TALK: Roosters by 8