Durko's Dissections: NRL previews for round 22
Tony Durkin has a look at all the games in round 22
Sea Eagles V Tigers
History: Played 28, Sea Eagles 15, Tigers 13
Last met: Tigers 20-6, round 1, 2019
Ladbrokes odds: Sea Eagles $1.30, Tigers $3.50
Both clubs have key injuries, with the must-win Tigers hit hardest by the loss of skipper Moses Mbye and veteran hooker Robbie Farah. And, as a result of surprise last-start losses, the Tigers have slipped out of the eight and the Sea Eagles missed the chance of jumping into the vital top four. Although the Tigers have won five of the past six clashes between the clubs, an 8-2 record at Brookvale - and the Trbojevic brothers - gives the Sea Eagles a decided edge.
TIP - Sea Eagles
Titans V Eels
Cbus Super Stadium, 6pm
History: Played 18, Titans 11, Eels 7
Last met: Eels 28-12, round 21, 2018
Ladbrokes odds: Titans $3.15, Eels $1.35
We hear plenty of promises form the Gold Coast players, but seven successive losses and a woeful defensive record of an average 26 points conceded sums up their season from hell. Still in the hunt for a top-four finals berth, the Eels have a golden opportunity to greatly improve their for-and-against record despite having won just twice in nine visits to the glitter strip.
TIP - Eels
Broncos V Panthers
Suncorp Stadium, 7.55pm
History: Played 53, Broncos 33, Panthers 19, drawn 1
Last met: Broncos 50-18, round 19, 2018
Ladbrokes odds: Broncos $1.67, Panthers $1.35
The Blues' winning halves combination of James Maloney and Nathan Cleary should have a night out at Suncorp against an opposition pairing that is, in all honesty, not of NRL standard. While the two big packs are likely to share the honours in what shapes as a titanic clash up front, the Broncos impotent attack offers few serious threats and their tenuous grip on a finals spot will slip at the hands of a youthful and impressive Panthers outfit.
TIP - Panthers
Knights V Cowboys
McDonald Jones Stadium 3pm
History: Played 37, Knights 19, Cowboys 18
Last met: Cowboys 20-18, round 20, 2018
Ladbrokes odds: Knights $1.50, Cowboys $2.60
Considering both clubs had three players in the Origin finale this year, they have under-performed massively in 2019 and will both miss the finals - again. And even though the Knights have lost six in succession, the fact the Cowboys could not beat the poorly-led Broncos last week says much about their current form. The Knights' good record at home - and Kalyn Ponga against his former club - could well be the major difference.
TIP - Knights
Storm V Raiders
AAMI Park, 5.30pm
History: Played 42, Storm 32, Raiders 11
Last met: Storm 22-10, round 2, 2019
Ladbrokes odds: Storm $1.45, Raiders $2.70
If these teams reproduce the form - and the class - of last weekend, this shapes as a Saturday evening blockbuster. With a six-point ladder lead the Storm have virtually sealed yet another minor premiership and despite some recent injury concerns, they effortlessly continue to methodically roll over all opponents. And despite being the second-best defensive team - behind Melbourne - history is against the Raiders who have not won on their past four visits to AAMI Park. But the Green Machine is in outstanding form and this will be close, with Joey Leilua a welcome addition.
TIP - Storm
Rabbitohs V Bulldogs
History: Played 158, Bulldogs 80, Rabbitohs 74, drawn 4
Last met: Rabbitohs 14-6, round 6, 2019
Ladbrokes odds: Rabbitohs $1.30, Bulldogs $3.40
The Rabbitohs may have dominated recent clashes between these two long-time rivals, but recent form suggests an upset might be on the cards. Having been written off as cannon fodder a few weeks ago, the Bulldogs have had three wins and a close loss to the Roosters in their past five outings. Conversely, the Rabbitohs have lost two in succession and are struggling with form, and injuries, although captain Sam Burgess returns for this. Three straight wins for the improving Dogs is not out of the question.
TIP - Rabbitohs
Roosters V Warriors
History: Played 40, Warriors 22, Roosters 17, drawn 1
Last met: Roosters 32-nil, round 10, 2018
Ladbrokes odds: Roosters $1.18, Warriors $4.75
Without some key men they may well be, but the Roosters still command top premiership billing from the bookies despite sitting six points behind the Storm on the ladder. And that says much about the impeccably-planned run home by coach Trent Robinson who will have the premiers primed at finals time. While the Warriors scored an upset win over the Sea Eagles last week and they have, surprisingly, won four of their past five against the Roosters, the $4.75 odds for the visitors in this two-horse race looks close to the mark.
TIP - Roosters
Sharks V Dragons
PointsBet Stadium, 4.05pm
History: Played 43, Dragons 22, Sharks 20, drawn 1
Last met: Sharks 22-9, round 11, 2018
Ladbrokes odds: Sharks $1.33, Dragons $3.25
As neighbouring clubs, there is usually very little between the Dragons and the Sharks irrespective of their positions on the ladder, and Sunday's result looms as the same. But with more than just pride at stake the Sharks, at home, should be more motivated and a win could put them back in the top eight. Yet despite sitting 14th, the talented Dragons are certainly capable of an upset.
TIP - Sharks
- Compiled by Tony Durkin