This week’s round will be dedicated to injured Knights player Alex McKninnon: “Rise for Alex” round.
Sharks v Cowboys, Remondis Stadium, Friday
The Sharks are experiencing a year they’d rather forget. With more off-field drama and a new caretaker coach, Sharks fans will be cheering their team on for a win as they wish to stay clear from the wooden spoon. Cowboys are 0-8 away from home and with eight rounds left to the competition, they will be desperate for a win. Sharks captain Paul Gallen is out with an injury, while Anthony Tupou moves to lock. For the Cowboys their Origin stars return after having the bye last week. Five-eighth Jonathan Thurston will don jersey number 16 in honour of Alex McKinnon.
Newsroom’s prediction: Cowboys by 6
Eels v Rabbitohs, Pirtek Stadium, Friday
These two teams come into this week’s clash with neither of them tasting victory since round 14. The Eels have lost three straight games and were thrashed by the Warriors last week 48-0; they’ll need the win this week if they want to keep in touch with the top eight. Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire has come out this week and announced there will be no more half back combinations as it will be too costly as the seasons comes to an end. Rabbitohs will need the win to keep stay in the top four. Eels star fullback Jarryd Hayne returns to the side. For the Bunnies, Origin star Greg Inglis will return to fullback, while Nathan Merritt is dropped to NSW Cup.
Newsroom’s prediction: Eels by 1
Roosters v Panthers, Allianz Stadium, Saturday
After being tipped in the start of the season to be back-to-back premiers, the Roosters are finding out how tough that tag can be. They lie fifth on the ladder and will need all the muscle to derail ladder leaders Panthers. The men from Penrith had a nail biter on Monday, with a 80th minute field goal by fullback Matthew Moylan, getting them past the Broncos. The Panthers sit equal at the top of the ladder and will be a tough outfit for the tri-colours. Aidan Guerra and Boyd Cordner return for the Roosters, while for the Panthers, Tyrone Peachey is out due to injury.
Newsroom’s prediction: Roosters by 4
Storm v Raiders, AAMI Park, Saturday
The Storm have suffered back-to-back defeats for the fourth time this season after losing to the Bulldogs last weekend 4-6. They come into this round at eighth spot and with seven rounds left to seasons end, fans will no doubt want their team to come out with the win. The men from the capital ended a four-game losing streak last weekend, with a win against the Titans. The last time these two met in round seven, the green-machine prevailed in the last two minutes with an exciting win. Storm have named an unchanged side, while Brent White returns at prop for the Raiders.
Newsroom’s prediction: Storm by 20
Broncos v Warriors, Suncorp Stadium, Saturday
With the Origin period now over, the Broncos will be looking at key players for a much needed win to stay in the top eight. After suffering a last-minute loss to the Panthers on Monday, they will be looking to turn it around at home against a hot trotting Warriors side. The Warriors have turned their season right around this month; after stagnating in 12th, the Kiwi side lie at sixth spot coming into this week’s clash. Broncos coach Anthony Griffin has named an unchanged side that went down to Penrith on Monday. For the Warriors, Thomas Leulai returns after a three month stint on the sidelines due to injury, while Agnatius Paasi will debut.
Newsroom’s prediction: Warriors by 8
Knights v Titans, Hunter Stadium, Sunday
It will no doubt be an emotional encounter for the Knights this weekend. With this week’s round dedicated to inspirational Alex McKinnon, home fans will be out in force to cheer their team for the win. The Titans were out-played by a resurgent Raiders side last week and are one of five teams that lie nervously outside the top eight, a win against the Knights will help their cause come seasons end. Adam Cutherbertson is named on an extended bench for the Knights while David Mead and Will Zillman are out with hamstring injuries for the Titans.
Newsroom’s prediction: Knights by 14
Tigers v Bulldogs, ANZ Stadium, Sunday
The Tigers are coming into this round aiming to end a two game losing streak which included a belting at the hands of the Sea Eagles 40-8 last week. Canterbury on the other hand have turned it around with three straight wins and lie comfortably in third spot. Tigers centre Tim Simona returns, while David Nofoaluma is out. For the Bulldogs, Josh Morris has been named to return.
Newsroom’s prediction: Bulldogs by 6
Dragons v Sea Eagles, WIN Jubilee Stadium, Monday
The last match of the round will see the Dragons determined to keep their three game winning streak alive and sneak their way into the top eight. The Sea Eagles will be looking for the win to secure the minor premiership once the season is over. Josh Dugan returns for the Dragons, while Anthony Watmough and Jorge Taufua return from injury for Manly.
Newsroom’s prediction: Sea Eagles by 4 – David Telefoni
Top photo from Newcastle Knights’ website.