NRL Tips & Preview – Round 5

Palmerbet Blog

Sports writer, JASON OLIVER, looks over all 16 teams and previews this weekend’s Rugby League action with his NRL tips for all Round 5 matches.

Knights Sea Eagles
Kalyn Ponga 1 Tolutau Koula
Dominic Young 2 Jason Saab
Dane Gagai 3 Christian Tuipulotu
Bradman Best 4 Morgan Harper
Enari Tuala 5 Reuben Garrick
Jake Clifford 6 Kieran Foran
Adam Clune 7 Daly Cherry-Evans
Jacob Saifiti 8 Josh Aloiai
Chris Randall 9 Lachlan Croker
Daniel Saifiti 10 Martin Taupau
Tyson Frizell 11 Haumole Olakau’atu
Brodie Jones 12 Andrew Davey
Kurt Mann 13 Jake Trbojevic
Phoenix Crossland 14 Dylan Walker
Sauaso Sue 15 Karl Lawton
Leo Thompson 16 Sean Keppie
Jirah Momoisea 17 Taniela Paseka


History:
Played 35, Knights 17, Sea Eagles 18

Last Meeting: Round 12, 2021: Knights 18 def. Sea Eagles 10

Final Thoughts: The gloss has started to come off the Newcastle Knights season following their 18-0 loss to the Sharks in Round 4. The Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, on the other hand, finally started to look like themselves while beating the Raiders 25-6.

The Knights will run out with the same 17 again in Round 4 despite the result last week. Des Hasler wishes he could do the same for the Sea Eagles but Tom Trbojevic has been ruled out for a month. Tolutau Koula slots into fullback while Christian Tuipulotu is into the centres for Brad Parker.

Back-to-back defeats have brought the Knight crashing down but the potential of this side is still evident. They looked clunky in attack while reintroducing Kalyn Ponga to the mix in Round 4 but this is a game he can dominate. The Sea Eagles lose a lot in attack with Tom Trbojevic out. What isn’t talked about quite as much is how having a 19-year-old with two games of NRL experience will impact the defence. He’s going to have a tough time organising the line and that is where the new-look, on-ball Ponga will want to make his mark. If Koula gets his numbers wrong, Ponga will pounce. The Sea Eagles did improve without Trbojevic last season but their form so far in 2022 suggests they will struggle to make up for his absence in this one against a Knights side that has proven to have points in them.

Tip: Handicap – Knights -1.5 @ $1.90

Warriors Cowboys
Reece Walsh 1 Scott Drinkwater
Edward Kosi 2 Kyle Feldt
Jesse Arthars 3 Valentine Holmes
Adam Pompey 4 Peta Hiku
Marcelo Montoya 5 Murray Taulagi
Chanel Harris-Tavita 6 Tom Dearden
Shaun Johnson 7 Chad Townsend
Bunty Afoa 8 Jordan McLean
Wayde Egan 9 Reece Robson
Matthew Lodge 10 Jamayne Taunoa-Brown
Euan Aitken 11 Tom Gilbert
Bayley Sironen 12 Jeremiah Nanai
Josh Curran 13 Jason Taumalolo
Kodi Nikorima 14 Jake Granville
Eliesa Katoa 15 Heilum Luki
Aaron Pene 16 Reuben Cotter
Jack Murchie 17 Griffin Neame


History:
Played 39, Warriors 19, Cowboys 20

Last Meeting: Round 12, 2021: Cowboys 29 def. Warriors 28

Final Thoughts: A week is a long time in the NRL. The North Queensland Cowboys came crashing back down to earth with a 28-4 loss to the Sydney Roosters. Meanwhile, the New Zealand Warriors won their second on the bounce with a 20-6 win over the Broncos.

Addin Fonua-Blake is nursing an injury and is named in the Warriors reserves list. Bunty Afoa starts in his place while Bailey Sironen is into the 17 for the suspended Jazz Tevaga. Scott Drinkwater makes his first appearance for the Cowboys with Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow out injured.

The Warriors have picked up two wins on the bounce, but not every win in the NRL is created equal. They were awful in Round 3. In Round 4, however, Shaun Johnson and Chanel Harris-Tavita showed their class which sets this side up to score a few points on Friday. Nathan Brown has finally adjusted to the players in front of him and tasked his big bodies with getting up the field through the middle. That will need to be a focus against a Cowboys team currently third in yardage with 1,699 running metres per game. The probable loss of Fonua-Blake is huge for the Kiwi club. In a game between two sides that can’t be split, winning the middle is crucial. North Queensland are positioned best to dominate that area but what they do with the yardage advantage remains to be seen. Tom Dearden and Chad Townsend have had their moments and piled up points on the Broncos. However, they struggled to put their attack together in Round 4. Scott Drinkwater is into fullback and was their most dangerous attacking weapon in 2021 and how he reintegrates back into the side in a different position will more than likely determine how successful the Cowboys are with the ball. Given the form of these two clubs to start the season and their history in recent years, this one is a lottery.

Tip: Total Score – Over 36.5 @ $1.90

Broncos Roosters
Tesi Niu 1 James Tedesco
Corey Oates 2 Daniel Tupou
Kotoni Staggs 3 Paul Momirovski
Herbie Farnworth 4 Joseph Manu
Selwyn Cobbo 5 Kevin Naiqama
Billy Walters 6 Sam Walker
Adam Reynolds 7 Luke Keary
Keenan Palasia 8 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
Jake Turpin 9 Connor Watson
Payne Haas 10 Siosiua Taukeiaho
Kurt Capewell 11 Nat Butcher
Jordan Riki 12 Sitili Tupouniua
Kobe Hetherington 13 Victor Radley
Ryan James 14 Drew Hutchison
Corey Jensen 15 Daniel Suluka-Fifita
TC Robati 16 Angus Crichton
Cory Paix 17 Lindsay Collins


History:
Played 44, Broncos 23, Roosters 21

Last Meeting: Round 22, 2021: Roosters 21 def. Broncos 20

Final Thoughts: The Sydney Roosters are starting to look a lot more like the Sydney Roosters following their 28-4 victory over the Cowboys. Unfortunately for the Brisbane Broncos, they’re starting to look a lot more like the Brisbane Broncos, too. They never looked likely in their 20-6 loss to the Warriors.

Pat Carrigan, Albert Kelly and Tom Flegler are all out for the Broncos; Billy Walters, Keenan Palasia and Kobe Hetherington are in. Kurt Capewell also returns dropping TC Robati to the bench. Trent Robinson, meanwhile, has named the same 17 Roosters again for this one.

The Broncos might be in a bit of trouble here… Their form has dipped, they’ve been dealing with off-field issues all week, and they’re running into a Roosters side on the up. Poor against the Warriors in Round 4, the Broncos can’t afford to come out of the sheds slowly again. Heads dropped after conceding an early try and never recovered as the Warriors flew out to an early lead. The Sam Walker/Luke Keary combination is beginning to display some of its potential. Meanwhile, as the halves improve in their combination, James Tedesco becomes more dangerous on the edge. No team falls into shape and plays behind a strong middle better than the Roosters. With the Broncos ranked 15th in the NRL in yardage at only 1,434 running metres per game, the Chooks spine looks set to play on a strong foundation. The Roosters don’t look far away from putting it all together and dominating an opposition. The Broncos, on the other hand, have looked there to be beaten over the last fortnight. It could get ugly at Suncorp on Friday night.

Tip: Win Try Combo – Tedesco Anytime/Roosters to win @ $2.20

Raiders Storm
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 1 Ryan Papenhuyzen
Nick Cotric 2 Nick Meaney
Matthew Timoko 3 Reimis Smith
Semi Valemei 4 Justin Olam
Jordan Rapana 5 Xavier Coates
Jack Wighton 6 Cameron Munster
Brad Schneider 7 Jahrome Hughes
Josh Papalii 8 Jesse Bromwich
Tom Starling 9 Harry Grant
Joseph Tapine 10 Nelson Asofa-Solomona
Hudson Young 11 Felise Kaufusi
Corey Harawira-Naera 12 Kenneath Bromwich
Elliott Whitehead 13 Josh King
Matt Frawley 14 Brandon Smith
Emre Guler 15 Alec MacDonald
Adam Elliott 16 Trent Loiero
Corey Horsburgh 17 Tepai Moeroa


History:
Played 49, Raiders 14, Storm 35

Last Meeting: Round 22, 2021: Storm 26 def. Raiders 16

Final Thoughts: Errors once again plagued the Canberra Raiders as they stumbled and fumbled their way through a 25-6 defeat at the hands of the Sea Eagles. As for the Melbourne Storm, they thrashed the Bulldogs 44-0 on Sunday afternoon.

Ricky Stuart is going with the same 17 Raiders that fell to the Sea Eagles in Round 4. Unsurprisingly, Craig Bellamy has done the same with the Storm.

Good luck picking what the Raiders are going to do every week. One day they look like Top 8 certainties as they charge up the field before the likes of Tom Starling, Jack Wighton and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad manufacture points. Other days they have the Wests Tigers circling them as a possible win to lift them off 16th on the NRL ladder. Regardless of which version of the Canberra Rollercoasters turns up on Friday, the Storm will more than likely have their way. Cameron Munster, Jahrome Hughes, Harry Grant and Ryan Papenhuyzen make for a ridiculous spine. We’ve not seen them spend a lot of time on the field together over the last 18 months, but from what we saw in Round 4, the Storm will again play with a top-four attack in 2022. Canberra’s right edge defence is a slight concern and Papenhuyzen’s speed will be particularly dangerous running at Semi Valemei who is still learning the centre position. The Raiders have a good history against the Storm and always seem to grow legs in this fixture, but they’re running at a side that appears to have hit their straps heading into Round 5. Ricky Stuart will do well to keep this one to within two tries on the night.

Tip: Anytime Tryscorer – Justin Olam @ $2.40

Rabbitohs Dragons
Latrell Mitchell 1 Moses Mbye
Alex Johnston 2 Mathew Feagai
Taane Milne 3 Moses Suli
Campbell Graham 4 Zac Lomax
Josh Mansour 5 Mikaele Ravalawa
Cody Walker 6 Jack Bird
Lachlan Ilias 7 Ben Hunt
Tevita Tatola 8 Francis Molo
Damien Cook 9 Andrew McCullough
Thomas Burgess 10 Aaron Woods
Keaon Koloamatangi 11 Tariq Sims
Jai Arrow 12 Jaydn Su’a
Cameron Murray 13 Jack de Belin
Blake Taaffe 14 Talatau Amone
Jacob Host 15 Josh Kerr
Davvy Moale 16 Blake Lawrie
Liam Knight 17 Jackson Ford


History:
Played 36, Rabbitohs 19, Dragons 17

Last Meeting: Round 25, 2021: Rabbitohs 20 def. Dragons 16

Final Thoughts: Despite falling to the Panthers 26-12, the South Sydney Rabbitohs are beginning to click into gear. The St. George Illawarra Dragons, on the other hand, can’t get through to Round 5 soon enough after being hammered by the Eels 48-14.

Josh Mansour is onto the Rabbitohs wing for Jaxson Paulo while Mark Nicholls is also out. Tom Burgess is into the front row with Davvy Moale and Blake Taaffe onto the bench. Jaydn Su’A is back for the Dragons this week. Remarkably, Moses Mbye is again at fullback and Jack Bird at five-eighth.

Poor Dragons… There is a good chance that they’re the side to cop the Rabbitohs just as they start to fire. It’s been a difficult start to the 2022 NRL season for the Bunnies. While they have just one win in four games to be equal with the Bulldogs and Dragons on the ladder, the Rabbitohs are in a different class. They’ve improved as the season has gone on and now that they are through a difficult draw, we’re going to see those improvements translate into competition points. Jason Demetriou will be pleading with his side to hold the ball. The Rabbitohs have coughed it up more than any side in the competition for an NRL-high 56 errors through four rounds. A lot of those errors have come in promising attacking actions, too. If they hold the ball, the Bunnies will run through a Dragons side disjointed in defence, slow to slide and poor in yardage to be 14th with 1,461 running metres per game. Anthony Griffin is already desperate. He is rotating through players in key positions, hoping the combinations might stick. Round 4 – and the general history of the approach and the players involved on this occasion – suggests they won’t.

Tip: Handicap – Rabbitohs -8.5 @ $1.90

Titans Eels
Jamayne Isaako 1 Clinton Gutherson
Corey Thompson 2 Waqa Blake
Phillip Sami 3 Will Penisini
Patrick Herbert 4 Tom Opacic
Greg Marzhew 5 Bailey Simonsson
AJ Brimson 6 Dylan Brown
Toby Sexton 7 Mitchell Moses
Moeaki Fotuaika 8 Reagan Campbell-Gillard
Erin Clark 9 Reed Mahoney
Isaac Liu 10 Junior Paulo
David Fifita 11 Shaun Lane
Beau Fermor 12 Isaiah Papali’i
Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 13 Nathan Brown
Will Smith 14 Makahesi Makatoa
Jarrod Wallace 15 Ryan Matterson
Jaimin Jolliffe 16 Oregon Kaufusi
Kevin Proctor 17 Mitch Rein


History:
Played 22, Titans 11, Eels 11

Last Meeting: Round 1, 2022: Eels 32 def. Titans 28

Final Thoughts: The Gold Coast Titans got out of jail last week to beat the Titans 8-6 in an absolute bludger of a football game. Meanwhile, Mitchell Moses and the Parramatta Eels announced themselves to the rest of the NRL by dominating the Dragons 48-14 in Round 4.

Beau Fermor, Phil Sami, Isaac Liu are all in for the Titans; Brian Kelly appears to have been dropped entirely. Shaun Lane is back for the Eels moving Ryan Matterson to the bench and Bryce Cartwright to 18th man.

Like the Warriors over the Tigers in Round 3, the Titans win over the Tigers in Round 4 is proof that not all wins are equal. There was little to take out of that 80 minutes for the Titans outside of bad memories and concerns for Round 5. They will need to make significant improvements if they’re to keep up with a high-flying Eels side. Where the Titans are playing with a new, inexperienced and inconsistent spine, the Eels are flying behind the stellar form of Mitchell Moses and Dylan Brown along with the cohesion between the halves, hooker and fullback. The Eels pack is one of the best in the NRL at the moment, too. Getting the balance between ball-playing and charging up the middle right more often to start this season, only Penrith runs for more metres than Parramatta’s 1,715 metres per game. The Eels are on fire to start the 2022 NRL season and are getting better every week. The Titans, on the other hand, struggle for consistency across 80 minutes and will need to be at their very best just to keep this one close.

Tip: Eels Total Points – Over 23.5 @ $1.88

Sharks Tigers
William Kennedy 1 Daine Laurie
Sione Katoa 2 David Nofoaluma
Jesse Ramien 3 James Roberts
Siosifa Talakai 4 Oliver Gildart
Ronaldo Mulitalo 5 Ken Maumalo
Matt Moylan 6 Jock Madden
Nicho Hynes 7 Luke Brooks
Toby Rudolf 8 James Tamou
Blayke Brailey 9 Jacob Liddle
Braden Hamlin-Uele 10 Zane Musgrove
Briton Nikora 11 Kelma Tuilagi
Teig Wilton 12 Luciano Leilua
Dale Finucane 13 Joe Ofahengaue
Aiden Tolman 14 Tyrone Peachey
Cameron McInnes 15 Alex Twal
Braydon Trindall 16 Luke Garner
Andrew Fifita 17 Alex Seyfarth


History:
Played 33, Sharks 14, Tigers 18

Last Meeting: Round 23, 2021: Sharks 50 def. Tigers 20

Final Thoughts: The Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks continued their impressive start to the 2022 NRL season with an 18-0 win over the Knights. The same can’t be said for the Wests Tigers who lost in a way only the Wests Tigers can in Round 4.

Siosifa Talakai keeps his place in the Sharks with Craig Fitzgibbon naming an unchanged 17. Somewhat surprisingly, Michael Maguire has kept the same 17 despite the dire performance in Round 4. Jackson Hastings is still a week away from his suspension.

Plenty expect the Sharks to slip up at some stage following their hot start to the 2022 NRL season. However, it’s unlikely to be this week. While the Tigers may have kept it close in Round 4, they didn’t play particularly well. Their attack is still dire and their edge defence will struggle to keep up with this Sharks spine. Nicho Hynes, Matt Moylan and Will Kennedy are linking up across the field. They’re hitting one edge before hitting the other, searching for openings in the defensive line and often exploiting them. With Cameron McInnes beginning to have more of an influence as a ball-player in the middle, the Sharks will only be able to move the ball quicker. Good defences can slide and shut these side-to-side shifts down. The Tigers are not one of those good defences. Michael Maguire could inspire an improved defensive performance out of the Tigers – we have seen it before. But even if he does, he’s unlikely to get anything out of this spluttering attack and not enough to keep up with the high-flying Sharks spine.

Tip: Tigers Total Points – Under 11.5 @ $1.96

Bulldogs Panthers
Matt Dufty 1 Dylan Edwards
Brent Naden 2 Charlie Staines
Braidon Burns 3 Izack Tago
Jake Averillo 4 Stephen Crichton
Josh Addo-Carr 5 Taylan May
Matt Burton 6 Jarome Luai
Kyle Flanagan 7 Nathan Cleary
Luke Thompson 8 Matthew Eisenhuth
Jeremy Marshall-King 9 Apisai Koroisau
Paul Vaughan 10 James Fisher-Harris
Corey Waddell 11 Viliame Kikau
Tevita Pangai Junior 12 Liam Martin
Josh Jackson 13 Isaah Yeo
Brandon Wakeham 14 Mitch Kenny
Chris Patolo 15 Scott Sorensen
Max King 16 Spencer Leniu
Joe Stimson 17 Jaeman Salmon


History:
Played 42, Bulldogs 18, Panthers 23

Last Meeting: Round 12, 2021: Panthers 30 def. Bulldogs 4

Final Thoughts: The Penrith Panthers moved to 4-0 with a 26-12 win over the Rabbitohs in Round 4. It wasn’t so pretty for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs who couldn’t keep close to the Storm throughout their 44-0 defeat.

Trent Barrett is shuffling the deck chairs again with Kyle Flanagan making his first appearance of the season for the Bulldogs. Brandon Wakeham drops to the bench and Bailey Biondi-Odo to 18th man. Viliame Kikau suffered a head knock but is expected to play in an unchanged Panthers outfit.

If you listen carefully, you can start to hear the sizzle of Trent Barrett’s coach’s seat. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and few measures are more desperate than recalling Flanagan into the #7 jersey for what feels like the 74th time in hope that this time is when he puts it together. To Flanagan’s credit, he has dished out six try assists in four games in reserve grade this year. He profiles as a much better partner for Matt Burton in the halves. However, there is little to suggest that Barrett will put a plan in place that can get the most out of the halves pairing with the ball. They signed high-profile attacking players over the summer but are the worst attacking team in the NRL scoring seven points per game. The Panthers, on the other hand, rank second scoring 28 points per game and have only just added Nathan Cleary to the mix. A rollback of the six again rules have made games more even, but no rule change can make up for the Bulldogs’ lack of attack against the best defence in the competition over the last three seasons. Ivan Cleary will need to keep his team on the bus for the Panthers to lose this one.

Tip: Margin Try Combo – Cleary Anytime/Panthers 13+ @ $3.75