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Johnathan Thurston

Benji Marshall

North Queensland Cowboys Cowboys
Wests Tigers  
2012 Stats
Linebreaks:
11
Errors:
38
Try Assists:
24
Tries:
3
Offloads:
24

Age: 31

Height: 179cm

Weight: 86kg

Johnathan Thurston
2012 Stats
Linebreaks:
6
Errors:
38
Try Assists:
35
Tries:
5
Offloads:
22

Age: 29

Height: 182cm

Weight: 89kg

Benji Marshall
vs

He beat Robbie and the Blues and then stopped Super Cooper and the Storm, so can Thurston now play Tarzan and tame the Tigers or will Benji bring his big guns and out-smoke the Cowboys? It is the show-and-go versus the fancy flick pass and the winner is up to you.

It is often said that the Tigers’ success or failure rides on the back of Benji’s brilliance, and this season has been a bumpy ride for the joint venture. From pre-season favourites to soft-centred also-rans and now back to premiership contenders... where to next for Benji and the boys?

Tony Williams

Frank Pritchard

Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles Sea Eagles
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs Bulldogs
2012 Stats
Tackles:
235
Missed Tackles:
44
Breaks Tackle:
102
Errors:
16
All Run Metres:
1902

Age: 26

Height: 192cm

Weight: 118kg

Tony Williams
2012 Stats
Tackles:
442
Missed Tackles:
44
Breaks Tackle:
41
Errors:
23
All Run Metres:
2462

Age: 31

Height: 187cm

Weight: 112kg

Frank Pritchard
vs

Des and the Bulldogs already have T-Rex sized up for a jersey next season, but this Friday he will be out to show his future team-mates that he is not to be messed with. Will Williams be a marked man or will this endangered species be protected by the Sea Eagles?

When Franky gets cranky it takes a courageous player to stand in his way, and unfortunately for T-Rex he is too big to run and hide. When these two giants come face to face on the field it will be a fierce battle. Who gets your vote?

Beau Scott

Ben Creagh

St George-Illawarra Dragons Dragons
St George-Illawarra Dragons Dragons
2012 Stats
Appearances:
14
Tries:
2
Tackles:
359
Offloads:
15
Penalties:
11

Age: 30

Height: 184cm

Weight: 98kg

Beau Scott
2012 Stats
Appearances:
22
Tries:
7
Tackles:
519
Offloads:
18
Penalties:
13

Age: 29

Height: 191cm

Weight: 103kg

Ben Creagh
vs

He is the player that opposition fans love to hate as he never takes a backward step. Is the man with two first names the Dragons’ only hope of making the finals, or will the winning be left up to team-mate Creagh?

The Dragons showed last week that they have not forgotten how to throw an offload and it sent the Sharks into a spin. Can Creagh keep up the momentum and win this battle against his Red V offsider?

James Maloney

Jarrod Mullen

Warriors  
Newcastle Knights Knights
2012 Stats
Linebreaks:
12
Try Assists:
17
Offloads:
8
Tries:
4
All Run Metres:
1589

Age: 28

Height: 176cm

Weight: 81kg

James Maloney
2012 Stats
Linebreaks:
11
Try Assists:
9
Offloads:
8
Tries:
8
All Run Metres:
1183

Age: 27

Height: 179cm

Weight: 93kg

Jarrod Mullen
vs

A two-point loss to the Broncos has kept the Warriors two points out of the top eight and only two points clear of the Knights. With time running out on Maloney’s Kiwi career he needs to kick-start his team to keep them in finals contention.

There has been no Wayne Bennett miracles in the steel city this season but the Knights still have a slight chance of being around in September. Can Jarrod re-energise the Newcastle boys and help postpone their end-of-season celebrations?

 

Gold Coast Titans

Titans

Brisbane Broncos

Broncos

Coach: John Cartwright
Coach: Anthony Griffin
2012 Club Stats
Played:
24
Wins:
10
Losses:
14
Points For:
449
Points Against:
477
Points Difference:
-28
2012 Club Stats
Played:
24
Wins:
12
Losses:
12
Points For:
481
Points Against:
447
Points Difference:
34
vs

Like silky smooth Gold Coast sand in an hour glass, the Titans’ season is slowly sliding away. Can Carty continue to keep touch with top teams or will this local derby be the end of the road for hopes of the coast?

Coach Griffin is looking to beef up his defence so he can stop the rampaging Idris from taking control of the game and show their neighbours that the big brother Broncos are still the team to beat in the Sunshine state.

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks

Sharks

Canberra Raiders

Raiders

Coach: Shane Flanagan
Coach: David Furner
2012 Club Stats
Tries:
79
Goals:
71
Field Goals:
3
Points:
461
Tackles:
7530
Missed Tackles:
711
2012 Club Stats
Tries:
107
Goals:
83
Field Goals:
1
Points:
595
Tackles:
7850
Missed Tackles:
875
vs

With a place in the top four within reach are the Sharks starting to look like fish out of water or is the recent patch of choppy water just a passing storm? If the Sharkies are serious title contenders they will need to show it against the struggling Raiders.

While a premiership might be out of reach for the Green Machine this season they can still cause some headaches for the teams fighting it out for finals placings. Watch out Sharkies, the Raiders are ready to spoil the party.

Penrith Panthers

Panthers

Sydney Roosters

Coach: Ivan Cleary
Coach: Brian Smith
2012 Club Stats
Penalties:
145
Errors:
261
All Runs:
3907
Offloads:
260
Ineffect. Tackles:
461
L/B Assists:
57
2012 Club Stats
Penalties:
157
Errors:
269
All Runs:
3794
Offloads:
296
Ineffect. Tackles:
373
L/B Assists:
66
vs

The Panthers have been in the headlines for the majority of 2012 but not always because of their on-field acumen. Can Ivan, Gus and Luke show a united front to finish the season or will the mountain men get lost in the Penrith valley?

With their hearts still breaking after the Rabbitohs took revenge for their Round 1 miracle, the Bondi boys will need to show the Penny Panthers that lightning doesn’t strike twice. Can the Roosters rejoin the race for the top eight?

 

Try-saver Stewart

Try-saver Barba

vs
Tuesday 17th July
Tuesday 17th July

Scoring tries at Brookvale Oval is second nature to Stewart, but what makes him even more valuable is his ability to shut out the opposition. As the Sea Eagles’ goal line protector Brett will need to be on the look out for little Benny Barba.

Under the reign of Dessie this pint-sized point-scorer has turned from being a defensive liability into a fierce last line of defence. How will Barba go when faced with the Sea Eagles at fortress Brookvale on Friday night?

Heroic Hindmarsh

Super human Smith

vs
Tuesday 17th July
Tuesday 17th July

The final curtain is about to close on his long and glorious career but will this blue and gold workhorse with the tight shorts be able to avoid the dreaded wooden spoon? Time to pull up your shorts Hindy and finish the season strongly.

With Hindmarsh on the way out can Cameron take hold of the mantle of the hardest-working warrior in the game? Who will come out on top in this battler as they line up against each other for the very last time?

 
 
 
 
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The views in this article are the author’s and not necessarily those of the clubs or the NRL.