Highlights of the match between the Bulldogs & the Wests Tigers
Highlights of the match between the Panthers & the Cowboys
Highlights of the match between the Titans & the Sea Eagles
There is no shortage of great fullbacks in the game at the moment and Inglis is showing that he deserves to be in the top spot. Does Darius stand a chance against this superstar centre-turned-fullback?
With one last game before the off-season begins, will Boyd be looking to finish a tough season with a bang and send the Rabbitohs into the finals with a loss or will his mind be focused on Mad Monday celebrations?
After handing the Broncos their sixth straight loss last weekend the Sea Eagles are no longer flying under the radar. This week Manly can make it six straight wins if they handle the Titans with the same skills they showed the Broncos.
There is only one Choc Watmough but one player who knows how to stand up to his muscle is Nate Myles. The Titans might be out of the running for the premiership but no one likes to lose the last game of the year on home turf.
It’s just his second year in the NRL but Josh has shown that he has the skills to lead a team all the way and the Bulldogs are poised to take the minor premiership. Can the youth and enthusiasm of Reynolds teach Braith a big lesson?
Although Braith isn’t retiring, it is his last hurrah in the Roosters’ red, white and blue and he will be looking to give the loyal fans a game to remember. Can this ex-Bulldog ruffle the feathers of Reynolds before the finals commence?
His nickname might be ‘Gifty’ but his Sea Eagles don’t yet have the premiership all wrapped up. Can Stewart help deliver another Brookvale belting and bust up the Broncos’ finals hopes?
Five losses in a row is not the best preparation for the finals but a big win against one of the premiership favourites on their home soil might help improve the confidence. Can Thaiday light up Friday night footy?
This Panther has more zip than speedy Gonzales but his up-and-down season has meant we have not seen the best of his afterburners. With the season nearing its end will Jennings jump to life and scorch through the Titans?
Giant Jamal is not as quick and nimble as jet-speed Jennings but who needs speed when you can just run over the top of your opponents? Will Jennings become another speed bump statistic on Jamal’s resume?
Who needs a big three when you have a big two as good as Bowen and JT? These northerners are shooting the Cowboys into the finals but which one is most vital to the team’s success? Is Bowen the best Cowboy on the range?
JT has more representative jerseys than little Matty Bowen and he might lead the Cowboys around the paddock but is he the backbone of the team? Does the headgear give JT an advantage?
It will be a hard task for Ricky Stuart to find replacements for Burt and Hindmarsh next season at the Eels. Burt has delivered the blue and gold army a host of memories but will Merritt make his second-last game miserable?
Was last week’s loss just a hiccup or are the Rabbits starting to look shakey with September just around the corner? Master try-scorer Merritt will need to deliver a stellar performance for Souths to keep the doubters at bay.
Many rate him as the best recruit of the season, but is Todd Carney now the main man at Cronulla? The classy pivot has played his way into an Origin jersey this year, but is he more important to the Sharks than the Blues skipper?
He's the hardest working forward in the game and an inspirational leader for club and state, but is Gallen's grunt work now playing second fiddle to Carney's playmaking skills? Who is the best player at the Sharks?
It has been a full circle for Soward in the past few weeks, going from injured to playing reserve grade to the starting from the bench and now back to the starting side, but can he stop the game’s best five-eighth or will his season keep spinning?
Moving from number seven to number six has been no problem for JT but can he help the Cowboys move from fifth into the top four and give the premiership a real shake? Just three games to go and the Dragons are first on the hit list.
He's got youth, size and speed on his side, so it stands to reason Dugan has the edge on Mini. A tackle-busting specialist who is Canberra's biggest attacking threat, is Dugan the number one No.1 in this clash?
His quickest days may be behind him, but Roosters legend Minichiello is still a proven performer for the tricolours. With an extra decade of experience over the younger Dugan, is Mini the man in this fullbacks match-up?
Bowen has been the backbone of the Cowboy team for years and this season he has continued to bewilder the opposition with his natural skill and flair. Can the star fullback bring the Cowboys back into the winners circle?
A loss to the Sharks has put the Warriors four points out of finals contention so a win here against Bowen and the Cowboys is required to keep the calendar busy for September. It is not often Locke gets to lace up against someone his own size.
If the game was just 30 minutes long the Eels would be a super team to support but keeping that pace for a full 80 has proven a difficult task for Parramatta. With the finals out of reach this one is all about pride for Sandow.
He showed a Soward-less Dragons outfit why he deserved to be in the Blues team but backing up his performance against the Eels will be just as important. Can mighty Mitch deliver a knockout blow to the Eels’ hopes of missing the wooden spoon?
With just one try to his name in Knights colours Boyd has had to rely on setting up his teammates to keep his stats column looking good. Does a healthy 10 try assists make up for a shortfall in four-pointers or does Darius need to deliver more points?
Akuila’s double against the Dogs was his fourth two-try performance of the season and took his overall tally to 16 tries. Is Uate’s ability to cross the white line a bigger benefit to the Knights than Boyd’s helping hand?
He is big enough to play in the forwards but Jamal prefers to do his work from the centres and terrorise his smaller opponents. Will the wide-running ‘Coal Train’ aim up against this titanic Titan?
Taylor’s broad shoulders are big enough to carry the entire Bunnies team, but will the weight of finals expectations prove too heavy? The fast-finishing Titans will be a big test for Taylor and his team.
He has speed to burn and unbelievable skills but what he doesn’t have is a place in the top eight. Can Shaun sharpen up the Warriors and get them back in position for a crack at the finals?
After missing last weekend Carney will be keen to stop the Sharks sliding further down the ladder against the Warriors, but will Johnson and his Kiwi bros cause too much carnage for Carney?
The Tigers’ campaign has yet to live up to expectations and their big off-season buy will need to step up if they are to save their season. Can Blair brush aside the Eels and keep the Tigers a top-eight chance?
Each win for the Eels brings them closer to avoiding the dreaded wooden spoon and with Moimoi leading the way the blue-and-gold army might just have a chance against the wounded Tigers.
In his last season with the Wests Tigers before heading back to the mother country, can Ellis carry the struggling Tigers into the finals with a strong performance against his rival countryman? Will there be a premiership trophy in Gareth’s bag when he returns to England?
Many say Sammy has spent more time on the injury list than on the paddock in his Bunnies uniform, but at the end of the day it’s winning that counts and if Burgess and his brothers can help capture a title for the Rabbitohs all will be forgiven.
After losing to his old coach on his home turf the boy from Wee Waa will be keen to show the Warriors that they are still are strong as when they won last year’s grand final. Can Lyon lead his team to victory in Western Australia?
It is a long way from Warrior land to Western Australia but if the Kiwi kids want to show the Sea Eagles that they are better than their current ladder position they will need to pack a lot of effort. A top-eight place beckons if Hurrell can run over Lyon.
Bird and Myles both enjoyed a man-of-the-match performance in Origin but unluckily for Greg he didn’t get to celebrate a series win. Just like Origin, there can only be one winner in this head-to-head battle. Bird or Myles?
Mighty Nate Myles and bustling Greg Bird have been leading a Titans revival over the past month and are now in reach of a finals finish. Can Myles make more noise than Bird and help Gold Coast out-shine the other teams in the hunt for eighth place?
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?
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?
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?
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?
Big Sammy is still having nightmares about being steamrolled by Morris in the Origin decider but now he will need to refocus and keep watch on the skilful hands of Mateo. Can Thaiday keep track of the fast-thinking Feleti?
He was overlooked for an Origin jersey but has since stepped up a gear or two to help the Warriors fight for a finals appearance. With more offloads than Thaiday has curls, Mateo will be a tough act to juggle.
While they play different positions there is a striking similarity between these two Blues brothers. Both have won a premiership and both have captained their club... but which one will win this Versus head-to-head battle?
After getting a release from Gus, local lad Luke is now on the lookout for some new digs. Will Luke unleash his new lease on life against the Tigers or will Farah put him and the Panthers back in their place?
While it takes more than a month of good footy to win a premiership, the in-form wide man is fast climbing back up the ladder of the best finishers in first grade. Will Inu be able to hold onto his form during the finals and help the Bulldogs win big?
The 2009 season was a memorable one for the electric Eels as the Hanye plane carried the boys in blue and gold all the way to the grand final. Has Inu learnt from that loss to the Storm or will history repeat for this Eel-turned-Warrior-turned-Bulldog?
They might be struggling on the ladder but that didn't stop the Green Machine from turning the Storm from purple rain to sprinkles. Has Fergo re-found the form that made him such a good catch for the capital city kids?
Giant Jamal came off second best when he faced off against Hurrell the hulk last week, but can he bounce back and stop Ferguson and the Raiders from destroying the Titans' sand castle?
He bumped his head and then got bumped out of Origin, but instead of disappearing into the wilderness with a bandaged head this Bunny bumped his way back into the headlines with a barnstorming performance against the Panthers.
Big Willie helped the Knights win back-to-back matches for the first time this season but the coal city kids are still far from full power. Can Mason muscle up to the human coal train and stop him from driving the two competition points out of town?
After losing five in a row early in the season the Prince of Robina has rallied his royal troops and marched them to the brink of the top eight. The problem now is getting past the mean-looking Warriors who stand at the gate.
After a grand final appearance in 2011 everyone thought Shaun had stepped out of the shadows of being tagged as the 'next Benji' and carved out his own career, but the cross-Tasman speedster and his Kiwi friends need to spring back to life to land back in the finals.
With the departure of Bryce Gibbs, Big Keith was looking forward to a season as the dominant forward in the Tigers pack but after a stellar start to the season he now has to share it with this young cub. Is Keithy the king of the Tigers clan?
A beard and a baby face are a tough combination to pull off on a rugby league field but this Tigers prop has managed to make it work. He even propelled himself into discussions for Origin selection. Are there bigger days ahead for this bearded Tiger?
When the big boys are away on Origin duty this young Kiwi has been handed the keys to the captain’s locker. With his strong work ethic and handy ball skills you can certainly see the potential. But is it a smart move to trust someone with two first names with such a responsibility?
Speaking of interesting names, Jayson will be searching for another consonant to go with his y – and that’s a w in the win column for the Sharks. Can he lead from the front and deliver a blockbusting start for the Shire boys?
Trips to the finals have been few and far between for Sutton and his flash assortment of tats, but as a good combination forms with his ink loving halfback Adam Reynolds, it looks like a finals finish in 2012. Does this long time red & green Rabbit deserve NRL glory more than Merritt?
For years he kept the points ticking over for Souths with his try scoring tricks, but has taken second stage lately to the superstar form of Greg Inglis. Despite this sideways promotion, has Merritt been a greater servant to South’s than Sutton?
The hardest player to tackle in the NRL and boasting a surprising turn of speed, Hurrell’s main battle is with the elusive mark of consistency. This match up against the Cowboys Mr. Consistent will shape as a good test for the Kiwi kid.
The underrated Graham is the NRL’s leading meat pie merchant and hasn’t missed a minute all season. But when it comes to representative duties for QLD, it appears the selectors aren’t hungry for this Cowboy. Can he make Hurrell eat humble pie?
The Blues’ win in Origin II should give this young Rooster plenty of confidence to take the next step in his career, but by the looks of things in the social pages mighty Mitch has a lot to crow about. Can he add another win when he faces DCE?
He sat on the bench for the Kangaroos and the Maroons but when it comes to club footy he is the man in the middle. DCE will be looking to show the Roosters that he is no second-string Sea Eagle and instead serve up a win with a cherry on top.
In case you haven’t noticed Hodges has a tendency to run from dummy half... it might be the worst-kept coaching secret in the NRL but he still manages to make it work. So be warned Bunnies, let him run and you will come undone.
GI and Hodges form a formidable centre combination for the mighty Maroons but when he is back inside the rabbit warren this superstar now shifts his skills to fullback. Will his last line of defence stand up against Suncorp stallions?
His legs are like tree trunks but they can move faster than the wind... much like Tuqiri in his heyday. Stand in his way and you could end up with footprints on your face. Who will win this battle of the wingers and control the sideline?
While Uate has nightmares about dropping bombs in Origin, big Lote is dreaming about the good old days when he was a representative superstar. Should Tuqiri step aside and let the steel city speedster take centre stage?
The Broncos had been waiting a long time for a solid hooker to fill the void of John Plath. Is handy Andy the man who can carry the Brisbane boys to the finals and give them a shot at winning the premiership or is he just a stop-gap measure until the real deal comes along?
This pint-sized bunny no longer has to share the limelight with Chris Sandow but if he is not too careful he might find himself as just another support player behind Adam Reynolds’ Rabbitohs. Is it Luke who leads the team from the front or does South Sydney’s success start in the halves?
If you count the Bye, it’s back to back wins for Sandow and the much maligned Eels. Despite a desperately needed win, they still find themselves propping up the NRL ladder with a mortgage on the spoon. Can Chrissy shock South Sydney?
Marked by an impressive array of ink, even by NRL standards, this rookie Rabbit was supposed to struggle in filling Sandow’s shoes. But he’s shown there’s substance on top of his tattooed style, will he make his mark when it counts?
Big Bryce might be the clown prince of the Sharks pack, but who will get the last laugh when he squares off with Auckland’s baddest bros? They can hit you from anywhere across the park, watch out for your funny bone Bryce.
He is built like a brick wall and there is definitely nothing soft about this Warrior. Can Packer pack the heat onto the Shire boys and make them melt, or will he be spread across the field like dirt sandwich?
If the Blues are going to win Game II and the series, every player will need to play like Greg Bird did in Game I. Can Bird smash his Titans team-mates and force a decider, or will Myles give him 7 years of bad luck?
His man of the match performance in Game I lifted the Maroons over the Blues, but can he replicate the result on the soggy Sydney soil?
Filling the shoes of a club legend is never easy, particularly when that legend is the great Darren Lockyer. Has stormin' Norman put the Broncos fans at ease with his great start to the season or will their be tough times ahead for Corey?
He dominated at the Broncos for over a decade but has now been brushed aside by the new kids on the block. Can the great man ever really be replaced or are there still deep wounds following his departure?
Big Jared has filled the gap left by the Roosters’ previous international enforcer Adrian Morely. JWH ticks all the boxes: big, cranky and funny accent... but can he manage to monster the young Broncos ram-raider and help the Roosters rise?
He is part rock-star and part footballer, but that part footballer can still hit pretty hard. Like a Queensland version of Paul Sironen, the booming Bronco wraps on the head tape and steams onto the field to damage his opponents.
He is the older half of the young Warriors playmaking pair, which means he also gets tagged as the wiser one. Does wisdom lead to Warrior wins or is there more to Maloney than meets the eye?
With speeds to burn and a passing game to rival the magic of Marshall, there should be no stopping Shaun from tearing apart opposition teams. Is Johnson the key to a Warriors premiership?
The big choc missed his shot at Origin I and is now out to show the NSW selectors that he deserves a Blues jersey. With his recent standout performances he should be a certain starter, only question is who gets put on the chopping block...Creagh?
When talking about variation, this Dragon struggles to meet the definition. Same lines, same runs, same results. Well, if the mighty Red V want to return from Brookie with a win they will need to make sure they study the dictionary and learn some variation.
This Titan has to wear headgear because he is only three feet tall. Despite his size, Srama’s quick little legs help him duck and weave through the opposition defence with ease... it looks a bit like a game of watch-a-mole with his head popping up here, there and everywhere.
With hair like that why cover it with headgear? This pocket rocket from up north has no issue flying head first at his bigger opponents. Call him crazy but his don't say he is not using his head.
He came face to face with GI in Origin I and handled himself very well, but on a points decision the victory had to go to Inglis. So, now we come to the re-match before the Origin re-match... can J-Moz even the scores?
This big Rabbit no longer looks like he swallowed a sheep and he definitely is not soft and cuddly to tackle, so when it comes to stepping in front of Inglis on the footy field you need to be ready to stand your ground... any takers?
He might be a sharp shooter when it comes to try conversions but it will be field goal practice that will consume Soward’s preparations this week. Will Soward get his point across when the Dragons face Sandow’s Eels?
His week with Wenty has come and gone but the slippery Eels are still struggling to find another victory. Does little Chrissy have any tricks left in his gym bag or will the Eels continue to reside in the bottom half of the ladder in 2012?
If this was a contest of hair styles then Matai would be in all sorts of trouble. The menace from across the Tasman has been in terrific form for the Sea Eagles this season but does he have the edge over Lyon?
The kid they call ‘Killer’ has once again opted for the Sea Eagles’ maroon over the NSW blue... Perhaps he is waiting on a call from Big Mal to size him up for a Queensland jersey to keep his colours consistent.
Super Slater was struck by an aerial raid from the Blues in Origin I, but there will be no roof at AAMI Park on Friday and not much chance of Billy backing up with another bad performance. Be warned Broncos, Billy the Kid will have all guns blazing.
He is not the Hoff from Baywatch but this young Bronco is a life saver at the back for the Brisbane boys. Up against the mighty Melbourne Storm, Hoffman will need more than a flashy pair of red Speedos to keep himself afloat on Friday.
He is nearly as old as the Dragons coach and at times he seems to move around the field like a pensioner, but with age comes wisdom and when faced with the challenge of teaching a rookie the ropes this Dragons will be sure to fire.
This Redfern rookie is on a fair bit less than his predecessor, but most Bunnies fans are pretty happy to have Reynolds rather the Sandow steering the Souths ship this season. Will this boom young gun be able to keep pace with the wily Hornby?
He was once the glory boy of the Queensland Origin team but now gets to watch from his couch as the two states go head-to-head. Can Lote revive his representative form and show the Warriors why he once was a warrior for the Maroons?
For years the Beast had the best beard in the NRL, but that was until Manly’s Wolfman came to life and stole his trademark. Can Manu show Lote that with beard or without beard he can still cause some hairy situations against the Tigers?
This pocket rocket with no neck is a major risk to any team he plays against... just ask the Broncos. His size is small but his skills are large and with JT off on Origin duties little Matty Bowen will need to come up big for the Cowboys.
With teammate Jennings dropping back to reserve grade last week Coote stepped up to the plate, making the match-winning play against the Dragons. Can Coote keep the form up and win the battle of the little big men this week?
The Broncos have lost superstars like Lockyer, Folau and Karmicheal Hunt in recent years, but with readymade replacements like Hoffman taking charge coach Griffin won't be losing any sleep about blocking off the Broncos exit door.
With his recent standout performances for the rejuvenated Sea Eagles, Stewart has galloped his way back into contention for the Blues fullback spot. Will Sticky Ricky give snake the first bite at the Maroons in State of Origin?
After feasting on most of the NRL teams in the first eight rounds, the Sharkies couldn't stomach the fluffy bunnies and ended up coughing up fur balls. Can Carney take his cough medicine and make a recovery in time to wrestle with super Cooper?
If the Storm keep destroying teams week in, week out, it could be a very one-sided 2012 premiership. Maybe coach Bellyache should switch the players’ positions to keep things interesting... Smith to fullback, Slater in the front row and Cooper becomes the mascot... sound fair?
Any more losses like last weekend and the Panthers will be downgraded to the Pussycats, and unless GM Gus can work out how to clone Luke Lewis the mountain men may be in for mauling at the hands of the Dragons.
His ANZAC Day heroics saved the day for the Dragons but big performances have been few and far between this season. Creagh has done the job for NSW in the past but is it time the Blues find a new forward to throw at the Maroons?
The Warriors half is one of the best organisers in the game, which was shown when he signed with the Roosters two years before he will even get to look inside the tricolours dressing room. Was it the signing of Maloney that forced Anasta out the door?
At season’s end captain Braith is packing up his Bondi pad, plucking his feathers and driving down the M5 to Campbelltown to set up his new home with the Tigers. Does Sheens really plan on using him in the halves or will he be another half-turned-battering ram next season?
When the game’s on the line and something amazing is required, Benji’s the man the Tigers turn to. Having cut his teeth with the Kiwi captaincy, is the time now right for this flashy five eight to take over at Wests?
Captaining a team of champions rather than a champion team must be a tough task for this hard working hooker. Has Robbie got the right stuff to right the Tiger’s season or is he too preoccupied with chasing rep honours to earn the title of club captain?
One look at his head and you can tell Mick Crocker is not someone to trifle with. Big Mick has killed it at club, Origin and Test levels, and will relish this crack at Gallen the Great. Maroons recall anyone?
The Raiders camouflaged Anzac jersey couldn’t hide them from becoming the Shark’s sixth straight victims. Win 7 consecutive NRL matches for Cronulla and Gallen can expect the keys to the Shire and a tab for life at Northies.
Last year Hindy landed in the sin bin and the shame files for landing a few on Ennis’s chin. Can Hindmarsh cope with the inevitable niggle and lead Parramatta to a long suffering win, or will the menace make sure 2012 hangs lower than the captain’s pants?
The grubby one has been hampered by injuries this season, but none affecting his motor mouth. After trying the old fake penalty goal trick against the Sea Eagles, perhaps Ennis will stick to more conventional ways of getting under the Eels thin skin this weekend
McCrone's become the main man at the Raiders once again with Terry Campese ruled out for the season, but can he and new halves partner Sam Williams match it with the frontrunner for NSW five-eighth job?
No tatts jokes this week for Toddy, just admiration for his top notch start to the season... clap, clap! Is Todd the chosen one to guide the Blues back from the brink of permanent Maroons dominance?
This rookie sensation has shown that age is no barrier in the NRL, scoring a feast of tries in his first season with the Bunnies. Has Everingham done enough to get himself on the Hollywood walk of fame or does Rusty want to see more box office blockbusters?
With Reynolds steering the red and green ship like a veteran master and commander, the Rabbitohs have no need to dwell on losing Sandow. Has this 21 year old dug himself a home burrow at the Bunnies?
He left the Sharks in search of bigger and better things but has landed with a team that is starting to turn green. Can Ferguson show his old team that he can swim on his own or will he be turned into Shark bait?
Best is one of the few Cronulla players who was actually alive when the Sharks used to be a decent team. Can Colin help his team bring out their best against the Raiders and make it six wins in a row for the Shire boys?
Cronk and the Kangaroos sunk the Kiwis last Friday, but now the Cooper is back with his Storm teammates can he do the same to the Warriors? Wait a minute... his Storm teammates are his Kangaroos teammates... good luck Shaun!
This Kiwi playmaker with the indestructible shoulder showed the Kangaroos that he was worthy of Test selection. Will Johnson and his jet-propelled shoes be able to outrun the thunderstorm that is forecast for Melbourne?
A soft centre is a desirable feature when you are talking about chocolate... but not a footy team. If Lawrence wants to be in the Origin picture this season he will need to stand tall against Hodges and show selectors that this centre is not soft.
With a full pre-season behind him, Hodges has started strongly in 2012 and the Broncos are galloping high on the ladder. Has Hodges’ hazardous hamstring finally been healed or will it once again turn out to be his Achilles heel?
Hindmarsh and his tight short shorts have been the backbone of the Eels for the past decade (and them some). Was it his retirement announcement that pulled the slippery Eels from their slump or did the Hayne train railroad his victory?
There was no post-try flapping of the arms last week but Hayne’s two-try heroics were a welcome sight for the emotional Blue and Gold Army. Is one win enough to stop the fans from walking away or will the Eels need to keep the Hayne plane flying?
Thurston is yet to step up in the post-Lockyer era and take ownership of the game’s best player tag. If he doesn’t take it soon there is plenty of competition coming from south of the border with Super Cooper leading the charge.
If Cronk wants to make the Maroons and Australian No.7 jersey his own then this match-up with JT will be a key for the Storm halfback. Do the Storm really have the Kangaroos 1, 7 & 9 all wrapped up or does Thurston still want to be in seven heaven?
The 'next Sterlo' will need to pull more than a rabbit out of his hat if the Eels are any chance of saving their 2012 season. Can the pocket rocket halfback end the tears of the Blue and Gold Army and keep them watching the game for the full 80 minutes?
It has been smooth sailing out at Pittwater ever since DCE made his Brookvale debut, but now after two straight defeats he faces an Eels team desperate to stop production on thousands of wooden spoons. Do the Eels really have a chance?
After knocking back big money offers from several clubs, will Super Cooper be able to keep his mind on the job with the Storm or will dollar signs be ringing in his head? A few expletives from the coach's box will snap him back into action.
He doesn't has the back-up of Slater and Smith like Cooper does, and with Darius down on form the Knights' jack-of-all-trades will again need to play all over the park if he wants to hand the Storm their first defeat in 2012. Can Kurt cover Cronk?
He is big, mean and loves to cause a scene on the footy field but does this Kiwi kid have the ball skills of the fleet-footed Feleti? Well, who cares about skill if your shoulder can scare your opponent into submission.
Feleti has found his flair at the Warriors and is causing trouble for opposition teams with his skillful offloads. However, the one thing that can stop an offload is a big shoulder from a rampaging Rooster. Will strength or skill win this battle?
Ennis the menace has played a key role in the Bankstown boys’ three victories in 2012 and now he faces off against his old foe from the Hunter. Will Ennis rub it in the face of Buderus that he has the NSW origin jersey?
Buderus is not just one of the old guard at the Knights he is the oldest. Will his return to the NRL prove that old heads prevail or will he be looking for a bed at the local retirement village before the end of the season?
After scoring a big duck egg in round 1 against the Titans, JT and his fellow Cowboys have re-saddled and are now riding high after dropping 40 plus points on the Eels. Will this duel end with another crack of the Cowboys whip?
The Sharks are finally back in the winners’ circle but one win doesn't make a successful season. Can Carney ink another two points for the Sharks and keep the shire happy for another week or will the tide turn and wash poor Toddy?
Was last weekend’s abysmal effort against the Bulldogs a one off, or a preview of the post Bennett Dragons? Can Captain Hornby rally his troops against arch enemies the Tigers, or will Moltzen have this veteran’s measure?
Judas or just a young man put in a tough situation? Moltzen went close to joining the famous Red V in the off-season only to hop back in the Tiger’s den at the last minute. Can he rise above the jeers and steer the Tigers to victory?
Has Gus really brought this Penrith speedster back from the brink of playing park footy or is the representative hype surrounding Jennings a myth like the famous Lithgow Panther? Will Jennings show Inglis his paws or claws?
As Greg Alexander said this week...get Greg the ball! This mighty bunny is been hamstrung by a lack of quality footy and he will need to come out of his burrow if he wants to remain the game's dominate centre.
The Locke Rocket destroyed many defensive lines in 2011 and is looking the goods to repeats those efforts this season. Does this Warriors number No.1 have the key to unlock the Doggies defence and bust through the Bulldogs?
While Barba has shown that he is not just a speed bump who can score tries he still has a long way to go before he can put on big hits like Sam Kasiano. Facing off against the huge Warriors team will test out Benny and the Bulldog boys.
Life without Dessie started perfectly fine for Jamie Lyon. A win against the Warriors in Eden Park, Toovey’s first NRL success as coach. It’s seems all too easy for this Eagle, can he match Lawrence’s intensity?
Lawrence of Leumeah has always had the skills and potential to become one of the game’s premier centres. But the bloke is that injury prone – can he go the distance with the ever consistent Captain Killer?
The old warhorse bailed on the Panthers to help the Broncos regain the Premiership. Does Petero have any petrol left to keep pace with the youngsters, or will he become the highest-paid super sub in the game?
Brent Tate has single-handedly turned the neck brace into a rugby league fashion icon and much like Popeye with his spinach, many suspect this is where his powers comes from. Tate starred at Brisbane when Petero propped up the Broncos, but are his glory days well and truly over?
This pint-sized half with the big price tag has huge expectations on him in 2012. The Eels are waiting for someone to finally step into Sterling's old shoes and they won't be pleased if Sandow fails to deliver. Can Chris inspire the Blue and Gold Army and return the Eels to glory?
Now that Lockyer has hung up his boots it is time for Wallace to step out of the shadows and steer the Broncos around the paddock. Can Peter live up to the legends of Lewis, Langer and Lockyer or will he struggle to find his feet?
This Canberra kid with the tatts and rats is set to launch into the superstar relm over the next five years but to do so means he needs to take on and beat the best. Can Dugan step up to the level of Slater and dominate week in, week out - or will he be sent back for a haircut?
Each season Slater has continued to rise to another level and show his skill, but will that continue into season 2012 or will the downhill slide start to kick in? A first-up trip to the nation's capital will set the scene for another chapter in the Slater story.