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Holden Cup Round 8 previews

Holden Cup Round 8 previews
Greg Leleisiuao has been impressing with his performances for the Eels in the Holden Cup. Credit: Shane Wenzlick. Copyright: NRL Photos.

The players to watch and predicted results for Round 8 of the National Youth Competition.

Raiders v Sea Eagles

Round 8 kicks off with a battle between two teams separated by for and against after respective 3-4 starts to the Holden Cup season.

The Raiders scrapped their way to an 18-16 win over the winless Warriors to maintain their impressive record at GIO Stadium.

Manly snapped a four-game losing streak with a shock win at Pittwater Park headlined by a double to Bilal Maarbani who has made the most of his switch from fullback to the wing. 

The Sea Eagles are yet to win on the road this season and that trend should continue on Friday.

Tip: Raiders by 8 

Rabbitohs v Broncos

It's been a frustrating start to the year for the Bunnies who have managed just one win in 2017 despite being competitive in most of their matches. Last week's 30-24 loss to the Bulldogs was a golden opportunity for two competition points that they let slip. 

Brisbane are still trying to figure out how they let a 20-6 half-time lead slip against the Titans. They will be severely undermanned for this one with metre-eating lock Patrick Carrigan out for six weeks with a dislocated wrist while Josh Fauid is also out with a broken collarbone. 

Tip: Broncos by 2  

Eels v Panthers

This would have been a one-sided affair a few weeks ago, but Parramatta's form reversal suddenly makes the battle of the golden west one of the marquee match-ups of the round. 

The Eels thrashed the Tigers 48-16 on Easter Monday with Reed Mahoney and Ray Stone bagging doubles in the win while Greg Leleisiuao continued his fantastic start to the year with another bullocking performance on the wing. 

Penrith had their five-game winning streak snapped with an absorbing 30-all draw against Cronulla thanks to a couple of late tries to Brian Too and Wayde Egan. Last year's minor premiers welcome back Jarome Luai in the halves.

Interestingly, the Panthers and Sharks played out a draw last year, with Penrith bouncing back the following week to defeat the Eels.

Tip: Panthers by 10 

Cowboys v Knights

The Cowboys bounced back from their shock loss to the Tigers in Round 6 to hand the Dragons a reality check on the road last week. Murray Taulagi and Enari Tuala scored twice in the 40-6 win that has them sitting pretty in second spot on the ladder.

Newcastle showed signs of grittiness that would have made their NRL side proud with a comeback win over the Roosters. It'll be interesting to see how they handle the conditions in a rare mid-afternoon kick-off in Townsville. 

Tip: Cowboys by 12

Sharks v Titans

Most teams would be happy to leave Pepper Stadium with a point but the Sharks will view last week's draw against the Panthers as a missed opportunity after holding a 12-point lead in the second half. 

The attack-minded Sharks won't have time to rest on their laurels with a showdown against the impressive Titans looming. Gold Coast have quietly gone about their business this season and will be full of confidence following last week's come-from-behind win at Suncorp Stadium that was inspired by a double to reserve Justin Fai.

Tip: Sharks by 10

Storm v Warriors

Melbourne will be smarting after they were upset by the Sea Eagles in an error-riddled performance on Saturday morning. They should bounce back against a Warriors side they defeated 20-12 in Round 2. 

The Warriors remain winless after seven rounds but have been edging closer to a maiden victory in recent weeks. Erin Clark has been named to start at hooker and could give them some spark around the ruck. 

Tip: Storm by 14

Wests Tigers v Bulldogs

Even though we're only eight weeks into the season, you get the feeling the loser of the battle between these bottom-four sides will be hard-pressed to play finals football.

The Tigers weren't able to back up their shock win in Townsville as they were humbled by the Eels on Easter Monday. 

It was a different story for the blue and whites who chalked up their third win of the season thanks to two tries and five goals to five-eighth Adam Keighran who has been promoted to the ISP side this week. 

Tip: Bulldogs by 8

Roosters v Dragons

If last year's clashes are anything to go by then this should be a thrilling contest. The Dragons earned a 12-point win on Anzac Day and backed it up with a 25-24 win in Round 24 thanks to a Patrick Herbert field goal. However, the Roosters won when it mattered most, claiming a comeback win in the preliminary final en route to their maiden premiership. 

Both sides are coming off losses, with the Roosters blowing a lead to go down in Newcastle while the Dragons were smashed at home by the Cowboys. The Red V are currently in the top four so the pressure is on the Tricolours to stay in touch with the elite eight.

Tip: Roosters by 1

Last week's tipping results: 4/8

Season results: 34/55

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