Parramatta Eels v Canterbury Bulldogs
After a wooden spoon in 2012, the Eels started 2013 in scintillating form with a 40-10 victory at home in Ricky Stuart’s first game as coach. Chris Sandow and Jarryd Hayne were on fire for Parramatta, and that momentum will be key to this game.
The Bulldogs were disappointed to fall to the Cowboys in Gosford, but have a strong enough squad to bounce back in this battle of Sydney’s west. Steve Turner is again named at fullback, but could swap with Drury Low on the wing.
If you think...Sandow and the Hayne Train/Plane will continue their momentum into the second round, tip the Eels.
If you think...Tony Williams will wreak havoc with his junior club and guide the Bulldogs to their first win of 2013, take the ‘away’ side.
Place your Round Two tips here.
St George Illawarra Dragons v Brisbane Broncos
The Dragons were outplayed by Melbourne at AAMI Park, but showed plenty of promise for a good season ahead in both attack and defence. Trent Merrin was a workhorse off the bench, while Jamie Soward directed the team around well.
Brisbane started with a bang, scoring some brilliant tries in the first half but wilted under the pressure of the Manly defence in the second half. Scott Prince was excellent in the first half, while Justin Hodges was a constant threat on the right edge.
If you think...the Dragons attack will gel back at home in Wollongong and continue the misery for the Broncos, take the home side.
If you think...Justin Hodges and Scott Prince are both ready to have a field day down the Broncos right hand side, tip Brisbane.
North Queensland Cowboys v Melbourne Storm
The Cowboys, and in particular the recently re-signed Johnathan Thurston, were very good against Canterbury last week, controlling the game very well without ever really having to get out of second gear.
Similarly the Storm were their usual selves against St George Illawarra, grinding the game away early in the heat and taking full advantage of their chances to put the Dragons away. Unsurprisingly, the big 3, Slater, Cronk and Smith, were all over it while Justin O’Neill scored a good double.
If you think...the Cowboys will use their home advantage and prove too strong for the Storm again in the heat, tip North Queensland.
If you think...the Storm will defy a tough schedule and the heat for the second week running and continue their premiership defence in style, take Melbourne.
(Vodafone) Warriors v Sydney Roosters
The Warriors were completely outclassed by the Eels at Parramatta last week, and they return home to a big crowd at Eden Park, with Manu Vatuvei missing and Feleti Mateo dropped to the bench.
Sonny Bill and the Roosters return to New Zealand where they’ve only won once since 2005, hoping to get their season back on track after a bruising loss to the Rabbitohs first up. With SBW starting, he’ll hope to provide an impact early in the centre of the park and get the combination with ex-Warrior James Maloney and Mitchell Pearce firing.
If you think...the Warriors will find Eden Park home sweet home, take the Kiwi side in this one.
If you think...SBW will finally cause some pain to a Kiwi side rather than for them, take the Roosters on the road.
Gold Coast Titans v Canberra Raiders
The Titans would have been bitterly disappointed not to come home with the two points from Sharks Stadium in an emotional encounter on Sunday. They showed plenty of promise however, with big Dave Taylor wreaking havoc late in the game and halves Albert Kelly and Aidan Sezer both controlling play nicely.
The Raiders were very flat against Penrith last week, unable to match the enthusiasm of the Panthers. With Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson stood down, the likes of Josh McCrone, Reece Robinson and David Shillington will need to fire up as they stay on the road and travel north.
If you think...the fresh young halves pairing of Kelly and Sezer are just what the doctor ordered at Robina, tip the Titans.
If you think...the Raiders will bounce back from a disappointing start on the road, take the visitors in this one.
Wests Tigers v Penrith Panthers
The Tigers were close to the most disappointing side in Rd 1, with new coach Mick Potter suffering a big first up loss. Robbie Farah was still a stand-out for Wests, while youngster Jack Buchanan showed plenty of promise in his NRL debut.
At the foot of the mountains, Penrith turned on the flair to dispose of Canberra after a scrappy start, and with the underdog tag almost permanently attached will show plenty of sides up this year. Lachlan Coote has settled into his five-eighth role with aplomb, while James Segeyaro provided great energy from the bench.
If you think...Mick Potter’s men will fire up in front of a vocal home crowd at Campbelltown, take the Tigers.
If you think...the Coote and Walsh combination will prove too good for the home side, take the Panthers on the road.
Manly Sea Eagles v Newcastle Knights
The Sea Eagles started slowly, but showed their toughness and class at Suncorp to dispose of the Broncos. Halves Daly Cherry-Evans and Kieran Foran were at their premiership-winning best, while Steve Matai was almost unstoppable in the second period.
Newcastle take the lead into Rd 2 after the most impressive display of the opening weekend, tearing the Tigers to shreds at home. Akuila Uate and Dane Gagai were a handful on their right edge, while Willie Mason and Beau Scott swatted the Tigers forwards away all night.
If you think...Fortress Brookvale will be in effect on Sunday night, take Manly at home.
If you think...Wayne Bennett’s men are primed for a premiership following their first up win, take the Knights.
South Sydney Rabbitohs v Cronulla Sharks
The round wraps up at ANZ Stadium as the Rabbitohs look to follow up their very good win on opening night against the Roosters. Greg Inglis was a star, but with big Sam Burgess out suspended, younger (yet larger) brother George will be the one to look out for after a blockbusting start to the season.
The Sharks scored an emotional victory at Sharks Stadium over the Titans on Sunday night, with goal-kicking getting them home in a tight one. They can’t play on that emotion all season though, and the likes of Todd Carney, Luke Lewis and Paul Gallen will be required to put in big shifts if they want the points on Monday.
If you think...only one Burgess will be enough for Souths, take the Rabbitohs in their first game at home.
If you think...the Sharks’ off-field troubles won’t stop them making a run at the top four, tip Cronulla.