Holden Cup Round 2 previews
The players to watch and predicted results from Round 2 of the National Youth Competition.
Roosters v Bulldogs
The Roosters kicked off their NYC premiership defence in style on the Gold Coast and will be favourites to make it two wins in a row on Thursday night. Victor Radley was NRL.com's NYC player of the round, but expect the lock forward to be outshone by his outside backs this time around.
The Bulldogs will be without skipper Joseph Tramontana after the feisty No.9 was suspended for three games for a dangerous throw. His experience around the ruck will be sorely missed.
Tip: Roosters by 18
Warriors v Storm
The Warriors were the most disappointing team of the opening round, thumped on their home ground 48-10 by the Knights. Their cause wasn't helped by the early sin-binning of Melino Fineanganofo, but the biggest concern was their ruck defence.
Melbourne left it late to down the Bulldogs 24-18 at Belmore Sports Ground, but they were the better side for the 80 minutes. Winger Cory Parker showed why he was selected in the Maroons Emerging Origin squad with two tries, and the visitors should be too strong on Friday evening.
Tip: Storm by 14
Broncos v Cowboys
This will be a special night in Brisbane. While everyone knows what to expect in first grade, the NYC clash also deserves match of the round status.
The Broncos left it as late as possible to beat the Sharks, with Corey Allan's length-of-the-field try in the 80th minute handing them an epic 40-38 win. Halfback Gerome Burns bagged a double last week, but watch out for his halves partner – and Anthony Milford clone – Julian Christian to cause some chaos on the edge.
Kalyn Ponga was kept quiet for the Cowboys in Round 1, with lock forward Corey Horsburgh doing most of the damage with a double. Expect a monster game from the fullback as he pushes for higher honours.
Tip: Cowboys by 6
Knights v Titans
The Knights showed they are genuine NYC premiership contenders with a thumping win in Auckland. Every member of their spine scored, with Tom Starling a constant threat out of dummy-half. They are the real deal in 2017.
Having played the defending premiers last weekend, it doesn't get any easier for the Titans who will be massive outsiders on Saturday. AJ Brimson looked solid in the halves, but he'll need more support from his teammates if they want to cause an upset.
Tip: Knights by 16
Sea Eagles v Rabbitohs
Manly were the surprise packets of Round 1 and will be favoured to make it back-to-back wins under Wayne Lambkin. Tevita Funa bagged a double and kicked five goals and will again be the focal point in attack.
The Rabbitohs were unlucky not to snatch a draw when they missed a conversion attempt after the siren that would have seen their game against the Tigers finish 30-all. They'll be keen to make amends at Lottoland.
Tip: Sea Eagles by 2
Raiders v Sharks
This is the only game featuring two opening-round losers; a surprise given both these sides played finals footy in 2016.
It's hard to see the Raiders keeping up with a Sharks side that will be seething after their final-minute defeat. Expect the likes of Blayke Brailey and Jesse Ramien to continue their hot starts to the season.
Tip: Sharks by 10
Wests Tigers v Panthers
The Tigers were lucky to escape ANZ Stadium with the two competition points, but there was plenty to like about their attack, with centre Toa Mata'afa bagging a double in the win.
Penrith were blown off the park in the first half but rallied to get within two points of the Dragons. They struggled for any continuity in wet conditions but they'll welcome back star halfback Jarome Luai.
Tip: Tigers by 8
Dragons v Eels
The Dragons weren't always clinical against Penrith, but the Red V took their chances and emerged deserved victors. Jackson Willis looks like a real talent in the halves.
Parramatta were poor defensively last week and will be keen to atone for their 18-point defeat at the hands of Manly. They only made 1,083 metres last week and must improve if they want to avoid an 0-2 start.
Tip: Dragons by 6
Last week's tipping results: 5/8
Season results: 5/8