Holden Cup Round 4 previews
The players to watch and predicted results from Round 4 of the National Youth Completion.
Rabbitohs v Roosters
The Rabbitohs looked set to record their first win of the season but blew a 12-point half-time lead to fall 26-22 to the Knights. The Bunnies remain winless but can take solace from the fact two of their losses have been by a combined six points.
After two solid wins, the Roosters came crashing back down to earth in the grand final replay. The defending premiers were totally outclassed by the Panthers, with Luke Chalker the only Rooster to run for 100 metres.
Tip: Roosters by 12
Panthers v Knights
The Panthers are starting to look like the team we all know and love following back-to-back wins over the Tigers and Roosters. The halves pairing of Dean Blore and Jarome Luai is coming along nicely, while Caleb Aekins has made the second-most metres in the NYC.
Newcastle's roller-coaster start to the year continued with a comeback win over South Sydney enough to secure their spot in the top eight. This should be an even match with both teams ranking well in all the key stats after three rounds.
Tip: Panthers by 8
Broncos v Raiders
Just like their first-grade side, the Broncos can count themselves unlucky to have started the year 1-2. Brisbane have lost their past two matches by two and four points respectively courtesy of late tries. Fullback Corey Allan continues to lead the league with 549 metres, while halfback Gerome Burns already has two doubles in 2017.
The Raiders recovered from their Round 2 shellacking to thrash the Wests Tigers 54-10 on Sunday. There were plenty of heroes for the Green Machine, but fullback Harry van Dartel was the star with 241 metres, two line breaks, a try assist and nine goals from as many attempts.
Tip: Broncos by 10
Sea Eagles v Bulldogs
Manly's hot start to the year hit a roadblock in Townsville, but the Sea Eagles have plenty of class and should bounce back at home on Saturday afternoon. Point-scoring machine Tevita Funa has not been named, but the Sea Eagles regain the services of Billy Bainbridge.
The Bulldogs are coming off their first win of the season and will take plenty of confidence heading into the game at Lottoland. Lock forward Hayden Ashcroft has established himself as one of the best workers in the NYC and is coming off a team-high 151 metres and 31 tackles against the Warriors.
Tip: Sea Eagles by 6
Titans v Cowboys
The Titans will be hoping their up and down start to the year continues when they take on the high-flying Cowboys. Gold Coast have started the year LWL, their most recent result a disappointing 36-28 loss to the previously winless Eels.
North Queensland will head into the game as one of only two undefeated teams after three rounds. They were too good for the Sea Eagles last week, defeating the Sydneysiders by eight points in steamy conditions up north. Enari Tuala was the hero with a hat-trick, but he'll face some stiff competition from Gold Coast's big centres.
Tip: Cowboys by 4
Eels v Sharks
The Eels produced an all-round team performance to claim their first win of the year last Friday. Skipper Dean Matterson oozed class with a try and two assists and is starting to form a nice combination with halfback Kamren Cryer.
The Sharks continued their scoring spree with a further 38 added to the tally in their huge win over the Dragons. They now average 50 points per game and boast the most-destructive centre in the game, with Jesse Ramien up to eight tries already.
Tip: Sharks by 16
Wests Tigers v Storm
It's hard to see how the Wests Tigers will win this one. With just one win from three starts – and fresh from a 44-point hiding at the hands of the Raiders – the Tigers will be rank outsiders against the unbeaten Thunderbolts.
Melbourne made it three from three with a come-from-behind victory over the Baby Broncos. Halfback Matt Egan was the star with three try assists, while fullback Jesse Arthars bagged a double and knocked over four goals.
Tip: Storm by 8
Dragons v Warriors
The Dragons were thoroughly outplayed by the Sharks on Sunday afternoon, with their previously impenetrable defence regularly exposed during the 34-point loss.
They should return to winning ways against a Warriors side that is rooted to the bottom of the ladder after three rounds.
Tip: Dragons by 10
Last week's tipping results: 3/8
Season results: 14/24