Holden Cup Round 5 previews
The players to watch and predicted results from Round 5 of the National Youth Competition.
Roosters v Sea Eagles
The Roosters and Sea Eagles kick off Round 5 desperate to return to winning ways after undoing their fine starts to the year with back-to-back losses.
The defending premiers raced in two early tries but then conceded the next seven to be thrashed 40-8 by the Rabbitohs. Victor Radley made 59 tackles and scored a try but didn't receive much support from his teammates. Thankfully for the Tricolours, Nat Butcher has been named on an extended bench and is a chance of playing his first game of the year.
Like their opponents, Manly have failed to back up their impressive start to the year. The loss of Tevita Funa has rocked the Sea Eagles, but they do welcome back Brad Parker in the centres.
Tip: Roosters by 8
Cowboys v Rabbitohs
The Cowboys will return to the field for the first time in a fortnight after their match against the Titans was postponed after a flight cancellation left them unable to get to the venue on time. North Queensland welcome back Kalyn Ponga after his stint in the NRL and will be warm favourites to register their fourth win from as many starts.
Fresh off their first win of the season, the Rabbitohs will be hoping to catch their opponents underdone on Friday night. Phoenix Hunt and Cruz Topai-Aveai combined for 18 tackle breaks last week and could be the danger men in steamy conditions up north.
Tip: Cowboys by 12
Sharks v Knights
The Sharks and Knights have both been frustratingly inconsistent this season, making it difficult to get a read on this game. Cronulla boast the best attack in the competition but were held to just 12 points last week against the Eels.
The Knights were never really in the contest against Penrith and have now started the year trading wins and losses for the first four rounds.
Tip: Sharks by 6
Bulldogs v Broncos
The Broncos will be looking to build on last week's tight win over the Raiders, with prop Payne Haas starring with a try, 185 metres and seven tackle breaks.
There was a lot to like about Canterbury's win, with fullback Jayden El-Jalkh recovering from his early stint in the sin bin to score a try and set up another in the comfortable victory at Lottoland.
Tip: Broncos by 4
Raiders v Eels
Canberra were unable to back up their win over the Tigers in Round 3 with their eight-point loss condemning them to a 1-3 start to the year. Skipper Kalani Going remains their best player after scoring a try and running for 133 metres against Brisbane.
The Eels have won two on the trot and are starting to look like a side capable of playing finals footy. Fullback Anthony Layoun had a night to remember against the Sharks, scoring a try, creating a couple of four-pointers and breaking seven tackles to go with his 176 running metres.
Tip: Eels by 22
Storm v Panthers
Could this be an early grand final preview?
The Storm are four from four following their crushing 62-24 win over the Tigers at Leichhardt Oval, with Scott Drinkwater scoring a hat-trick and setting up two tries.
Penrith have recovered from a slow start to the year and are beginning to resemble the side that made back-to-back grand finals. They will miss halfback Jarome Luai who has been promoted to the club's ISP squad.
Tip: Storm by 4
Warriors v Titans
There have been few positives to come out of the Warriors' start to the season. Still without a win, the traditional powerhouses of the competition could be in for a long 2017.
The Titans haven't been much better and have won just one match to start the year. They will be fresh after their game against the Cowboys was postponed.
Tip: Titans by 18
Wests Tigers v Dragons
This looks like a mismatch on paper with the Tigers coming off a heavy loss while the Dragons made it three wins from four games to start the year.
Tristan Sailor and Jackson Willis have settled into their new halves combination nicely with the pair scoring three tries between them last week.
Tip: Dragons by 14
Last week's tipping results: 4/7
Season results: 18/31