Holden Cup Round 14 previews
The players to watch and predicted results for Round 14 of the National Youth Competition.
Sharks v Storm
Round 14 kicks off with a showdown between the table-topping Sharks and a Melbourne side that will be desperate to snap a four-game losing streak.
Last year's meeting between these sides at Southern Cross Group Stadium saw the Sharks come back from 34-6 down to record a miraculous 46-40 victory in front of their home fans. They will be warm favourites to make it eight games on the trot without a loss against a side they beat 36-22 in Round 6.
The Storm have made several changes to their backline but have a host of talent waiting in the wings on their extended bench. If Curtis Scott, Jesse Arthars, Scott Drinkwater and Brodie Croft are late inclusions then this will be a classic encounter.
Tip: Sharks by 14
Sea Eagles v Knights
They might be separated by four spots on the Holden Cup ladder but this looms as one of the games of the round.
The Sea Eagles are coming off a solid win at home against the Raiders that saw three players cross for doubles while the Knights survived a second-half surge from the Storm to claim a 27-20 win on the road.
The Knights deserve favouritism, but we’ll back Tom Wright to lift Manly to victory.
Tip: Sea Eagles by 4
Broncos v Rabbitohs
The Broncos belted the Rabbitohs when they last met in Round 8, but a lot has changed since then.
Souths have won three on the trot and are suddenly pushing for an unlikely top eight spot while the Broncos have won just once in their past five games.
The battle between Corey Allan and Beau Cordtz will be worth the price of admission.
Tip: Souths by 2
Eels v Cowboys
The corresponding clash in Round 9 saw the Eels announce themselves as genuine premiership contenders when they travelled to Townsville and handed the Cowboys a rugby league lesson with a 60-12 drubbing.
The Cowboys have struggled since then but managed to steady things with a win over the Titans last week. Kalyn Ponga bagged a double at halfback in that game but has been named in the No.1 jersey this time around.
Parramatta will be without attacking weapons Greg Leleisiuao and Troy Dargan, with star utility Reed Mahoney named at halfback.
Tip: Cowboys by 4
Titans v Warriors
Hard to see anything but a comfortable Titans victory as they take on the struggling Warriors at home, although the visitors will give themselves a chance against a Gold Coast side missing Tyronne Roberts-Davis and AJ Brimson.
Tip: Titans by 10
Panthers v Raiders
The Panthers never left first gear in their 28-12 win over the Bulldogs last week but they'll need to step it up a notch or two against a Raiders side that has caused them problems in the past.
Canberra will be kicking themselves after they surrendered an early lead to go down convincingly to the Sea Eagles, and they'll need to find a way to stop Panthers skipper Wayde Egan if they are to have any chance of claiming the two competition points.
Tip: Panthers by 16
Wests Tigers v Roosters
This is a clash between two sides in desperate need of a win.
The Tigers looked set for a record-breaking defeat against the Dragons last week but did well to stem the bleeding in the second half en route to a 54-16 loss at ANZ Stadium.
The Roosters had their chances against the Broncos but couldn't put them away in slippery conditions, with the defending premiers outside the top eight midway through the season.
The Tricolours have made several changes with Jesse Marschke replacing Sean O'Sullivan at halfback, Victor Radley shifts to dummy-half while Nat Butcher hasn't been named.
Tip: Roosters by 12
Bulldogs v Dragons
You get the feeling that if this is a dry track then the Dragons could put on a clinic against the Bulldogs on Monday afternoon.
The Red V are flying high after they piled on 10 tries against the Tigers last week while the Bulldogs are in the midst of a three-game losing streak.
Tip: Dragons by 22
Last week's tipping results: 5/7
Season results: 65/99