Holden Cup Round 16 previews
The players to watch and predicted results for Round 16 of the National Youth Competition.
Warriors v Bulldogs
Round 16 kicks off with two of the bottom three teams in the NYC doing battle across the ditch.
The Warriors sit in 16th spot on the competition ladder but have accrued four points in the past fortnight courtesy of a 20-18 win over the Titans as well as last week's bye.
The Bulldogs have lost four on the trot but were impressive in their last-start defeat to the high-flying Dragons. They'll take some confidence out of a 24-22 win over the Warriors back in Round 3.
Tip: Bulldogs by 6
Wests Tigers v Titans
What more can you say about last week's record-breaking 84-6 loss to the Sharks? For the Tigers' coaching staff and players, it's a game they simply must erase from their memories. They were diabolical last week but have a chance to make a statement against a Titans side that has the wobbles.
Ben Woolf's men are clinging on to eighth spot on the ladder despite back-to-back losses, including a two-point defeat at the hands of the lowly Warriors. AJ Brimson has been named on an extended bench and would be a key 'in' if he lines up in the halves.
Tip: Titans by 12
Cowboys v Panthers
Last year's preliminary finalists will lock horns in steamy early-afternoon conditions up north in what shapes as the match of the round.
The Cowboys sit just outside the top four after being upset by the Storm last week. Kalyn Ponga was a late scratching but returns in the No.1 jersey. Expect him to sniff around the ruck looking for offloads from the likes of Corey Horsburgh.
Penrith are level on points with competition frontrunners the Sharks and will be fresh after last week's bye. They will be vulnerable with stars Jarome Luai and Wayde Egan elevated once again to the Intrust Super Premiership squad.
Tip: Cowboys by 2
Roosters v Storm
This is a must-win game for two sides sitting just outside the top eight.
The defending premiers flexed their attacking muscles with nine tries in the Round 14 win over the Wests Tigers but they'll face a much sterner test against a Melbourne team that will be full of confidence after last week's win.
The Thunderbolts will be without Scott Drinkwater but still ooze class with the likes of Harry Grant calling the shots out of dummy-half. It'll be interesting to see who delivers in a rare game up in Wyong.
Tip: Roosters by 8
Raiders v Broncos
This is another crucial clash between a couple of teams desperate to stay in touch with the top eight.
The Raiders and Broncos sit in 12th and 13th place respectively – separated by just three points on for and against – and are just one win behind the eighth-placed Titans.
Jack Murchie and Kalani Going could hold for key for the Green Machine in the back row, while the Broncos will look to their spine for inspiration.
Tip: Raiders by 8
Dragons v Knights
Footy fans should flock to Kogarah to watch top-four sides the Dragons and Knights do battle on Sunday morning.
The Red V somehow came away with the two points last week despite trailing 30-6 in the first half and have been bolstered by the inclusions of Steve Marsters and Zac Lomax.
The Knights will be stinging from their last-start loss to the Sea Eagles in Round 14 and will be hoping a familiar name in Matt Cooper (Newcastle's fullback) comes back to haunt the Dragons.
Tip: Dragons by 6
Sharks v Sea Eagles
Complacency could be an issue for the Sharks after last week's 15-try romp over the Tigers, but even that might not be enough to stop John Morris's men from securing another win.
The young Sharks have been a joy to watch in 2017 but they won't have it all their own way against a Sea Eagles side that has been building nicely in recent weeks.
Tip: Sharks by 12
Last week's tipping results: 3/4
Season results: 75/111