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Holden Cup Round 18 previews

The players to watch and predicted results for Round 18 of the National Youth Competition.

Roosters v Rabbitohs

The Roosters' hopes of defending their premiership took another hit on the Central Coast with a 14-point loss to the table-topping Sharks. They now sit two wins outside the top eight and will start rank outsiders against a South Sydney side that smashed them 40-8 in Round 4. 

The Rabbitohs' five game-game winning streak came to an end with the Bunnies earning a 16-all draw against the Panthers. Souths are just one point behind the eighth-placed Eels and will be keen for a big win with three of their next four matches against sides currently in the top five.

Tip: Rabbitohs by 12  

Panthers v Sea Eagles

The match of the round sees the second-placed Panthers play host to a Manly side that sits just one win outside the top four. 

Penrith fought back late to snatch a draw against the Rabbitohs last week and they'll need to lift if they want to halt the momentum of the Sea Eagles who are starting to look the goods in 2017. 

Halfback Cade Cust was unstoppable in his side's 58-12 win over the Warriors with three tries and two assists and has been well supported in recent weeks by the rest of Manly's spine. 

Tip: Sea Eagles by 2

Storm v Eels

Melbourne's top eight hopes hit a hurdle last week when they surrendered a half-time lead in what turned out to be a heavy loss to the Broncos. 

The result means they are two points between the Eels, whose grip on eighth spot is weakening following last week's disappointing loss to the lowly Bulldogs.

Tip: Eels by 4

Bulldogs v Knights

The Bulldogs will be hoping last week's shock win over the Eels was no fluke when they play host to the Knights on Sunday afternoon. 

Canterbury's wingers and centres combined for all five tries and will fancy their chances against a Newcastle back five that can leak points when tested. 

The Knights have named gun hooker Tom Starling on an extended bench and will be sweating on his late inclusion to bolster their already impressive ruck attack.

Tip: Knights by 8

Last week's tipping results: 5/8
Season results: 84/126

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