Holden Cup Round 22 previews
The players to watch and predicted results for Round 22 of the National Youth Competition.
Bulldogs v Eels
Much like their NRL side, the Bulldogs will look to play the role of spoilers for the rest of the season. They claimed an upset 26-18 win over the Eels in Round 17 and they'll hope history repeats on Thursday evening.
That loss was the kick up the backside the Eels needed, with Parramatta yet to taste defeat since that disappointing night at ANZ Stadium. The blue and golds have won three on the trot and could jump into the top four if results go their way.
Tip: Eels by 16
Dragons v Rabbitohs
While they remain firmly entrenched in the top four, the last thing the Dragons want is to fall into a form slump this close to the finals. After going down to the Knights last week, the Red V will be keen to bounce back against a Rabbitohs side that simply must win if they want to stay in the hunt for a top eight berth.
Souths are currently three points behind the eighth-placed Titans but are one of the form sides in the NYC following their 30-point thrashing of the Raiders. With plenty to play for – and with their backline in scorching form – we're tipping the Bunnies to pull off an upset.
Tip: Rabbitohs by 6
Cowboys v Storm
They sit in fourth spot, but given the nature of this year's competition, the Cowboys could drop to eighth if they were to lose and the chasing pack all claimed victories.
North Queensland have won their past two but they did fall to the Thunderbolts 22-20 when the sides last met in Round 15. This should be a high-scoring affair which will suit Kalyn Ponga and co.
Tip: Cowboys by 12
Knights v Warriors
The Knights got their season back on track with an upset win over the Dragons last week but they can't rest on their laurels with the Novocastrians one loss away from dropping out of the eight.
They smashed the Warriors in Round 1 and should do the double at home against the cellar-dwellers.
Tip: Knights by 18
Titans v Broncos
There will be no love lost when the local rivals do battle in a game that could go a long way to deciding the final make-up of the top eight.
The Titans are clinging onto eighth spot despite last week's disappointing fadeout to draw with the Tigers, and they've been rocked by the news that star fullback Tyronne Roberts-Davis will miss the rest of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery.
Gold Coast claimed a nail-biting win when the sides clashed in Round 7 but a lot has changed since then. The Broncos had looked like world-beaters with four crushing wins but were stopped in their tracks by a resolute Parramatta side that saw Brisbane drop back to ninth.
This should be a finals-like game, and we're tipping the visitors to get the job done.
Tip: Broncos by 8
Sharks v Raiders
The Cronulla juggernaut just keeps rolling on and another win on Saturday night will basically wrap up the minor premiership. They're seven points clear of the chasing pack and pumped the Raiders 74-12 when they met in Round 2.
This could be a long night at the office for the Raiders who have managed just one win on the road in 2017.
Tip: Sharks by 20
Sea Eagles v Roosters
You can expect the Sea Eagles to come out with plenty of intent as they look to make amends for a 66-14 shellacking at the hands of the Roosters back in Round 5.
A lot has changed since then, with Manly only outside the top four on points differential. They have been virtually unbeatable at home and will relish the early start.
It's a different story for the defending premiers whose title defence came to an end with a narrow defeat to the Cowboys last week. They remain a mathematical chance of sneaking into the eight, but that's never a good sign this late in the season.
Tip: Sea Eagles by 10
Panthers v Wests Tigers
It might be second against second last but you'd be foolish to write off the ever-improving Wests Tigers when they travel to Penrith.
The Panthers claimed a confidence-boosting win over the Bulldogs last week but they won't have it all their own way against a Tigers side that showed incredible spirit to earn a draw on the Gold Coast.
Tip: Panthers by 6
Last week's results: 4/8
Season's results: 104/152