Durko's dissections: NRL previews for round 13
RABBITOHS V KNIGHTS
ANZ Stadium, 6pm
History: Played 41, Knights 25, Rabbitohs 16
Last met: Rabbitohs 36-18, round 9, 2018
Ladbrokes odds: Rabbitohs $1.53, Knights $2.45
Coming off just their second loss of the season, still with injury concerns and with three key men to back up from Origin commitments, the Rabbitohs face another test of their premiership standing. The Knights have big guns Kalyn Ponga and David Klemmer also on the Origin rebound, but following five successive wins - in which they have scored an average of 39 points - and coming off a bye, they will be focused on successive upsets over big names. The return of Broncos deserter James Roberts will be of sideshow interest.
TIP - Rabbitohs
TIGERS V RAIDERS
Bankwest Stadium, 7.55pm
History: Played 34, Tigers 19, Raiders 15
Last met: Tigers 22-20, round 22, 2018
Ladbrokes odds: Tigers $1.90, Raiders $1.90
They might have lost three on the trot before they hung on to win last weekend, but the courage shown by the Raiders without six of their regular starters was the kind of fortitude coach Ricky Stuart would admire. They have three big names coming back from Origin - if fit - but the biggest obstacle will be the full-strength Tigers in their first home game at their spanking new stadium. Just outside the top four on percentages and with two byes to come, the defensively strong Raiders are in the best position they have been for years.
TIP - Raiders
WARRIORS V STORM
Mt Smart Stadium, 3pm (AEST)
History: Played 43, Storm 25, Warriors 16, drawn 2
Last met: Storm 13-12, round 7, 2019
Ladbrokes odds: Warriors $2.36, Storm $1.57
Craig Bellamy must be so grateful Cameron Smith elected to retire from rep footy. Fresh from a bye and with no involvement in Origin mid-week, the rising 37-year-old will be asked to do a little more than normal, although four of his teammates will be backing up from last night and the trek across the Tasman. With almost a clean bill of health, a week's rest, no Origin disruptions, and a keenness to avenge their single-point loss six weeks ago, the Warriors won't get a better chance to beat the Storm. But they are still the unreliable Warriors.
TIP - Storm
SHARKS V EELS
PointsBet Stadium, 5.30pm
History: Played 86, Sharks 46, Eels 40
Last met: Eels 24-12, round 4, 2019
Ladbrokes odds: Sharks $1.50, Eels $2.55
This appears to be the week Sharks' rookie coach John Morris never thought would materialise - an almost full-strength roster available. With big guns Shaun Johnson and Wade Graham possibly returning and only veteran Josh Morris involved in Origin, the Sharks should be ripe for a crack at the Eels, who looked much better in last weekend's win, albeit against a greatly weakened Rabbitohs.
TIP - Sharks
COWBOYS V SEA EAGLES
1300Smiles Stadium, 7.35pm
History: Played 29, Sea Eagles 16, Cowboys 13
Last met: Cowboys 26-12, round 13, 2018
Ladbrokes odds: Cowboys $1.65, Sea Eagles $2.24
A gusty win without Origin big guns Josh McGuire and Michael Morgan has been dulled by two additional long-term injuries and a suspension, adding to the six that already occupy the list of those unavailable. Conversely, the brilliant Tom Trbojevic and mobile centre Moses Suli return for the Sea Eagles while - strangely - Origin big guns Daly Cherry-Evans and Jake Trbojevic have been named on an extended bench. Cowboys, just.
TIP - Cowboys
BRONCOS V TITANS
Suncorp Stadium, 2pm
History: Played 25, Broncos 19, Titans 6
Last met: Broncos 34-nil, round 17, 2018
Ladbrokes odds: Broncos $1.40, Titans $2.90
In the corresponding match last year, the Titans handed a 26-14 wake-up call to the Broncos, something big brother doesn't need again and simply cannot afford. Following four wins from their past five outings, and three on the trot, the Broncos - with five players backing up from Origin - must regather after the bye and maintain their focus. The talented Titans, however, are now $501 to win the title, suggesting their season is as good as over.
TIP - Broncos
PANTHERS V ROOSTERS
Panthers Stadium, 4.05pm
History: Played 88, Roosters 54, Panthers 33, drawn 1
Last met: Roosters 32-6, round 15, 2018
Ladbrokes odds: Panthers $2.70, Roosters $1.45
The Panthers may be coming off their first back-to-back victories of the season but that will matter little to the premiership favourites, who have slipped to third after successive losses. And coach Trent Robinson will be hoping his four Origin players come through last night unscathed, because he needs all hands on deck with linchpins Jake Friend and Luke Keary on the injured list. Unless the Panthers play with the enthusiasm of last week, this could be a slaughter.
TIP - Roosters
BULLDOGS V DRAGONS
ANZ Stadium, 4pm
History: Played 37, Bulldogs 24, Dragons 13
Last met: Dragons 40-4, round 5, 2019
Ladbrokes odds: Bulldogs $2.24, Dragons $1.65
Such has been the decline of the Dragons - they have lost five in succession - their standing on the table is just three higher than the last-placed Bulldogs. And with the heartbeat of their forward pack, James Graham, sidelined alongside Gareth Widdop until round 20, the light at the end of the tunnel is fading. The Dogs aren't winning, but they are competing well and an upset is this rare Monday game is a genuine possibility.
TIP - Dragons
- Compiled by Tony Durkin