Another Round of NRL action awaits this weekend as this year’s Premiership story begins to unfurl.
Penrith are flying high but Parramatta and Cronulla have shown up well in what is shaping up to be another fantastic NRL season.
But who will be the winners and losers of Round Five? Here’s our predictions.
Newcastle Knights vs Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
The big NRL news this week is surrounding the injury to star fullback Tom Trbojevic. The Manly star is expected to miss at least the next four weeks with an MCL injury suffered against the Canberra Raiders. Young gun Tolutau Koula switches from centre to fullback with Christian Tuipulotu taking his place in the centres. Newcastle are looking to get their season back on track after consecutive defeats and are boosted by the being able to name the same 17 as last weekend with Tyson Frizell named to start despite dealing with a hamstring issue. This game comes at an interesting time for both teams as they both sit on two wins for the season. Manly lost their first five games of last season whilst missing Trbojevic and it will be crucial for them to continue their winning run without him.
Prediction: Newcastle Knights 18-12 Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
1. Kalyn Ponga, 2. Dominic Young, 3. Dane Gagai, 4. Bradman Best, 5. Enari Tuala, 6. Jake Clifford, 7. Adam Clune, 8. Jacob Saifiti, 9. Chris Randall, 10. Daniel Saifiti, 11. Tyson Frizell, 12. Brodie Jones, 13. Kurt Mann
14. Phoenix Crossland, 15. Sauaso Sue, 16. Leo Thompson, 17. Jirah Momoisea
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
1. Tolutau Koula, 2. Jason Saab, 3. Christian Tuipulotu, 4. Morgan Harper, 5. Reuben Garrick, 6. Kieran Foran, 7. Daly Cherry-Evans, 8. Josh Aloiai, 9. Lachlan Croker, 10. Martin Taupau, 11. Haumole Olakau’atu, 12. Andrew Davey, 13. Jake Trbojevic
14. Dylan Walker, 15. Karl Lawton, 16. Sean Keppie, 17. Taniela Paseka
New Zealand Warriors vs North Queensland Cowboys
The Warriors come into this game with a two-game win streak after putting in an impressive display against the Brisbane Broncos. They have been forced into a number of changes in their forward pack though. Jazz Tevaga and Ben Murdoch-Masila have both dropped out of the squad with Aaron Pene and Jack Murchie named in their place amongst the interchanges. Powerhouse prop Addin Fonua-Blake is doubtful so has been named in the reserves with Bunty Afoa starting at prop. Bayley Sironen and Josh Curran have switched positions in the back row. The Cowboys have lost fullback Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow to injury and he is replaced by Scott Drinkwater for his first game of the season. With the Warriors coming into this game in good form, the Cowboys will need to find their attacking spark again without ‘The Hammer’ at fullback to guide them.
Prediction: New Zealand Warriors 22-16 North Queensland Cowboys
TV Coverage: Sky Sports Arena 9am
New Zealand Warriors
1. Reece Walsh, 2. Edward Kosi, 3. Jesse Arthars, 4. Adam Pompey, 5. Marcelo Montoya, 6. Chanel Harris-Tavita, 7. Shaun Johnson, 8. Bunty Afoa, 9. Wayde Egan, 10. Matthew Lodge, 11. Euan Aitken, 12. Bayley Sironen, 13. Josh Curran
14. Kodi Nikorima, 15. Eliesa Katoa, 16. Aaron Pene, 17. Jack Murchie
North Queensland Cowboys
1. Scott Drinkwater, 2. Kyle Feldt, 3. Valentine Holmes, 4. Peta Hiku, 5. Murray Tuilagi, 6. Tom Dearden, 7. Chad Townsend, 8. Jordan McLean, 9. Reece Robson, 10. Jaumayne Taunoa-Brown, 11. Tom Gilbert, 12. Jeremiah Nanai, 13. Jason Taumalolo
14. Jake Granville, 15. Heilum Luki, 16. Reuben Cotter, 17. Griffin Neame
Brisbane Broncos vs Sydney Roosters
The Roosters have named the same 17-man squad who produced a dominant performance against the Cowboys last week. Ex St Helens star Kevin Naiqama scored a try on his return to the NRL and keeps his place on the wing. The Broncos are forced into a number of changes after their loss to the Warriors. Patrick Carrigan and Albert Kelly are both out for extended periods with injuries whilst prop Thomas Flegler will miss the next two rounds through suspension. In their place come Kobe Hetherington, Billy Walters and Keenan Palasia. Origin backrower Kurt Capewell returns after injury and utility back Cory Paix makes the interchange bench for the first time this season. The Roosters come into this game off the back of their best performance and look likely to leave Queensland with two wins from two as they face an out of sorts Broncos team with off field and on field problems.
Prediction: Brisbane Broncos 6-30 Sydney Roosters
1. Tesi Niu, 2. Corey Oates, 3. Kotoni Staggs, 4. Herbie Farnworth, 5. Selwyn Cobbo, 6. Billy Walters, 7. Adam Reynolds, 8. Keenan Palasia, 9. Jake Turpin, 10. Payne Haas, 11. Kurt Capewell, 12. Jordan Riki, 13. Kobe Hetherington
14. Ryan James, 15. Corey Jensen, 16. Teui Robati, 17. Cory Paix
1. James Tedesco, 2. Daniel Tupou, 3. Paul Momirovski, 4. Joseph Manu, 5. Kevin Naiqama, 6. Sam Walker, 7. Luke Keary, 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 9. Connor Watson, 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho, 11. Nat Butcher, 11. Sitili Tupouniua, 13. Victor Radley
14. Drew Hutchison, 15. Daniel Suluka-Fifita, 16. Angus Crichton, 17. Lindsay Collins
Canberra Raiders vs Melbourne Storm
Both teams have named the same 17-man squads as the previous round. Storm Head Coach Craig Bellamy will be looking for his electric spine to get the job done again after their massive win against the Bulldogs. Fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen scored four tries in that win and will be looking to increase his tally as he sits atop of the try scoring charts after four rounds. The Raiders are sticking with the same squad which was swept aside by Manly and Ricky Stuart will be looking for a bounce back performance against one of the best teams in the competition. Raiders stand-off Jack Wighton will need to be at his best as he is up against the current best number six in the league Cameron Munster and their battle could go a long way in deciding who wins this game.
Prediction: Canberra Raiders 10-28 Melbourne Storm
1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, 2. Nick Cotric, 3. Matthew Timoko, 4. Semi Valemei, 5. Jordan Rapana, 6. Jack Wighton, 7. Brad Schneider, 8. Josh Papalii, 9. Tom Starling, 10. Joseph Tapine, 11. Hudson Young, 12. Corey Harawira-Naera, 13. Elliott Whitehead
14. Matt Frawley, 15. Emre Guler, 16. Adam Elliott, 17. Corey Horsburgh
1. Ryan Papenhuyzen, 2. Nick Meaney, 3. Reimis Smith, 4. Justin Olam, 5. Xavier Coates, 6. Cameron Munster, 7. Jahrome Hughes, 8. Jesse Bromwich, 9. Harry Grant, 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 11. Felise Kaufusi, 12. Kenneath Bromwich, 13. Josh King
14. Brandon Smith, 15. Alec MacDonald, 16. Trent Loiero, 17. Tepai Moeroa
South Sydney Rabbitohs vs St George Illawarra Dragons
The Rabbitohs have made a number of changes to their 17-man squad after their bruising loss against league leading Penrith Panthers. Mark Nicholls is out for an extended period with an ankle problem so Tom Burgess starts at prop. Winger Jaxson Paulo suffered a concussion and is replaced by veteran Josh Mansour. Davvy Moale and Blake Taaffe both make the interchange bench. Andrew Mccullough is back at Hooker for the Dragons who also keep Moses Mbye at fullback in place of Tyrell Sloan who has fallen out of favour in the past couple of rounds. Jack Bird stays in the number six jersey in place of Talatau Amone and backrower Jaydn Su’a returns from suspension in time to face his former club. Although coming off defeat, the Rabbitohs are now hitting their stride for the season in terms of performance and it will take a very good outing from the Dragons to get a result in this game.
Prediction: South Sydney Rabbitohs 20-12 St George Illawarra Dragons
South Sydney Rabbitohs
1. Latrell Mitchell, 2. Alex Johnstone, 3. Taane Milne, 4. Campbell Graham, 5. Josh Mansour, 6. Cody Walker, 7. Lachlan Ilias, 8. Tevita Tatola, 9. Damien Cook, 10. Thomas Burgess, 11. Keaon Koloamatangi, 12. Jai Arrow, 13. Cameron Murray
14. Blake Taafe, 15. Jacob Host, 16. Davvy Moale, 17. Liam Knight
St George Illawarra Dragons
1. Moses Mbye, 2. Mathew Feagai, 3. Moses Suli, 4. Zac Lomax, 5. Mikaele Ravalawa, 6. Jack Bird, 7. Ben Hunt, 8. Francis Molo, 9. Andrew McCullough, 10. Aaron Woods, 11. Tariq Sims, 12. Jaydn Su’A, 13. Jack De Belin
14. Talatau Amone, 15. Josh Kerr, 16. Blake Lawrie, 17. Jackson Ford
Gold Coast Titans vs Parramatta Eels
The Gold Coast Titans welcome back a number of players from Covid protocols after their last-minute victory against the Wests Tigers. Phillip Sami, Isaac Liu and Beau Fermor all return to the starting 13 for the Titans, with Sami taking the place of injured centre Brian Kelly. Jamayne Isaako starts once again for his new club and will be looking to have a better attacking impact after a poor performance from the team as a whole in Round Four. There’s only one change for the Eels as Shaun Lane comes back into the 13 with Ryan Matterson dropping back to the interchange bench. Mitchell Moses and Dylan Brown are both in unbelievable form for Parramatta as the halfback pair ran rings around St George last weekend and will be looking to do the same in Queensland this weekend.
Prediction: Gold Coast Titans 14-30 Parramatta Eels
Gold Coast Titans
1. Jamayne Isaako, 2. Corey Thompson, 3. Phillip Sami, 4. Patrick Herbert, 5. Greg Marzhew, 6. Alexander Brimson, 7. Toby Sexton, 8. Moeaki Fotuaika, 9. Erin Clark, 10. Isaac Liu, 11. David Fifita, 12. Beau Fermor, 13. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
14. Will Smith, 15. Jarrod Wallace, 16. Jaimin Joliffe, 17. Kevin Proctor
1. Clinton Gutherson, 2. Waqa Blake, 3. Will Penisini, 4. Tom Opacic, 5. Bailey Simonsson, 6. Dylan Brown, 7. Mitchell Moses, 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 9. Reed Mahoney, 11. Shaun Lane, 12. Isaiah Papali’I, 13. Nathan Brown
14. Makahesi Makatoa, 15. Ryan Matterson, 16. Oregon Kaufusi, 17. Mitch Rein
Cronulla Sharks vs Wests Tigers
The Cronulla Sharks have named the same 17 who kept the Newcastle Knights scoreless in their 18-point win. The Sharks are on a four-game winning streak and look likely to make it five victories in a row as they come up against a Wests Tigers team who have yet to win in 2022. Siosifa Talakai is once again named at centre. The Tigers are sticking with the same 17 that undeservedly lost against the Gold Coast Titans as coach Michael Maguire looks for a response from his team. They were much improved defensively last week, they struggled to create real attacking threats and it will be a big upset if they can beat the red hot Sharks.
Prediction: Cronulla Sharks 24-4 Wests Tigers
TV Coverage: Sky Sports Action 7:05am
1. William Kennedy, 2. Sione Katoa, 3. Jesse Ramien, 4. Siosifa Talakai, 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo, 6. Matt Moylan, 7. Nicholas Hynes, 8. Toby Rudolf, 9. Blayke Brailey, 10. Braden Hamlin-Uele, 11. Briton Nikora, 12. Teig Wilton, 13. Dale Finucane
14. Aiden Tolman, 15. Cameron McInnes, 16. Braydon Trindall, 17. Andrew Fifita
1. Daine Laurie, 2. David Nofoaluma, 3. James Roberts, 4. Oliver Gildart, 5. Ken Maumalo, 6. Jock Madden, 7. Luke Brooks, 8. James Tamou, 9. Jacob Liddle, 10. Zane Musgrove, 11. Kelma Tuilagi, 12. Luciano Leilua, 13. Joe Ofahengaue
14. Tyrone Peachey, 15. Alex Twal, 16. Luke Garner, 17. Alex Seyfarth
Canterbury Bulldogs vs Penrith Panthers
Penrith are still unbeaten this season, producing another fine display in their win over the Rabbitohs and with key players missing. James Fisher-Harris and Liam Martin are both back in their starting jerseys after being named in the reserves for Round Four. Trent Barrett has made a big call at the halfback position after their embarrassing loss to the Melbourne Storm as Kyle Flanagan is named in the starting 13 for the first time since August 2021. Flanagan will be the third different halfback to pair with Matt Burton this season as the Bulldogs are yet to settle on a halfback pairing. The Bulldogs have scored the fewest points in the NRL this season and coming up against a Panthers side who pride themselves on their defence they will see them face an uphill battle.
Prediction: Canterbury Bulldogs 0-36 Penrith Panthers
TV Coverage: Sky Sports Arena 9:15am
1. Matt Dufty, 2. Brent Naden, 3. Braidon Burns, 4. Jake Averillo, 5. Josh Addo-Carr, 6. Matt Burton, 7. Kyle Flanagan, 8. Luke Thompson, 9. Jeremy Marshall-King, 10. Paul Vaughan, 11. Corey Waddell, 12. Tevita Pangai Junior, 13. Josh Jackson
14. Brandon Wakeham, 15. Chris Patolo, 16. Max King, 17. Joe Stimson
1. Dylan Edwards, 2. Charlie Staines, 3. Izack Tago, 4. Stephen Crichton, 5. Taylan May, 6. Jarome Luai, 7. Nathan Cleary, 8. Matthew Eisenhuth, 9. Apisai Koroisau, 10. James Fisher-Harris, 12. Viliame Kikau, 12. Liam Martin, 13. Isaah Yeo
14. Mitch Kenny, 15. Scott Sorenson, 16. Spencer Leniu, 17. Jaeman Salmon