Match Preview

Cowboys v Sharks: Dearden a late out; Talakai to play

A Johnathan Thurston-led Cowboys got the chocolates in round one that night but since then it's been all one-way traffic with Cronulla racking up wins in both Sydney and Townsville. 

Cronulla's big win over Melbourne in round 17 has them in the top four while the victory against their rivals has helped the Cowboys move to second on points differential. 

With both side's looking for their fifth win in a row, the top four battle is set to be one of the matches of the round.

SP PNG Hunters v CQ Capras, Match Preview

The Hunters will ride a wave of confidence into this weekend’s contest, having produced their best performance of the season last week against the Wynnum Manly Seagulls to win 36-22.

There were some notable changes to the Hunters’ squad who won that game – namely a new halves pairing of Kingstimer Paraia and Judah Rimbu, and skipper Keven Appo’s move from edge forward to lock – but the most significant difference between the Hunters’ of Round 14 and the 2022 season as a whole was their intent and aggression on both sides of the ball. 

Broncos v Dragons: Martin, Hoeter on wing; Sullivan new No.7

Both sides are missing key men with Payne Haas succumbing to a shoulder injury and Kurt Capewell and Selwyn Cobbo on Origin duty while Dragons skipper Ben Hunt is in Queensland camp.

Having lost two on the bounce to the Cowboys and Storm, conceding 72 points in the process, the Broncos need to tighten up their defence and return to the formula that delivered them seven straight wins between round 7-14.

Knights v Rabbitohs: Saifiti withdrawn; Graham, Sele out injured

In the final nine rounds the Knights face only two sides currently inside the top eight, so there's good reason for optimism on the back of Friday's drubbing of the Titans.

One of those sides inside the eight is Souths, who head to Newcastle full of confidence after Mitchell's impressive return in the win over the Eels.

Both sides are missing key men on Origin duty but there's enough quality on show to suggest this will be a cracking contest in front of a big crowd in Knights homeland.

PNG Hunters Vs Wynnum-Manly Seagulls Match Preview

Saturday’s match is a good opportunity to bounce back for the Hunters, who were ambushed by a lively Ipswich Jets outfit at home last weekend.

The Jets played to the slippery conditions expertly while the Hunters were off their game and will be looking for a response in Round 14 against last year’s grand finalists.

The positive from that game against the Jets was the successful return from injury for Ila Alu, who again settles for a bench role this week, as he works his way back into the side.

Cowboys v Broncos: Feldt a late chance; Reynolds, Mam in halves

Not since 2016 will the local Queensland derby have so much hype in the lead-up with North Queensland sitting in third spot on the Telstra Premiership ladder and Brisbane nicely placed in fifth. 

With a host of players taking part in Origin II and across the rep weekend, both side's have also benefitted from the bye week and will be fresh ahead of the Queensland derby. 

The corresponding clash in round three belonged to the Cowboys in a six tries to two romp at Suncorp Stadium. 

Brisbane have responded since then, winning nine of their past 12 matches.

Rabbitohs v Eels: No.1 gun Latrell returns; Matterson out

The Eels lead the Rabbitohs by four competition points in sixth spot and if results go their way they could be in the top four by the end of the round. 

South Sydney are producing a very inconsistent season and must find some form if they're going to make a dent in this year's competition after going down to the Dragons by 20 points in round 15. 

Latrell Mitchell's return will help but overall Jason Demetriou's side can't rely on the fullback's comeback from a long-term hamstring injury to spark a resurgence. 

Knights v Titans: Saifiti a late inclusion; Fifita back on deck

The Knights launched their campaign with wins over the Roosters and Tigers before hitting the skids with seven straight losses while Gold Coast won two of their first four and pushed Parramatta and Canberra in the other two.

As they head into round 16, the Titans sit last, with a second wooden spoon in four years staring them in the face. The Knights are 12th, three wins outside the eight, but they can take some comfort in the fact their run home includes games against the Bulldogs, Tigers and the Titans again in round 24.

Panthers v Roosters: Origin stars back up; Radley in, Keary out

No fewer than 10 members of the Blues' victorious 17-man squad could be on show at BlueBet Stadium depending on how they pull up and whether coaches Cleary and Robinson choose to rest any of their stars.

Panthers general Nathan Cleary was at his majestic best in Origin Two but the premiers have an able deputy in Sean O'Sullivan should the gun No.7 be given a break.

Sea Eagles v Storm: Aloiai sidelined; Backline reshuffle for Bellamy

The Sea Eagles sit one game outside the eight and need to gain some momentum if they are to play finals but old rivals Melbourne arrive at 4 Pines Park on a three-game winning streak and looking ominious.

The X-factor in this clash is the availability of a host of Origin stars - Jake Trbojevic and Daly Cherry-Evans for the home side and Cameron Munster, Felise Kaufusi and Harry Grant for the Storm.