Cameron Smith and Robbie Farah have been matching wits for years. Picture: Dan Himbrechts
Cameron Smith and Robbie Farah have been matching wits for years. Picture: Dan Himbrechts

Durko's dissections: NRL previews for round 10

Rugby league scribe Tony Durkin previews the round-10 NRL action and is anticipating possibly the final clash between old foes Cameron Smith and Robbie Farah

 

 

THURSDAY NIGHT

STORM V TIGERS

AAMI Park, 7.50pm

History: played 31, Storm 19, Tigers 12

Last met: Tigers 11-10, round 5, 2018

Ladbrokes: Storm $1.22, Wests Tigers $4.20

If both teams reproduce their Magic Round form, this could be a better than expected spectacle. And with old foes Cameron Smith and Robbie Farah opposing each other for possibly the final time, a secondary point of interest is added. The Tigers have been the undoubted surprise packet of the season and the manner in which they attacked the Panthers at the weekend shows their form is no fluke. But at home the Storm, following their 64-point rampage against the Eels, should be too clinical.

TIP - Storm

 

FRIDAY NIGHT

PANTHERS V WARRIORS

Panthers Stadium, 6pm

History: played 42, Panthers 24, Warriors 17, drawn 1

Last met: Panthers 27-12, elimination final, 2018

Ladbrokes: Panthers $1.72, Warriors $2.10

Not only is this D-Day for the struggling Panthers, it's also make or break for Blues incumbent halves James Maloney and Nathan Cleary. And the Warriors aren't in a much better situation - just one more win in a stuttering season, but at least coming off a Magic Round triumph. Both sides are leaking an average of 23 points a game, but the unpredictable Warriors at least boast a superior attacking record. This is a deadset case of which out-of-form, talented outfit turns up ready to play.

TIP - Warriors

 

BRONCOS V ROOSTERS

Suncorp Stadium, 7.55pm

History: played 49, Broncos 29, Roosters 20

Last met: Roosters 36-4, round 4, 2019

Ladbrokes: Broncos $2.65, Roosters $1.47

They played better, admittedly, and maybe even gained some much- needed confidence, but beating a vastly understrength Sea Eagles does not suddenly qualify the Broncos as threats in this. Despite the absence of both their skippers, the Roosters remain the competition benchmark and only a massive turnaround in form - and fortune - would give the home side a slight chance. A fascinating sidelight is the clash between rookie Tom Dearden and his idol Cooper Cronk, 17 years his senior.

TIP - Roosters

Tom Dearden impressed on his debut for the Broncos. Picture: AAP
Tom Dearden impressed on his debut for the Broncos. Picture: AAP

SATURDAY

TITANS V BULLDOGS

CBus Super Stadium, 3pm

History: played 16, Bulldogs 8, Titans 8

Last met: Titans 32-10, round 15, 2018

Ladbrokes: Titans $1.67, Bulldogs $2.18

At five o'clock on Saturday, one of these sides will extract themselves from the bottom rung of the ladder, but which one is the million-dollar question. Last week the Titans surrendered a good lead in Magic Round, while the Dogs bit back strongly from a 16-nil deficit but still lost. With their respective finals' chances on absolute life support and a wipe-out season facing the loser, a superior attack from the Titans - if only on paper - may be the difference.

TIP - Titans

 

COWBOYS V EELS

1300Smiles Stadium, 5.30pm

History: played 40, Eels 20, Cowboys 19, drawn 1

Last met: Cowboys 44-6, round 24, 2018

Ladbrokes: Cowboys $1.70, Eels $2.14

Could there be a worse-case scenario for the demoralised Eels than heading to Townsville, where they have won just six times in 17 visits, to play in the detested 5.30pm timeslot following a 64-10 loss? With rumours persisting that Eels' players and the coach are angry and humiliated by the dillydallying on signings, this will be the best chance the Cowboys have had to find their long-lost mojo.

TIP - Cowboys

 

RAIDERS V RABBITOHS

GIO Stadium, 7.35pm

History: played 54, Raiders 32, Rabbitohs 22

Last met: Raiders 24-12, round 24, 2018

Ladbrokes: Raiders $2.18, Rabbitohs $1.67

Now that their powerful right-side attack combination of Joey Leilua and Jordan Rapana has joined John Bateman on the sideline, the premiership chances of the Raiders - and their confidence - have been dealt a savage blow. And despite losing fullback Alex Johnston, the Rabbitohs continue to fly high on top of the table and should win for just the second time against the Green Machine in seven meetings. The clash of the ultra-smart dummy halves looms as pivotal.

TIP - Rabbitohs

The Rabbitohs are flying high without fullback Alex Johnston. Picture: Dan Himbrechts
The Rabbitohs are flying high without fullback Alex Johnston. Picture: Dan Himbrechts

 

SUNDAY

DRAGONS V KNIGHTS

Glen Willow Sports Stadium, Mudgee 2pm

History: played 38, Dragons 27, Knights 11

Last met: Dragons 13-12, round 4, 2019

Ladbrokes: Dragons $1.70, Rabbitohs $2.14

Talk about a reversal of fortunes here - the Knights have won three on the trot to jump the Dragons, who have lost their past three, on the ladder. Worrying for the Dragons was their second-half crumble last week, allowing an 18-6 lead to slip after some shoddy midfield defence. Finally discovering the form many expected earlier in the season, the Knights are controlling games much better and are much-improved defensively.

TIP - Knights

 

SHARKS V SEA EAGLES

PointsBet Stadium 4.05pm

History: played 90, Sea Eagles 64, Sharks 24, drawn 2

Last met: Sea Eagles 33-32, round 21, 2018

Ladbrokes: Sharks $1.57, Sea Eagles $2.36

With a rookie coach at the helm, the courageous Sharks are still without a host of their injured stars, yet are sitting in the top eight - an outstanding effort. The Sea Eagles are in a similar boat, sitting in fifth with another two joining the infirmary but with a trio returning. But despite their super record against the Sharks - even at Shark Park - victory this weekend might be a bridge too far for the boys from the northern beaches.

TIP - Sharks

News Corp Australia


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