NRL ROUND 2 PREVIEWS
Panthers V Bulldogs
Pepper Stadium 7.05pm (AEST)
History: Played 88; Bulldogs 50, Panthers 35, drawn 3
Last met: Bulldogs 24-12, round 15, 2015
FOR mine, the Bulldogs were the revelation of round one. Their big forwards were surprisingly mobile, worked hard and defended superbly, with erratic five-eighth Josh Reynolds much more measured. Hooker Michael Lichaa (knee) is a big loss, but not as much as James Segeyaro (broken arm) for the Panthers. Although unlucky losers against the Raiders, the Panthers will be beaten every time they concede 30 points. The clash up front of tyro forwards David Klemmer and Bryce Cartwright will be worth the admission price.
TIP - Bulldogs
Broncos V Warriors
Suncorp Stadium 7.05pm (AEST)
History: Played 36; Broncos 21, Warriors 15
Last met: Broncos 24-16, round 4, 2015
UNLESS they bring a better attitude and put their bodies on the line, the Warriors will again be punching bags - on and off the field. Despite their second-half comeback against the Tigers last week, for a team with such a star-studded roster their performance was pathetic. A repeat of their disciplined and measured game against the Eels should be enough to snare another win for the Broncos, who hold a 7-3 record against the Warriors at Suncorp. A six-day turnaround and two Trans-Tasman flights won't help the visitors who, surprisingly, have made just the one positional change.
TIP - Broncos
Raiders V Roosters
GIO Stadium, 2pm (AEST)
History: Played 57; Roosters 32, Raiders 25
Last met: Roosters 34-6, round 4, 2015
THE Raiders may have won on the scoreboard against Penrith, but they conceded 22 points and lost both their halves in a lamentable kick-off to the season. But it was a better start than the Roosters made, leaking 42 points in a dreadful display to slip ingloriously to the bottom of the ladder. Ricky Stuart has been forced to name 19-year-old debutant halfback Lachlan Croker, while Trent Robinson has maintained faith in his Roosters, who are sure to be better despite only one personnel change from the loss to Souths.
TIP - Raiders
Rabbitohs V Knights
ANZ Stadium 4.30pm (AEST)
History: Played 37; Knights 25, Rabbitohs 12
Last met: Rabbitohs 52-6, round 20, 2015
WHILE the gloss of their impressive win against the Roosters has been dulled by long-term injuries to Adam Reynolds (jaw) and John Sutton (pec), the Rabbitohs are lucky to have the rebuilding Knights at home on Saturday. Also fortunate is the fact that Luke Keary and George Burgess return from suspension. Obviously the Knights have a huge mountain to climb and are unlikely to have too many reasons to celebrate this season, and a trip to the cavernous ANZ Stadium in week two won't be one of those. Most interest is whether the Rabbitohs, minus Reynolds, can ignite again.
TIP - Rabbitohs
Eels V Cowboys
Pirtek Stadium 6.30pm (AEST)
History: Played 33; Eels 17, Cowboys 15, drawn 1
Last met: Cowboys 46-4, round 20, 2015
THE commitment and never-surrender attitude was evident, but the Cowboys certainly lacked their trademark attacking spark in round one and simply cannot continue to rely on last-minute miracles to get them home. With Kieran Foran expected to play, Corey Norman cleared of injury and their powerful forward pack better for their first hit-out, the Eels will be no easybeats, particularly at this ground where their record against the Cowboys is 12-6. An upset is on the cards.
TIP - Cowboys
Sharks V Dragons
Shark Park 3pm (AEST)
History: Played 36, Dragons 18, Sharks 17, drawn 1
Last met: Sharks 28-8, round 18, 2015
PAUL Gallen may have had limited game time for the Sharks in recent seasons, but he is their spiritual leader and his captaincy, work ethic and muscle will be sorely missed over the next four to six weeks. Add to that the suspension of Chris Heighington and the Sharks might be a little shaky against their arch enemy on Sunday. The Dragons, who have lost 10 of 16 at Shark Park, were impressive and unlucky against the Storm, and welcome back Peter Mata'utia. A Dragons win won't surprise.
TIP - Dragons
Storm V Titans
AAMI Park 5.30pm (AEST)
History: Played 14; Storm 9, Titans 5
Last met: Storm 36-14, round 22, 2015
AFTER keeping the Dragons at bay for 17 seasons, fortress Melbourne raises its shackles again this weekend with the Titans having won there just once in five visits. However the Gold Coasters were as impressive as any first-round winners and this will be no walkover for the Storm. Coach Craig Bellamy may have been unhappy with some aspects of Melbourne's first-round win, but a repeat of that stout defence should be enough to win this. An obviously confident Neil Henry has stuck solid with his 17 from last week and can't find a berth for co-captain Will Zillman or Luke Douglas.
TIP - Storm
Tigers V Sea Eagles
Leichhardt Oval 6pm (AEST)
History: Played 22, Sea Eagles 14, Tigers 8
Last met: Sea Eagles 30-20, round 15, 2015
THESE teams were at different ends of the footy spectrum in round one - the Tigers attacking more freely than most thought possible, and the much-hyped Sea Eagles a massive disappointment. But most good judges believe the star-studded Eagles have a switch yet to be flicked, and the Tigers have huge defensive deficiencies. Both sides have made significant changes and Brett Stewart remains a big chance to play for the Sea Eagles, which will be a major plus.
TIP - Sea Eagles