Storm in shape? Will Maguire’s moves work? Suaalii reminder? Can Dogs Feed Hungry Foxx?

Now that we are five rounds away from the competition, it is safe to say that there are three outstanding candidates for the post of Prime Minister, three others who could realistically stand a chance and nine teams who are fighting for two. playoff spots.

And there’s no prize for guessing the 16th team that doesn’t fit into any of those three categories. The Wests Tigers will be lucky enough to get 10 competitive points this season, especially since teams only get two points from a bye round these days.

Penrith, Parra and Melbourne are the top three at the top although Storm’s form has a slight question mark over it, Cronulla, Manly and the Roosters could become genuine title contenders as the season progresses but otherwise, on who would you expect to make the final?

The Souths seem like the safest bet, but they are 2-3 with Latrell Mitchell now out for two months and Cody Walker in a premature fall in form with Adam Reynolds no longer at his side. The Warriors and Cowboys are in the top eight as it stands but are hot and cold propositions at best, Newcastle, Gold Coast and Canberra have potential but are yet to kick off their campaigns.


Raiders v Cowboys at GIO Stadium, 7:50 p.m.

Can Xavier save Canberra’s season? The 19-year-old attacking dynamo was in fine form during tryouts but hasn’t been spotted at NRL level this season so far, earning a chance off the bench against the Cowboys. At 2-3 and a 12th-ranked offense, it’s not necessarily time for Ricky Stuart to go radical, but Savage facing tiresome defenses could give the Green Machine that bit of extra power it’s been missing over the course. of the first five rounds.

(Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

Will the Cowboys be more adventurous? A curious stat from the first five rounds is that North Queensland had more sets of seven tackles than anyone else with 13, but not once did they score a try from one of them. Chad Townsend is a good organizer and Tom Dearden’s form has improved this year, but they have to take more risks when the Cowboys are on offense.


Rabbitohs vs Bulldogs at Accor Stadium, 4 p.m.

Can’t the Souths be that sloppy with the ball? The Rabbitohs have committed 10 or more errors in five of their last six games after hitting that unwanted landmark only four times in their previous 11 outings. Only the winless Wests Tigers (70) spat the ball more than the Souths (68).

Storm in shape? Will Maguire's moves work? Suaalii reminder? Can Dogs Feed Hungry Foxx?

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Will the dogs feed the Foxx? Josh Addo-Carr is still an elite offensive weapon but he’s going to squander. He’s had 28 jump tackles this year, second in the NRL behind Titans winger Greg Marzhew, and five line jumps, but he has zero four-pointers, equating to a share of the last place on the list of try scorers. There’s no point buying a Ferrari if you’re not going to give it a whirl in an open space.

Panthers vs. Broncos at BlueBet Stadium, 7:55 p.m.

How many prime minister rings will the Clearys collect? With unexpected news breaking this week that Ivan and Nathan Cleary have re-signed through the end of 2027, how many more titles can the Premiers rack up over the next six seasons? If you set the plus/minus to 2.5, you’ll get an equal split. With Cleary at halfback and the core of a young team that has already won a Grand Finals likely to stick together for the next few years, the Panthers could enjoy their first golden age where they rack up multiple trophies. within a decade.

What is the true worth of Payne Haas? With so much speculation going on right now over whether the Brisbane prop is worth seven figures a season, the Broncos will get an idea of ​​how much they rely on him when they face the Penrith squad without Haas after he was banned for a week. for his stupid fight with teammate Albert Kelly. With Pat Carrigan injured and Tom Flegler suspended again, Brisbane face Penrith with a starting rotation between Corey Jensen, Kobe Hetherington and Keenan Palasia. These three are supporters, but it could get ugly if they don’t match the Panthers down the middle.


Sea Eagles vs. Titans at 4 Pines Park, 5:30 p.m.

Can the Sea Eagles keep repeating? Manly had 11 repeated sets in the 2022 NRL season, the most of any team, while Gold Coast (14) conceded the most. Daly Cherry-Evans is the master of possession control, forcing line drops nine times this season, three more than anyone else.

Will the Titans regret another narrow loss? Gold Coast lost three games by fours, twos and sixes, winning the other games by two runs apiece. They are still in the race but lack class and clutch experience. If only they had a second, high-priced rower with Origin and Test experience that could make the difference with a winning charge or two…

Storm v Sharks at AAMI Park, 7:35 p.m.

Is Melbourne everything they’re made out to be? It may seem odd as most see this game as a test of Cronulla’s credentials, but so far this year the Storm have had an unconvincing win over the Tigers, they beat the Bunnies in overtime via field goal, lost at home against Parramatta, whipped a dismal Canterbury and represented the exhausted Raiders. They’re $1.37 favorites to beat the Sharks, but that’s not a sure thing.

Are the Sharks all they’re made out to be? Cronulla is also 4-1 and the NRL’s hottest fan favorite this season, along with Andrew Johns and Michael Hagan, who believe they are destined for the top four. Nicho Hynes has exceeded expectations as a half-back, especially his game management. Cronulla has scored more tries (10) from the penalty spot than anyone.


Roosters vs. Warriors at SCG, 2 p.m.

Is it time to get Suaalii running? The 18-year-old wonderkid has played a few NSW Cup games to get back into shape after foot surgery and the Roosters could do with some youthful pace and power. They have used just 19 players in their five games, the lowest figure of any club. Suaalii is on the extended reserves bench and center Paul Momirovski’s place must be vulnerable after being stuck by Kotoni Staggs last week.

Joseph Suaalii of the Roosters

Joseph Sualii. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Can the Warriors score a point in the second half? In their last four games against the Roosters, there has been a grand total of zero points scored by the Warriors. Nathan Brown has chopped and changed his team more than any other manager with 24 players already used this season, but he appears to be working with the team to have a chance at their first four-game winning streak since 2018.

Dragons v Knights at WIN Stadium, 4:05 p.m.

Will Griffin survive the hook? One of the first signs these days of a coach losing “the full support of the board” is a story spreading about the price it would cost to get rid of him. It’s a way for clubs to gauge how fans feel about whether they should pull the trigger or persist with the coach. If this week’s $450,000 figure doesn’t precipitate a marked improvement in the team’s fortunes, Griffin may not last the season. They haven’t bothered the scorers in the first half of the last two losses of their four-game streak.

Can David Klemmer become an elite pillar again? It seems like he’s been around forever after making his debut as a teenager in 2013, but Klemmer is only 28. He is making a comeback after suffering a knee injury in the opening round. In his three seasons with the Knights, his average yards covered per game has dropped to 169, 172 and 164 after peaking at 181 in his final season at Canterbury. Blues manager Brad Fittler has looked elsewhere for his centre-forward for the past two seasons, but Klemmer could still be an option for the Kangaroos’ World Cup squad if he returns to his best.


Eels v Tigers at CommBank Stadium, 4pm

Are Eels fans still nervous? They’re a funny bunch in that they’re most anxious when things are going well. Years of disappointment after 1986 have created an inferiority complex among Parra fans that the next disaster is imminent and that they will be most nervous before a game like this when they should be beating their pitiful opponents.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 25: The Tigers look on after conceding a try in the NRL Third Round match between the Wests Tigers and New Zealand Warriors at Campbelltown Stadium on March 25, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

How are these deckchairs? The mix of chairs on the Titanic snap has been trotted out a bit this week with Michael Maguire pushing Luke Brooks into five-eights and dumping Ken Maumalo, Jacob Liddle, Oliver Gildart and Tyrone Peachey. He had to try something after five straight losses, but when your roster isn’t exactly full of game breakers, it’s hard to see any of the new faces do better. What scares Tigers fans is that these four players were meant to be part of the solution, but their lackluster form has only compounded the club’s problems.

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