The Newsroom previews the NRL long weekend, with the struggling Broncos desperate to break their losing streak.
Brisbane Broncos v Canberra Raiders
The luckless Broncos are looking for their first win since round 10 when they take on the in-form Raiders on Thursday night at Suncorp Stadium. The Raiders have won three matches in a row and can climb into the top four with a win. Darius Boyd was impressive for the Maroons in the State of Origin last week, staking his claim as one of the best fullbacks in the game. The Raiders will be without fullback Jack Wighton and prop Shannon Boyd, suspended, making the home side hot favourites to end their losing streak.
Parramatta Eels v Gold Coast Titans
The Eels battle the Titans at Marrara Oval in Darwin on Saturday night. The Eels are coming fresh off a bye and will again put Bevan French onto the wing. French was electric last week against the Knights and will boost his squad for the match. The Titans could be on a streak with a win, after a controversial one-point win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs in Perth. Kieran Foran will not play for the Eels after being ruled out for the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury. Kenny Edwards will replace Foran at five-eighth. Players to watch will be the two half-backs, with experienced Eels play-maker Corey Norman taking on new sensation for the Titans Ashley Taylor. Titan’s recruit Nathan Peats will face his old club for the first time after being released from Parramatta in May following the salary cap scandal.
Cronulla Sharks v North Queensland Cowboys
In the match of the round, the Sharks play the Cowboys on Monday night at Southern Cross Stadium in Cronulla. The Sharks are the Cinderella story of the 2016 season so far. They take on the reigning premiers in front of their home crowd with the prospect of winning their tenth consecutive game. Both sides have talent across the park but the players to watch are Cowboys halfback Johnathan Thurston and Cronulla five-eighth James Maloney. Both players are all class and have earned their spots in the Origin arena. Thurston is the icing on the cake for the Cowboys while Maloney can snatch a victory with his goal-kicking. – Jesse Mullens
South Sydney Rabbitohs v Wests Tigers – ANZ Stadium, Friday, 7:50pm
Newcastle Knights v New Zealand Warriors – Hunter Stadium, Saturday, 3pm
Sydney Roosters v Melbourne Storm – Allianz Stadium, Saturday, 7:30pm
Manly Sea Eagles v Penrith Panthers – Brookvale Oval, Sunday, 4pm
St George Illawarra Dragons v Canterbury Bulldogs – ANZ Stadium, Monday, 4pm