The first match of the round sees the Dragons take on the Magpies at WIN Stadium. The Dragons have made several changes from last weeks side, the most notable is the loss of Ryan Powell who will make his first grade debut. He will be replaced by Peter Ellis. The Magpies have brought Peterson into halfback, pushing Levy onto the interchange bench. They?ll be hoping the change can turn around their fortunes after last week?s loss to the Cougars. If they suffer defeat this week they could find themselves falling as far as 9th spot with the finals just around the corner.
St George-Illawara Dragons ? David Howell, John Wilshere, Chris Nero, Mark Christensen, Etuate Uaisele, Matthew Head, Dean Byrne, Ian Donnelly, Damien Bower, Steven Southern, Bryan Norrie, Nathan Tutt, Peter Ellis, Interchange: Jason Ellem.
Western Suburbs Magpies ? Luke Duffy, Jordan Macey, Dean Collis, Ken McGuinness, John Olzard, Clint Greenshields, John Peterson, Brett O?Farrell, Brad Eisenhuth, Clint Hill, Liam Fulton, Gray Viane, Drew Dalton, Interchange: Brett Rimmer, Michael Papa, Wes Hallam-Mann, Ray Cashmere, David Djukich, Abraham Pritchard, Tere Glassie, Chris Levy (Four to be omitted).
Moving to Saturday, two teams with plenty of attacking ability in the Jets and Bulldogs meet at Henson Park. The Bulldogs come off a big win while the Jets come off a high scoring loss. While on opposite ends of the table, a win is still important for both sides. The Bulldogs are in a battle for second place and a win this week for Newtown would assure they don?t finish last. Expect a Bulldogs victory in a high scoring contest.
Newtown Jets v Canterbury Bulldogs Saturday 23rd August, 3:00pm at Henson Park Referee: Michael Harradine Touch Judges: Darryn Lang and Jason Walsh
Newtown Jets ? Team Unannounced
Canterbury Bulldogs ? Trent Cutler, Gavin Lester, Dayne Neirinckx, Todd Polglase, Shane Marteene, Reni Maitua, Brett Oliver, Glenn Hall, Corey Hughes, Adrian Rainey, Roy Asotasi, Adam Brideson, Glenn Hughes, Interchange: Justin Holbrook, Hutch Maiava, Trevor Thurling, Brad Morrin, Nathan Barry (One to be omitted).
As the finals loom these next two sides know that winning is essential. The Cougars currently sit in 5th place on 24 points just two points adrift of the Dragons and an all important top 4 spot. Balmain sits in 7th spot on 19 points with a win putting them as high as 6th and a loss putting them as low as 9th. Despite finals spots being on the line the Cougars have named an almost completely unchanged line-up from last week. Ben Rodgers is the only casualty who is replaced by George Rose on the interchange bench. With that confidence as well as results behind them St Marys-Penrith are the favourites to take home the points in this one.
St Marys-Penrith Cougars v Balmain Tigers Saturday 23rd August, 3:40pm at Penrith Football Stadium Referee: Jason Weinstein Touch Judges: Doug Keen and George Jankowski
St Marys-Penrith Cougars ? Steve Turner, Chris Hicks, Shane Elford, Luke Dyer, Brett Howland, Daniel Russell, Ben Reynolds, Anthony Armour, Shannon Donato, Peter Lewis, Richard Fa?aoso, Danny Galea, Frank Pritchard, Interchange: Garrett Crossman, George Rose, Matthew Pow, Tim Maccan, Shaun Ata (One to be omitted)
Balmain Tigers ? Team Unannounced
Parramatta will this week welcome back New Zealand international David Solomona into their forward pack. The blockbusting forward has been unable to hold down a spot in first grade this year but his services will be more than welcome for the Eels Premier League side. The Sharks have made several changes. Mullane moves from 5/8 into Lock with Dallalana filling his spot and Burns coming into halfback. The position swapping will have to stir up something big for the Sharks if they are to get home in this one as both teams are currently on opposite ends of the scale in form.
Parramatta Eels v Cronulla Sharks Saturday 23rd August, 5:30pm at Parramatta Stadium Referee: Gavin Badger Touch Judges: David Abood and Glenn Jackson
Parramatta Eels ? Ronald Prince, Matt Gruszka, Willie Tonga, Chad Halliday, John Williams, Steve Witt, Paul Green, Kyle Leuluai, Daniel Irvine, Justin Tsoulos, David Solomona, Anthony Boyd, Ryan Hinchcliffe, Interchange: Jeff Robson, Adam Wheeler, Nathan McMillan, Josh Dillon, Wade Russell, Nathan Hollingsworth, Matt Lantry, Tim Smith (Four to be omitted)
Cronulla Sharks ? Loloaoa Milford, Adam Davidson, Bronx Goodwin, Andrew Emelio, Stephen Ross, Andrew Dallalana, Travis Burns, Shaun Wessell, Pat Gibson, Nick Patterson, Keith Heckenberg, Cameron Ciraldo, Jye Mullane, Interchange: Michael Greenfield, Don Tweddle, Jnr Paulo, Kevin Kingston, Nick Youngquest (One to be omitted).
The first of the Sunday matches pits the Raiders up against the Knights at Canberra Stadium. The Raiders have stuck with last week?s line-up, in particular the halves combination of Gafa and Campese which worked well for them. Newcastle on the other hand will be missing Craig Hall but welcome back Matthew Kennedy. The loss of some strike power out wide won?t help the Knights cause and Canberra will likely continue their dominance.
Canberra Raiders ? Marshall Chalk, Michael Robertson, Nathan Smith, Jack Pearson, Rod Jensen, Terry Campese, Matthew Gafa, Michael Weyman, Jarred Lawrence, Mark Bryant, Alan Rothery, Darren Porter, Josh Miller, Interchange: Matt Doeg, Alwyn Simpson, Kris Kahler, Nick Kouparitsas, Mark Simon (One to be omitted).
Newcastle Knights ? Michael Young, Jared Taylor, Gavin Quinn, Riley Brown, Joshua Smith, Todd Bates, Chris Tyrie, Daniel Tolar, Michael Ennis, Matthew Kennedy, Blake Mueller, Reegan Tanner, Matthew Barlett, Interchange: Dane Tilse, Mark Jaques, Matthew White, Ian Flood.
Despite still being in contention for the wooden spoon, Manly have only made minor changes to their squad this week. Brendan Crabb comes into halfback with Craig Hayne moving into hooker and Glenn Stewart going to the second row. Their opponents, the Roosters have named a virtually unchanged line-up except they have lost Lopini Paea and Ben Wellington to first grade. Despite the losses, Sydney come into this match as strong favouties.
Sydney Roosters v Manly Sea Eagles Sunday 24th August, 1:10pm at Aussie Stadium Referee: Ben Cummins Touch Judges: Darren Alchin and Wayne Loveday
Sydney Roosters ? Grant Rovelli, Steve Skinnon, Lelea Paea, Tyrone Smith, Eric Grothe, Willie Bishop, Joe Williams, David Shillington, Wade Humphreys, Todd Ollivier, Luke Fatnowna, Fred Petersen, Richard Russell, Interchange: Tevita Metuisela, Shawn Mackay, Ian Henderson, Mal Kaufusi.
Manly Sea Eagles ? Matt Hill, Ryan Scott, Pat Foran, Sam Peters, Sean Meaney, Michael Gill, Brendan Crabb, Phil Morwood, Craig Hayne, Grant Wooden, Adam Cuthbertson, Glenn Stewart, Ben Ellis, Interchange: Clint Eadie, Matt Austin, Dylan Montgomery, Daniel Watkins, Brad McLean, Brad Davis (Two to be omitted).
The final match of the round sees the bottom of the table Bears take on the Rabbitohs at one of Rugby Leagues classic grounds, North Sydney Oval. Souths have brought in plenty of fire power for this clash with Joven Clarke and Bajouri coming back into the side. Their only concern will be the loss of Shane Walker at hooker. Despite the Rabbitohs looking strong on paper, expect a tight contest between two of leagues great clubs.
North Sydney Bears ? Team Unannounced
South Sydney Rabbitohs ? Wade McKinnon, Joven Clarke, Beau Mundine, David Fa?alogo, Wise Kativerata, Luke Brannighan, Troy Robinson, Daniel Ninness, Anthony Semrani, Brian Siemson, Stacey Katu, Kevin Henderson, David Buckley, Interchange: Nelson Manoukatoa, Brett Sheehan, Fuifui Moimoi, John Sutton, Ahmad Bajouri (One to be omitted).
Matches at a glance: Dragons v Magpies Jets v Bulldogs Cougars v Tigers Eels v Sharks Raiders v Knights Roosters v Sea Eagles Bears v RabbitohsLike