WESTS TIGERS v ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS at ANZ Stadium, 7.45pm
DRAGONS: Darius Boyd, Brett Morris, Mark Gasnier, Matt Cooper, Jason Nightingale, Jamie Soward, Ben Hornby (capt), Dan Hunt, Dean Young, Michael Weyman, Beau Scott, Ben Creagh, Matt Prior. Interchange: Jon Green, Nathan Fien, Adam Cuthbertson, Trent Merrin, Mitch Rein (one to be omitted).
Referees: Tony Archer, Matt Cecchin.
Friday Night sees the defending Premiers in one of their horror matchups, against the ad-lib Tigers led by Benji Marshall. The bonus for the Dragons is that they are at full strength and injury free. Whoever wins, it must be said, that most fans hope that the other team stays alive, but due to the vagaries of the McIntyre system, this cannot be guaranteed. Tip for the Dragons to break the Tigers winning streak, but this will be close and the Dragons needs to be on their game.
BRISBANE BRONCOS v NZ WARRIORS at Suncorp Stadium, 6.30pm
BRONCOS: Gerard Beale, Dale Copley, Jack Reed, Justin Hodges, Jharal Yow Yew, Darren Lockyer (capt), Peter Wallace, Josh McGuire, Andrew McCullough, Ben Hannant, Alex Glenn, Ben Te'o, Corey Parker. Interchange: Matt Gillett, Ben Hunt, Scott Anderson, David Hala.
WARRIORS: Kevin Locke, Bill Tupou, Joel Moon, Shaun Berrigan, Manu Vatuvei, James Maloney, Shaun Johnson, Sam Rapira, Aaron Heremaia, Jacob Lillyman, Feleti Mateo, Simon Mannering (capt), Micheal Luck. Interchange: Lewis Brown, Lance Hohaia, Ben Matulino, Russell Packer, Ukuma Ta'ai (one to be omitted).
Referees: Jared Maxwell, Shayne Hayne.
Another game that the top team didn't want to play. The New Zealand Warriors would have been Anthony Griffin's last choice on who to play in Week 1. The Broncos at home, with the emotion surrounding Darren Lockyer could take the Broncos either way. The Warriors will be tough, but there seems to be an air of inevitability surrounding the Broncos this season.....the question will be whether they feel it. Broncs for mine.
MANLY SEA EAGLES v NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS at Sydney Football Stadium, 8.30pm
SEA EAGLES: Brett Stewart, Michael Robertson, Jamie Lyon (capt), Steve Matai, Will Hopoate, Kieran Foran, Daly Cherry-Evans, Joe Galuvao, Matt Ballin, Brent Kite, Anthony Watmough, Vic Mauro, Shane Rodney. Interchange: Tim Robinson, Jamie Buhrer, George Rose, Tony Williams.
COWBOYS: Matthew Bowen, Ashley Graham, Brent Tate, Willie Tonga, Kalifa Faifai Loa, Ray Thompson, Johnathan Thurston (capt), Matthew Scott (capt), Aaron Payne, James Tamou, Gavin Cooper, Glenn Hall, Dallas Johnson. Interchange: James Segeyaro, Scott Bolton, Jason Taumalolo, Ashton Sims, Cory Paterson (one to be omitted).
Referees: Ben Cummins, Gavin Badger.
The first game against the feed, as we believe that the Cowboys have had a great season and we are of the belief that they are looking to make a big effort in the finals. A loss and they are gone. Manly have shown they are the real deal, however, but will they be complacent against a team they are expected to beat. Cowboys in a high scoring affair.
MELBOURNE STORM v NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS at AAMI Park, 4pm
STORM: Billy Slater, Matthew Duffie, Dane Nielsen, Beau Champion, Anthony Quinn, Maurice Blair, Cooper Cronk, Jesse Bromwich, Cameron Smith (capt), Bryan Norrie, Kevin Proctor, Sika Manu, Todd Lowrie. Interchange: Ryan Hinchcliffe, Rory Kostjasyn, Adam Woolnough, Jaiman Lowe, Troy Thompson, Sisa Waqa (two to be omitted).
KNIGHTS: Kurt Gidley (capt), James McManus, Junior Sa'u, Adam MacDougall, Akuila Uate, Ryan Stig, Jarrod Mullen, Evarn Tuimavave, Isaac De Gois, Antonio Kaufusi, Chris Houston, Neville Costigan, Joel Edwards. Interchange: Steve Southern, Zane Tetavano, Richie Fa'aoso, Mark Taufua.
Referees: Ashley Klein, Adam Devcich.