NRL Teams Analysis - 2017 Round 21

Sam's weekly look at all the NRL team lists is in.


Penrith Panthers

In - Tyrone May

Out - Matt Moylan

Analysis - Penrith are on the edge of the Top 8 after making it three wins on the trot after defeating the Titans 24-16 last week. In a big blow, five eighth and captain Matt Moylan has injured a hamstring when scoring a try late in their win last week and has been replaced by Tyrone May for their clash against Canterbury. Bryce Cartwright returned through NSW Cup last week, playing 50 minutes and has been named on the extended bench and could loom as a late inclusion in the 17 either at five-eighth or lock. Dean Whare also emerges as a late change, named on the extended bench after returning from injury also.

Canterbury Bulldogs

In - James Graham

Out - Francis Tualau

Analysis - Canterbury's season now looks all but over after they were thrashed by the Broncos last Friday night. Captain James Graham returns from a neck injury in a belated return for the Dogs, which sees Danny Fualalo move back to the interchange and Francis Tualau back to the extended bench. No ducks and drakes this week for the under pressure Des Hasler, who has finally just been up front and named Moses Mbye at hooker, Matt Frawley at halfback and Michael Lichaa to start from the bench.   

Weather Watch - Fine


New Zealand Warriors

In - Nil

Out - Nil

Analysis - The Warriors return home to Mt Smart Stadium, where they will host the defending premiers on Friday night. New Zealand put in a quality performance against the Cowboys, despite many critics writing them off immediately after Shaun Johnson was ruled out for the next month or so. The Warriors have made no changes to the side that went down 24-12 last week in Townsville as they look to avoid going through the month of July without a win

Cronulla Sharks

In - Jack Bird

Out - James Maloney

Analysis - The Sharks returned to the Top 4 after they defeated the Rabbitohs 26-12 at Shark Park in Round 20. They now make the tough trip across the Tasman, where they face a dangerous Warriors outfit looking to snap a three game losing streak. Five eighth James Maloney has been ruled out for the next month with a hand injury, which sees Fa'manu Brown move to five-eighth and James Segeyaro to start at hooker. NSW utility Jack Bird returns at centre, which sees Kurt Capewell move back to the interchange after filling in for Bird last week.   

Weather Watch - Rain


Parramatta Eels

In - Josh Hoffman

Out - Clint Gutherson

Analysis - The Eels consolidated their position in the Top 8, with a narrow one point win over their traditional rivals the Tigers at ANZ Stadium last Sunday, making it four wins in a row for the in-form side. The win has come at a cost however, with arguably their best player Clint Gutherson confirmed to miss the remainder of the season with a ruptured ACL. It is a bitter pill to swallow for the Eels, however they do have depth, with Josh Hoffman returning to the side on the wing and Bevan French moving from the wing to fullback. Parramatta need to make a big statement against the Broncos, especially with most punters writing them off without Gutherson in their line up for the rest of the year.

Brisbane Broncos

In - Darius Boyd

Out - Kodi Nikorima

Analysis - The Broncos walloped the Bulldogs at home last start and now head to ANZ Stadium to face the in-form Eels in an absolute blockbuster on Friday night. Brisbane welcome back Test fullback and captain Darius Boyd who has been named at fullback, with Kodi Nikorima dropping out of the 17. Benji Marshall has been named on the extended bench and will likely replace Anthony Milford towards the backend of the match, with Milford carrying a shoulder injury. 

Weather Watch - Fine


Newcastle Knights

In - Ken Sio

Out - Chanel Mata'utia

Analysis - The Knights return home to Hunter Stadium, where they face a resurgent Dragons outfit on Saturday afternoon. Newcastle were thrashed by premiership heavyweights the Roosters and after some desperately narrow losses in the past months, players and fans must be wondering where their next win will come from in 2017. Ken Sio returns to the wing for Chanel Mata'utia in the only change for the wooden spoon favourites.   

St George Illawarra Dragons

In - Josh Dugan, Joel Thompson

Out - Euan Aitken, Blake Lawrie

Analysis - The Dragons bounced back to form, upsetting the Sea Eagles 52-22 in arguably their best performance of the year. The Dragons will be looking to keep their improvement in attack going against the last placed Knights. Outstanding debutant Matt Dufty has demanded re-selection at fullback after his brilliant debut, which sees NSW rep Josh Dugan return to the side at centre. Joel Thompson returns to the back row after being a late withdrawal last week, which sees Blake Lawrie named out of the 17 this week.    

Weather Watch - Fine


South Sydney Rabbitohs

In - Hymel Hunt, Cameron Murray

Out - Braidon Burns, Zane Musgrove

Analysis - South Sydney's season looks all over after they were comprehensively defeated by the Sharks last Friday night, the loss was further soured by a rib injury to Sam Burgess. Burgess has been named at lock but is in doubt for the clash and will need to pass a late fitness test to take his place in the side. Michael Maguire has decided to completely re-shuffle his backline this week, with Alex Johnson moving to fullback and Cody Walker returning to his preferred five-eighth position. Hymel Hunt returns from injury at centre and forms a new combination with Tyrell Fuimaono who shifts from the second row. Braidon Burns has been dropped, with Robert Jennings moving to the wing from centre. John Sutton moves from six to the second row and Damien Cook will start at hooker with Robbie Farah relegated to the interchange in some big changes. Cameron Murray has been named on the bench, with Zane Musgrove named outside of the 17.   

Canberra Raiders

In - Michael Oldfield, Clay Priest

Out - Iosia Soliola, Jordan Rapana

Analysis - Canberra again couldn't get it right last week, when they went down to the Storm at GIO Stadium, with Melbourne missing both Billy Slater and Cameron Smith in the second half. The Green Machine now travel to ANZ Stadium where they face fellow underachievers the Rabbitohs. The trip to Sydney has been made a lot more difficult for Canberra, who will be missing both top tryscorer Jordan Rapana and the experienced Iosia Soliola missing through suspension. They have been replaced by NRL journeyman Michael Oldfield on the wing and Clay Priest on the bench, with Luke Bateman starting at lock.

Weather Watch - Fine  


Sydney Roosters

In - Joseph Manu

Out - Kane Evans

Analysis - The Roosters as expected dismantled the Knights quite easily last start and now meet the Cowboys in what looms as a finals dress rehearsal at Allianz Stadium. The Roosters welcome back Joseph Manu who returns from injury, which sees Mitch Aubusson return to the backrow and Aidan Guerra to the interchange at the expense of Kane Evans who has been left out of the side.

North Queensland Cowboys

In - Antonio Winterstein

Out - Javid Bowen

Analysis - The Cowboys made it four wins on the trot, when they defeated the Warriors at home last start and will be given another tough assignment, when they travel to Allianz Stadium to face the second placed Roosters in one of the games of the round. Antonio Winterstein returns to the wing for Javid Bowen in the sole change for the visitors. John Asiata has again been named in the front row, with Shaun Fensom on the bench.  

Weather Watch - Fine 


Melbourne Storm

In - Ryley Jacks

Out - Billy Slater

Analysis - Melbourne escaped out of the Nation's Capital with the two competition points in one of the more controversial games of 2017. The Storm will now return to Melbourne where they will host bitter rivals the Sea Eagles in a huge clash on Sunday afternoon. Billy Slater has been ruled out after being knocked out by a Sia Soliola high tackle, which sees Cameron Munster move to fullback and Ryley Jacks come in at five-eighth. Skipper Cameron Smith left the field early with a pectoral injury against the Raiders, however has been named for what will be his 350th

first grade game. Slade Griffin has been named on the extended bench as cover for the injured skipper, so as always with the Storm check for late changes. ###>

Manly Sea Eagles

In - Blake Green,Apisau Koroisau,Matthew Wright, Brenton Lawrence

Out - Brad Parker, Jackson Hastings, Joey Lussick, Jarrad Kennedy

Analysis - The Sea Eagles were flying along until last week's disaster in Wollongong, where they were blown away by the Dragons. Trent Barrett's men must turn things around immediately as they now face the toughest road trip in the NRL, where they will look to defeat the Storm in Melbourne. Api Koroisau and Blake Green have both been named to return, which sees Cameron Cullen move back to the bench and last week's debutant Joey Lussick dropping back to the extended bench after scoring a try on debut. Winger Matthew Wright has been named to return, coming in for Brad Parker, while Brenton Lawrence returns to the front row replacing Darcy Lussick.

Weather Watch - Cloudy


Gold Coast Titans

In - John Olive, Kane Elgey

Out - Konrad Hurrell, Karl Lawton

Analysis - The Titans rejoined the strugglers on the NRL ladder and their hopes of back to back finals appearances seemed to have gone up in smoke after they fell to the Panthers 24-16 at Pepper Stadium last week. Returning home to CBUS Stadium, they will be looking to bounce back against the struggling Tigers. They will have to do so without strike centre Konrad Hurrell who has been ruled out with a hamstring injury and has been replaced by John Olive. Kane Elgey replaces Karl Lawton on the bench in the only other change.

Wests Tigers

In - Sauaso Sue, Chris Lawrence

Out - Joel Edwards, Kyle Lovett

Analysis - The Tigers were left heartbroken after going down 17-16 thanks to a late Corey Norman field goal against their bitter rivals the Eels last week. Fullback James Tedesco was back to his best in a superb performance and will be looking to keep his good form going when he comes up against NSW team mate Jarryd Hayne on Sunday afternoon. The Tigers welcome back Sauaso Sue from suspension and Chris Lawrence from injury in a big boost for the visitors.    

Weather Watch - Fine

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