NRL Teams Analysis - 2017 Round 23

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Sam's weekly look at all the NRL squads is in ahead of Round 23 of the premiership, plus a forecast for each match.


1. Alex Johnston 2. Bryson Goodwin 3. Aaron Gray 4. Tyrell Fuimaono 5. Campbell Graham 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Burgess 9. Damien Cook 10. Zane Musgrove 11. John Sutton 17. Cameron Murray 13. Sam Burgess 12. Angus Crichton 14. Robbie Farah 15. George Burgess 16. Kyle Turner

In - Aaron Gray

Out - Hymel Hunt

Analysis - South Sydney performed a miracle at the SCG in Retro Round, scoring 2 tries in 9 minutes to leave the Dragons stunned and their finals hopes in tatters. They now return to ANZ Stadium where they face their fierce rivals the Bulldogs. Aaron Gray returns to centre, replacing Hymel Hunt in the only change as the Rabbitohs look to reverse their result on Good Friday, where they were spanked by Canterbury 24-9.  

1. William Hopoate 2. Brett Morris 3. Josh Morris 4. Brenko Lee 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Josh Reynolds 7. Chase Stanley 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Moses Mbye 10. James Graham 11. Josh Jackson 15. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. David Klemmer 12. Adam Elliot 14. Sam Kasiano 16. Danny Fualalo 17. Matt Frawley

In - Nil

Out - Nil

Analysis - The Bulldogs were again awful last week in their local derby loss to the Eels going down 20-4. Des Hasler has named the same side as last week, with Chase Stanley named at halfback, however this did not really work at all last week, so expect some late changes with Matt Frawley named on the bench. Seriously though, there should be a late re-shuffle but there probably won't be.  

Weather Watch - Fine    


19. Will Smith 2. Semi Radradra 3. Michael Jennings 4. Brad Takairangi 5. Kirisome Auva'a 6. Corey Norman 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Siosaia Vave 9. Cameron King 10. Tim Mannah 11. Manu Ma'u 12. Tepai Moeroa 13. Nathan Brown 14. Daniel Alvaro 15. Kenny Edwards 16. Suaia Matagi 17. Peni Terepo

In - Tepai Moeroa

Out - Frank Pritchard

Analysis - The Eels are on fire, making it six wins in a row after dispatching of the Bulldogs in wet conditions at ANZ Stadium last week. Parramatta now host the in-form Knights in what will be captain Tim Mannah's 200###sup

1. Dane Gagai 2. Ken Sio 3. Joe Wardle 4. Peter Mata'utia 5. Shaun Kenny-dowall 6. Brock Lamb 7. Trent Hodkinson 8. Daniel Saifiti 9. Jamie Buhrer 10. Josh King 11. Sione Mata'utia 12. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 13. Mitchell Barnett 14. Danny Levi 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Sam Stone 17. Luke Yates

In - Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Joe Wardle

Out - Nathan Ross, Chanel Mata'utia

Analysis - The Knights travel down the M1 to face the inform Eels after securing back to back wins against the Warriors and Dragons in recent weeks. Newcastle have lost fullback Nathan Ross to a back fracture in a sickening collision last week. This sees in-form QLD winger and Wally Lewis medal winner Dane Gagai move to fullback, with English centre Joe Wardle returning to the starting side at centre. Winger Shaun Kenny-Dowall also returns, replacing Chanel Mata'utia. 

Weather Watch - Fine


1. Darius Boyd 2. Corey Oates 3. James Roberts 4. Tautau Moga 5. Jordan Kahu 6. Anthony Milford 7. Kodi Nikorima 8. Korbin Sims 14. Sam Thaiday 10. Adam Blair 11. Alex Glenn 12. Matt Gillett 13. Josh Mcguire 9. Ben Hunt 15. Tevita Pangai 16. Jai Arrow 17. Herman Essese

In - Jai Arrow

Out - Joe Ofahengaue

Analysis - The Broncos ran riot last week, humiliating the Titans 54-0 in their biggest ever win over their neighbours. Ben Hunt moving to hooker replacing the injured Andrew McCullough off the bench proved a masterstroke, with the Dragons bound half bagging a hat trick. Expect Sam Thaiday again to start at hooker as per last week's successful move. Joe Ofahengaue has been suspended for 3 weeks, and this sees the very capable Jai Arrow come into the game day 17. Brisbane now face the defending premiers at Suncorp Stadium in arguably the match of the round, to test where they are at with the finals just a month away. 

1. Valentine Holmes 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Kurt Capewell 4. Ricky Leutele 5. Gerard Beale 6. James Maloney 7. Chad Townsend 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Fa'amanu Brown 10. Matt Prior 11. Luke Lewis 12. Wade Graham 13. Paul Gallen 14. Jayson Bukuya 16. Jeremy Latimore 17. James Segeyaro 18. Sam Tagataese

In - James Maloney, Kurt Capewell

Out - Jack Bird, Adam Clydsdale

Analysis - The Sharks were humiliated at home by the Raiders 30-12 at Shark Park in Round 22 and now have a tough road trip ahead to Suncorp Stadium in what will be skipper Paul Gallen's 300###sup

game for the club. Look for Gallen to be the first player in history to be booed by the crowd in his 300###sup match…he wouldn't have it any other way would he? The Sharks welcome back James Maloney from a broken thumb, which sees Fa'manu Brown move to hooker, James Segeyaro to the bench and Adam Clydsdale dropping out. In another ironic twist Broncos bound centre Jack Bird will miss the game with a shoulder injury, with Kurt Capewell coming in at centre. ###>###>

Weather Watch - Fine


1. Matthew Dufty 2. Nene Macdonald 3. Josh Dugan 4. Timoteo Lafai 5. Jason Nightingale 6. Gareth Widdop 17. Kurt Mann 14. Tariq Sims 9. Cameron McInnes 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Joel Thompson 13. Jack de Belin 8. Leeson Ah Mau 15. Hame Sele 16. Blake Lawrie 19. Taane Milne

In - Hame Sele, Blake Lawrie

Out - Jake Marketo, Jacob Host

Analysis - The Dragons absolutely blew it against the Rabbitohs at the SCG in Retro Round, slumping to their second loss in a row and are now in real danger of missing the finals after being as high as third on the ladder after Round 10. St George now return to Kogarah Oval on Saturday afternoon in a must win clash against the struggling Titans. Tyson Frizell returns to the starting side, with Hame Sele and Blake Lawrie selected on the interchange replacing Jake Marketo and Jacob Host.       

1. Jarryd Hayne 2. Anthony Don 3. Dale Copley 4. John Olive 5. William Zillman 6. Kane Elgey 7. Ashley Taylor 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Nathan Peats 10. Ryan James 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Joe Greenwood 16. Leivaha Pulu 13. Max King 14. Tyrone Roberts 15. Nathaniel Peteru 17. Paterika Vaivai

In - Kevin Proctor

Out - Agnatius Paasi

Analysis - The Titans were thrashed by big brother the Broncos at CBUS Stadium by a record margin in a stunning capitulation in the second half from Neil Henry's side. Expect the under fire side to come out fired up after last week's embarrassment and the Titans will be looking for a big response after Neil Henry and star signing Jarryd Hayne having the spotlight shone on their performances during the week. Kevin Proctor has again been named after a false start last week, which sees Morgan Boyle return to the bench and Agnatius Paasi dropping out.  

Weather Watch - Fine


1. Billy Slater 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. William Chambers 4. Curtis Scott 5. Josh Addo-Carr 19. Jahrome Hughes 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith 15. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Joe Stimson 13. Dale Finucane 10. Tim Glasby 14. Kenneath Bromwich 16. Jordan McLean 17. Slade Griffin

In - Nil

Out - Nil

Analysis - The Melbourne juggernaut rolls on, with the Storm notching their third win in a row to skip four points clear at the summit of the NRL ladder. The Storm now host the second placed Roosters at AAMI Park and have again not named either Cameron Munster or Tohu Harris this week, despite both due back from injury and why should they with a four point buffer and their replacements doing a stellar job in their absence. A win here for the Storm will see them all but wrap up the Minor Premiership for the second year in a row.  

1. Connor Watson 3. Latrell Mitchell 16. Ryan Matterson 4. Mitchell Aubusson 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Luke Keary 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend 10. Dylan Napa 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Aidan Guerra 13. Isaac Liu 2. Joseph Manu 14. Zane Tetevano 15. Sio Siua Taukeiaho 18. Kane Evans

In - Boyd Cordner, Jake Friend

Out - Daniel Tupou, Kane Evans

Analysis - The Roosters were run over by a rampant Sea Eagles in the second half on Sunday, going down 36-18 and putting the Roosters Top 4 finish under immediate threat should they fail to defeat the Storm in Melbourne. In a huge boost NSW skipper Bord Cordner returns, as well as Jake Friend who returns from a broken hand. The Roosters do lose giant winger Daniel Tupou to a groin injury, which sees Joseph Manu move to the wing and Mitch Aubusson switching to centre. Aidan Guerra will start in the backrow, with youngsters Victor Radley and Ryan Matterson starting from the interchange after filling in well for Friend and Cordner respectively.  

Weather Watch - Rain 


1. Dylan Edwards 2. Josh Mansour 3. Tyrone Peachey 4. Waqa Blake 5. Dallin Watene Zelezniak 18. Matt Moylan 7. Nathan Cleary 8. James Tamou 9. Peter Wallace 16. Tim Browne 11. Corey Harawira 12. Isaah Yeo 13. Moses Leota 6. Tyrone May 10. Regan Campbell-Gillard 15. Bryce Cartwright 17. James Fisher-Harris

In - Nil

Out - Nil

Analysis - Penrith got on top of the Tigers last week to run out convincing winners at Pepper Stadium 28-14. The Panthers now host the last of their 4 home games in a row, when they welcome the Cowboys to the foot of the mountains on Saturday night. Anthony Griffin has named the same 17 that got the job done at home last week, however skipper Matt Moylan has been named in the extended squad along with Dean Whare who will push for late inclusions in the backline.  

1. Lachlan Coote 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Justin O'Neill 4. Kane Linnett 5. Javid Bowen 14. Ben Hampton 7. Michael Morgan 15. Shaun Fensom 9. Jake Granville 10. Scott Bolton 11. Coen Hess 12. Ethan Lowe 13. Jason Taumalolo 8. John Asiata 16. Corey Jensen 17. Sam Hoare 20. Patrick Mago

In - Ben Hampton, Javid Bowen

Out - Gavin Cooper, Antonio Winterstein

Analysis - The Cowboys were totally outclassed by a Billy Slater masterclass in Townsville last week and now are under pressure to hold their position in the 8 if they cannot bounce back against fellow finals contenders the Panthers this week. North Queensland have had further injuries, with second rower Gavin Cooper and winger Antonio Winterstein out. This sees Queensland backrower Coen Hess start and Ben Hampton come onto the interchange. Javid Bowen will return to the wing for his 9###sup

game of the season.    ###>

Weather Watch - Fine  


1. Roger Tuivasa-sheck 2. David Fusitua 3. Blake Ayshford 4. Solomone Kata 5. Ken Maumalo 21. Mafoa'aeata Hingano 7. Mason Lino 8. Jacob Lillyman 9. Nathaniel Roache 15. Sam Lisone 11. Bunty Afoa 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Simon Mannering 14. Issac Luke 10. Ben Matulino 16. Isaiah Papalii 20. Chris Satae

In - Ryan Hoffman

Out - Jazz Tevaga

Analysis - The Warriors were again plain awful, slipping to their fifth loss in a row and shades of 2015 where the Auckland based side lost their final eight games of the season when Shaun Johnson was ruled out for the season. New Zealand go in outsiders against a resurgent Canberra side, who are now an outside chance of playing finals. Stephen Kearney has shaken things up a little this week, with Nathaniel Roache starting at hooker with Issac Luke benched and in some welcome news veteran backrower Ryan Hoffman returns in the second row with Jazz Tevaga dropping back to the reserves.

1. Jack Wighton 2. Nick Cotric 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Joseph Leilua 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Blake Austin 7. Aidan Sezer 8. Junior Paulo 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Shannon Boyd 11. Josh Papalii 12. Joseph Tapine 13. Elliot Whitehead 14. Kurt Baptiste 15. Clay Priest 16. Dave Taylor 17. Luke Bateman

In - Nil

Out - Nil

Analysis - Canberra have sprung back to life, after they defeated the defending premiers at Shark Park in a massive win for the Green Machine. It will count for nothing though now if they cannot get the valuable two points on offer across the Tasman. The Raiders have made no changes and are a mathematical chance to snare eighth spot if they can get on a run of wins to finish the season. If the Raiders can get the job done here, they face the Knights, Panthers and Storm to finish the year, needing to win all of these games to sneak in.    

Weather Watch - Showers   


1. James Tedesco 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Esan Marsters 4. Kevin Naiqama 5. Malakai Watene-Zelezniak 6. Tuimoala Lolohea 7. Luke Brooks 8. Aaron Woods 9. Matt McIlwrick 10. Tim Grant 16. Michael Chee-Kam 12. Elijah Taylor 13. Matthew Eisenhuth 14. Alex Twal 15. Sauaso Sue 17. Jack Littlejohn 18. Josh Aloiai

In - Nil

Out - Nil

Analysis - The Tigers crashed back to earth when they went down to the Panthers last Sunday and after the Knights have won 2 games in a row, they are under renewed pressure to avoid the wooden spoon. The good news for Wests is that they return to their spiritual home in Leichardt Oval this week, however they face a resurgent Manly who awoke from a slump, thrashing the second placed Roosters. The Tigers have made no changes to their squad for Sunday.  

1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Matthew Wright 3. Dylan Walker 4. Brad Parker 5. Akuila Uate 6. Blake Green 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Brenton Lawrence 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Martin Taupau 11. Frank Winterstein 12. Shaun Lane 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Lewis Brown 15. Lloyd Perrett 16. Darcy Lussick 17. Addin Fonua-blake

In - Addin Fonua-Blake

Out - Kelepi Tanginoa

Analysis - The Sea Eagles bounced back with an exclamation point last Sunday and are now back in Top 4 contention, with sensational performances from their main attacking weapons in Tom Trbojevic and Daly Cherry-Evans. Manly have made just the one change, with Addin Fonua-Blake returning from suspension with Kelepi Tanginoa dropping out. Centre Brian Kelly was rested last week and may be a late replacement for Brad Parker.      

Weather Watch - Cloudy