Sports writer, JASON OLIVER, previews this weekend’s Rugby League action with his NRL tips for all Round 10 matches. He likes the underdogs this week in a tough round to pick.

Melbourne Storm v Wests Tigers @ AAMI Park
Thursday 16th May, 7:50pm

Ryan Papenhuyzen1Moses Mbye
Suliasi Vunivalu2Mahe Fonua
Will Chambers3Robert Jennings
Marion Seve4Esan Marsters
Josh Addo-Carr5Corey Thompson
Cameron Munster6Benji Marshall
Brodie Croft7Luke Brooks
Jesse Bromwich8Ben Matulino
Cameron Smith9Robbie Farah
Nelson Asofa-Solomona10Alex Twal
Felise Kaufusi11Ryan Matterson
Kenneath Bromwich12Chris McQueen
Dale Finucane13Matthew Eisenhuth
Brandon Smith14Jacob Liddle
Christian Welch15Thomas Mikaele
Tui Kamikamica16Josh Aloiai
Patrick Kaufusi17Michael Chee-Kam

Played 32, Storm 19, Tigers 12

Last Meeting: Round 5, 2018: Tigers 11 def. Storm 10

Final Thoughts: The Storm are coming off a monster win over the Eels and it spells huge trouble for the Tigers. Wests form line is as consistently inconsistent as any team in the NRL. One week they look like a competent football side. The next, they’re being hammered by an average one. Their scramble defence isn’t what it was in 2018 so it’s difficult to get too excited about their two wins over the Storm by a combined three points last season. This is a different Tigers team. Meanwhile, the Storm are in hot form and finally look like the premiership contenders many slated them to be. Stronger through the middle, dangerous on the outside, and riding a 54-point win into this one at home, the Storm look good to go big.

Tip: Handicap – Storm -12.5 @ $1.90

Penrith Panthers v New Zealand Warriors @ Penrith Stadium
Friday 27th May, 6:00pm

Dylan Edwards1Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
Brian Too2David Fusitu’a
Dean Whare3Peta Hiku
Waqa Blake4Patrick Herbert
Dallin Watene-Zelezniak5Ken Maumalo
James Maloney6Kodi Nikorima
Nathan Cleary7Blake Green
James Tamou8Agnatius Paasi
Sione Katoa9Nathaniel Roache
Tim Grant10Leeson Ah Mau
Viliame Kikau11Isaiah Papali’i
James Fisher-Harris12Tohu Harris
Liam Martin13Lachlan Burr
Jarome Luai14Jazz Tevaga
Tyrell Fuimaono15Bunty Afoa
Moses Leota16Ligi Sao
Kaide Ellis17Karl Lawton

Played 44, Panthers 24, Warriors 17

Last Meeting: Qualifying Final, 2018: Panthers 27 def. Warriors 12

Final Thoughts: The Panthers can’t be this bad all season, can they? We’ve been waiting for them to snap into action but it isn’t happening. Players are reported to be leaving, Josh Mansour and Reagan Campbell-Gillard have been dropped, and this is Penrith’s last chance to keep their Top 8 hopes alive. They’re a shambles. The Warriors have had their dysfunctional moments in 2019 too. However, unlike the Panthers, the Warriors have shown some promise in a handful of performances.

On paper, the Panthers might have a slight edge. On form, it’s the Warriors that look the better side. We’ve got two unpredictable teams going head-to-head here. It’s a lottery. If getting something down is a must, the Warriors are easier to trust in this spot. The Panthers have been awful and are already the NRL’s worst team against the spread.

Tip: Handicap – Warriors +2.5 @ $1.87

Brisbane Broncos v Sydney Roosters @ Suncorp Stadium
Friday 17th May, 7:55pm

Darius Boyd1James Tedesco
Corey Oates2Daniel Tupou
Kotoni Staggs3Latrell Mitchell
Gehamat Shibasaki4Joseph Manu
Jamayne Isaako5Matt Ikuvalu
Anthony Milford6Luke Keary
Tom Dearden7Cooper Cronk
Matthew Lodge8Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
Jake Turpin9Victor Radley
Payne Haas10Siosiua Taukeiaho
Alex Glenn11Mitchell Aubusson
Matt Gillett12Angus Crichton
Thomas Flegler13Isaac Liu
Patrick Carrigan14Nat Butcher
David Fifita15Zane Tetevano
Tevita Pangai Junior16Lindsay Collins
Joe Ofahengaue17Sitili Tupouniua

Played 51, Broncos 30, Roosters 20

Last Meeting: Round 4, 2019: Roosters 36 def. Broncos 4

Final Thoughts: This one all depends on the Broncos. If the version that is strong through the middle and effective out wide turns up, we’ve got a game on our hands. However, the directionless and leaderless version of this side we’ve seen too many times to start 2019 will be run off the park by halftime. The Roosters are the benchmark of the NRL. They’ve won eight on the bounce and barely looked like losing along the way.

While the Chooks pack is one of the best in the competition, the young Broncos middles can match them if they’re up for it. Payne Hass, Joe Ofahengaue and Matt Lodge were all brilliant last week. The trio can absolutely bend the line and beat the Roosters in the centre-third. The question marks are out wide. No team is more dangerous on the edges than the Roosters. Meanwhile, the Broncos have been swapping players in and out and still have James Roberts out of the side.

Coming off a decent win last year and playing for their finals hopes already, expect an up for it Broncos side in this one. The Roosters backline might have too much in them, though.

Tip: Handicap – Broncos +6.5 @ $1.85

Gold Coast Titans v Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs @ Cbus Super Stadium
Saturday 18th May, 3:00pm

Alexander Brimson1Nick Meaney
Anthony Don2Jayden Okunbor
Tyrone Peachey3Marcelo Montoya
Brian Kelly4Will Hopoate
Dale Copley5Reimis Smith
Tyrone Roberts6Kieran Foran
Ashley Taylor7Jack Cogger
Jarrod Wallace8Aiden Tolman
Mitch Rein9Jeremy Marshall-King
Moeaki Fotuaika10Dylan Napa
Kevin Proctor11Josh Jackson
Bryce Cartwright12Corey Harawira-Naera
Jai Arrow13Danny Fualalo
Jesse Arthars14Rhyse Martin
Shannon Boyd15Ofahiki Ogden
Jack Stockwell16Chris Smith
Max King17Sauaso Sue

Played 17, Titans 8, Bulldogs 8

Last Meeting: Round 15, 2018: Titans 32 def. Bulldogs 10

Final Thoughts: Neither of these teams are expected to challenge for the NRL’s Top 8. That makes this game particularly important. Teams generally need six wins to avoid this wooden spoon and this is one of the best opportunities the Titans and Bulldogs will have to pick a W up this season.

The Titans enter as worthy favourites. They have the better list, and Garth Brennan has finally named the Gold Coast’s best-attacking spine with AJ Brimson at fullback. As a result, we should see an improvement on the 15.3 points per game the Titans have scored over the last three weeks.

It won’t take many more to account for the Bulldogs. Dean Pay’s men average a poultry 12.7 points per game, and the turnover in players won’t help the cohesion of the side this week. The Dogs will try hard – they always do. However, the Titans should have too much in attack and take the chocolates at home.

Tip: Halftime/Fulltime – Titans/Titans @ $2.25

North Queensland Cowboys v Parramatta Eels @ 1300SMILES Stadium
Saturday 18th May, 5:30pm

Jordan Kahu1Clinton Gutherson
Kyle Feldt2George Jennings
Justin O’Neill3Josh Hoffman
Tom Opacic4Brad Takairangi
Ben Hampton5Blake Ferguson
John Asiata6Will Smith
Michael Morgan7Mitchell Moses
Matthew Scott8Daniel Alvaro
Jake Granville9Reed Mahoney
Jordan McLean10Junior Paulo
Gavin Cooper11Shaun Lane
Coen Hess12Marata Niukore
Jason Taumalolo13Manu Ma’u
Kurt Baptiste14Peni Terepo
Mitchell Dunn15Tim Mannah
Scott Bolton16Tepai Moeroa
Francis Molo17Oregon Kaufusi

Played 41, Cowboys 19, Eels 20

Last Meeting: Round 24, 2018: Cowboys 44 def. Eels 6

Final Thoughts: These two teams are terribly difficult to pick at the moment. The Cowboys show the odd glimpse of a decent footy side whenever Jason Taumalolo dominates through the middle. Meanwhile, the Eels look good one week and absolutely horrendous the next. Tipping which two teams turn up this week is anybody’s guess. Playing in Townsville is enough for the Cowboys to be somewhat significant favourites in the H2H market.

The Eels have won just two of their last 13 games at 1300SMILES Stadium. That record doesn’t bode well alongside their inconsistent performances so far this season. Parramatta have looked the better side in 2019, but they’re dealing with a few injury and form issues in the backline. That evens things up against this horrible North Queensland outside backs list. It’s more than likely going to take a strong individual performance to decide this one. Therefore, we’re siding with the two best players on the field: Jason Taumalolo and Michael Morgan.

Tip: Head-to-head – Cowboys to win @ $1.70

Canberra Raiders v South Sydney Rabbitohs @ GIO Stadium
Saturday 18th May, 7:35pm

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad1Corey Allan
Bailey Simonsson2Mawene Hiroti
Jarrod Croker3Kyle Turner
Nick Cotric4Dane Gagai
Michael Oldfield5Campbell Graham
Jack Wighton6Cody Walker
Sam Williams7Adam Reynolds
Josh Papalii8George Burgess
Josh Hodgson9Damien Cook
Dunamis Lui10Thomas Burgess
Hudson Young11John Sutton
Elliott Whitehead12Sam Burgess
Ryan Sutton13Cameron Murray
Siliva Havili14Tevita Tatola
Sebastian Kris15Mark Nicholls
Iosia Soliola16Ethan Lowe
Corey Horsburgh17Liam Knight

Played 56, Raiders 32, Rabbitohs 23

Last Meeting: Round 24, 2018: Raiders 24 def. Rabbitohs 12

Final Thoughts: The Raiders are nursing a few injuries to key players, but hosting the Rabbitohs in Canberra evens this game up a little. They have a strong record historically when hosting Souths. While they didn’t get the two competition points, the Raiders showed they deserve to be mentioned amongst the best teams in the NRL in the 30-24 loss to the Roosters last week. Ricky Stuart has this team playing good footy on both sides of the ball. The Raiders can always attack, but it’s their improved defence that has seen them rise up the ladder.

They’ll need to display those new traits this week. The Rabbitohs are second in the NRL for scoring with 26 points per game. Cody Walker has been on a tear while Damien Cook has found different ways to dominate games. The forward pack is strong, and the halves have been able to manufacture points on the back of it.

Like last week, it’s the lack of John Bateman and Joey Leilua that hangs question marks over the Raiders. Meanwhile, the Rabbitohs were forced into their first lineup change in over a month this week. That continuity should see the results remain the same.

Tip: Handicap – Rabbitohs -2.5 @ $1.90

St George Illawarra Dragons v Newcastle Knights @ Glen Willow Oval
Sunday 19th May, 2:00pm

Matthew Dufty1Kalyn Ponga
Jordan Pereira2Edrick Lee
Zac Lomax3Hymel Hunt
Timoteo Lafai4Jesse Ramien
Mikaele Ravalawa5Shaun Kenny-Dowall
Jai Field6Connor Watson
Ben Hunt7Mitchell Pearce
James Graham8David Klemmer
Cameron McInnes9Danny Levi
Paul Vaughan10Daniel Saifiti
Tyson Frizell11Lachlan Fitzgibbon
Tariq Sims12Mitch Barnett
Blake Lawrie13Tim Glasby
Jeremy Latimore14Kurt Mann
Euan Aitken15Herman Ese’ese
Jacob Host16James Gavet
Luciano Leilua17Sione Mata’utia

Played 39, Dragons 27, Knights 11

Last Meeting: Round 4, 2019: Dragons 13 def. Knights 12

Final Thoughts: The Dragons lacked a game-manager last week, and it cost them in the second half. They fell to pieces and allowed the Warriors to run all over them. Paul McGregor made some terrible coaching decisions. History suggests he won’t learn from them and make similar ones again this week. If they play to their potential, the Dragons pack gets up the field with relative ease before their State of Origin half creates points through a dangerous backline. It’s reaching that potential without Corey Norman, in particular, that is proving the issue.

Meanwhile, the Knights are slowly starting to play decent footy. Mitchell Pearce has found form, and with it, the Knights are scoring points. They’ve managed 28.3 points per game over the last three weeks while keeping their opponents to just 14 points per game. The form line is somewhat misleading, though. Those three wins have come against decidedly average opposition.

It’s another tough one, but the Dragons’ experience in the pack should get them over the line. Anticipating an arm-wrestle, Paul Vaughan, Tariq Sims and Tyson Frizell will have plenty of say in this result.

Tip: Handicap – Dragons -2.5 @ $1.90

Cronulla Sharks v Manly Warringah Sea Eagles @ PointsBet Stadium
Sunday 19th May, 4:05pm

SharksSea Eagles
Josh Dugan1Brendan Elliot
Sosaia Feki2Jorge Taufua
Bronson Xerri3Dylan Walker
Josh Morris4Brad Parker
Aaron Gray5Reuben Garrick
Kyle Flanagan6Lachlan Croker
Chad Townsend7Kane Elgey
Andrew Fifita8Addin Fonua-Blake
Jayden Brailey9Apisai Koroisau
Matt Prior10Martin Taupau
Briton Nikora11Joel Thompson
Kurt Capewell12Curtis Sironen
Paul Gallen13Jake Trbojevic
Blayke Brailey14Manase Fainu
Jayson Bukuya15Jack Gosiewski
Jack Williams16Corey Waddell
Braden Hamlin-Uele17Morgan Boyle

Played 101, Sharks 26, Sea Eagles 71

Last Meeting: Round 21, 2018: Sea Eagles 33 def. Sharks 32

Final Thoughts: Round 10 closes with a battle between two injury-depleted teams. Both have injuries to players in key positions and are just treading water until they’re healthy. The Sea Eagles receive a boost with Dylan Walker returning. Although, he could be just as much of a distraction than anything else.

The Sharks have an abysmal record against the Sea Eagles. However, despite losing 15 of their last 17 games between the two clubs, the Sharks come in as significant favourites. It’s somewhat unexpected given how well Manly has competed in recent weeks along with Cronulla barely scraping past the Gold Coast last week.

Andrew Fifita has been named, but waiting for confirmation before getting anything down is key. Without him, the Sharks will struggle to contain Marty Taupau and Addin Fonua-Blake.

Tip: Handicap – Sea Eagles +4.5 @ $1.90