Super Saturday in Round 18 begins at WIN Stadium with the Dragons and Raiders looking to bounce back from a loss. The QLD Derby between the Titans and Broncos reignites on the Gold Coast. Then, the Roosters will look to continue their winning ways against the Ponga-less Knights.
Sat, Sep 12 3:00pm
Fittingly, the Dragons top 8 hopes were officially ended with an awful loss against the reeling Cowboys last Sunday night, which basically sums up another disappointing campaign for the Red V. Despite making fewer errors than the Cowboys, the Dragons continually bombed try-scoring opportunities with the ball and defensively gave up a few soft tries. So they simply need to regroup for a tough clash against a fired up Raiders side. In good news, Paul Vaughan is back and will be important against the Raiders pack. Meanwhile, they’ve lost Mikaele Ravalawa on the wing so Cody Ramsey will get his shot.
Canberra's 3 game winning streak ended in Round 17 as they were outclassed by the Roosters in the Grand Final re-match. A shoulder injury to Josh Papalii made things tough but also, the Raiders were just sloppy with the ball by making 15 errors. However, the Dragons don't possess the same defensive pressure as the Roosters and we expect Canberra to bounce back on Saturday afternoon. Papalii is likely to take his place in the side but could be on a minutes restriction. Sia Soliola is also expected back and might be a late in.
Outside of losses against top 8 opposition in the last 5 weeks, the Raiders have scored an average of 35 points against the Bulldogs, Titans and Broncos. So we expect them to tally a similar total against an inconsistent Dragons team.
Sat, Sep 12 5:30pm
The Gold Coast Titans are finishing off the season with confidence after two straight victories. Last week, they headed to ANZ and outlasted the Bulldogs 18-14. Moeaki Fotuaika continued his impressive season after returning from suspension with 201 run metres and the Titans were also good defensively. But they did pick up a few key injuries. Centre Brian Kelly is out with an ankle injury and Jaimin Jolliffe will likely miss the season with a similar injury.
Meanwhile, the Broncos showed some resolve against the Panthers last week in a 25-12 defeat. Many expected a thumping win for Penrith so that's something for the Broncos to take into this seemingly winnable clash. But after conceding 2108 run metres to the Panthers, the Titans forward pack will be a handful on Saturday as well. In team news, they do get Alex Glenn back from injury and that moves Te'o to the bench. Riki and Hopoate have both been suspended so Ofahengaue will replace one of them on the bench after returning from suspension.
The QLD Derby hasn't been much of a contest in the last 2 meetings with the Titans winning 30-12 in June and the Broncos smashing them last season 34-12. At the moment, you can't confidently bet on a Broncos upset even though they're surely due. So we find it hard to back against the Titans on their home turf as they look for a 3rd straight win and considering they smashed the Broncos by 18 points earlier this season.
Sat, Sep 12 7:35pm
Sydney's quest for 3 straight Grand Final appearances looks well on track as they're hitting form at the right end of the season. They outplayed the Raiders 18-6 last week, behind another great display by fullback James Tedesco (2 tries). The other positive is their injury list, which is starting to clear. Especially with Angus Crichton, Keary and Cordner returning in recent weeks. They'll also get Jake Friend back at hooker for this clash and Mitchell Aubusson could be a late change.
After a woeful 36-6 loss against the Warriors, the Knights bounced back in excellent fashion against the Sharks. In the 38-10 victory, Ponga was in everything with a hat-trick and the Knights ran riot against the Sharks leaky defence. However, Ponga got knocked around in the win and will miss this important clash as the Knights mainly look to give him some rest before finals. They'll also miss the presence of Mitchell Barnett in the forward pack and Hunt on the wing. So the talented Tex Hoy will play fullback and Edrick Lee returns on the wing.
The Roosters are well deserved favourites here and the Knights will likely struggle without the likes of Ponga. So we're keen on the Under as the Roosters have a full strength lineup and their defence will be hard to crack. Hopefully, the Knights bring their A game in defence or this will get ugly.
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