There are three bumper NRL games to look forward to on Saturday with three of the top six, Cronulla Sharks, Penrith Panthers and Parramatta Eels all in action.
Parramatta have been licking their wounds all week after suffering a humiliating defeat against the struggling Bulldogs and they need a response when they take on the Sydney Roosters.
The Panthers marched on with a comfortable win over the Knights and will look to consolidate their place at the top of the ladder, while the Sharks are going well and will be out to inflict more pain on the struggling Titans in the early kick-off.
Cronulla search for consistency against struggling Titans
What: Cronulla Sharks v Gold Coast Titans
Where: Coffs International Stadium, Coffs Harbour
When: 15:00 (AEST) Saturday 18th June, 2022
Odds: Cronulla 2/13, Gold Coast 9/2
Cronulla have made great progress under the leadership of new coach Craig Fitzgibbon who has taken them to fifth on the NRL ladder and well in the mix for a top-four spot.
One thing the Sharks have lacked however is consistency. They have continued to win one, lose one over the last eight games and will see this as a great opportunity to string together back-to-back wins following last week’s success over the Warriors.
The Sharks have been boosted by the news skipper Dale Finucane is closing in on a return to fitness. He remains out of the 17 but could still be a late inclusion.
The Titans are having a season to forget. After making finals in 2021 they were expected to kick on this season, but have gone in the opposite direction.
Justin Holbrook’s men have lost nine out of the last 10 games to sit rock bottom of the ladder.
The two sides clashed in round 11 and it was actually a close affair before the Sharks ran out 25-18 victors, so the Gold Coast can take some heart from that performance.
Gold Coast are boosted by the return of AJ Brimson from sickness and he will slot straight back in at full-back, allowing Jamayne Isaako to revert to the wing.
Skipper Yeo returns for Panthers
What: New Zealand Warriors v Penrith Panthers
Where: Moreton Daily Stadium, Redcliffe
When: 17:30 (AEST) Saturday 18th June, 2022
Odds: Warriors 12/1, Panthers 1/40
Penrith showed that even State of Origin cannot slow them down as they chase back-to-back premierships this season.
Just days after a brutal clash against Queensland in game one, Penrith’s New South Wales stars backed-up and played in the 42-6 win over the Newcastle Knights in the Hunter.
Isaah Yeo was the only Orgin player to sit out the game but he returns on Saturday which will give the Warriors even more of a headache.
The Panthers are relentless and have lost just the one game out of 14 this season.
The Warriors are having a tough season which resulted in coach Nathan Brown leaving the club. So interim coach Stacey Jones will again be in charge for the Panthers clash.
They have won just the four games this season and will need to show plenty of heart and spirit to get anywhere near the Panthers.
New Zealand have not been helped by a crippling injury list. Ben Murdoch-Masila is the latest to be ruled out with a dislocated elbow. Euan Aitken also misses out through concussion.
Parramatta need a response after Bulldogs defeat
What: Parramatta Eels v Sydney Roosters
Where: CommBank Stadium, Sydney
When: 19:35 (AEST) Saturday 18th June, 2022
Odds: Eels 17/25, Roosters 6/5
Parramatta were embarrassed on Monday as they slipped to a 34-4 defeat against a Bulldogs side that have been struggling near the foot of the ladder.
It raised huge question marks over the spirit in the Eels side with captain Mitch Moses admitting after the game that the performance was unacceptable.
All eyes will now be on them to see how they respond against the Roosters.
Coach Brad Arthur is certainly keeping the faith. He has named the same 17 allowing them the chance to make amends.
The Roosters are also in need of a win after losing three out of the last four games to see them slip to ninth spot on the ladder.
There were positives to take from last week’s narrow loss to the Melbourne Storm. However they did lose Luke Keary to concussion in that game and he has been ruled out of Saturday’s clash with the Eels.
There is some good news though as hooker Sam Verrills returns from a collarbone injury.