Only two teams have the bye in Round 12 of the NRL. Canberra & Newcastle get the week off while the majority of the 14 other clubs face the tough task of having their State of Origin players back up from Game 1 on Wednesday Night. ROUND 12 RESULTS HERE.
26/5 Please Note: The NRL Tweet's Tips could change this week given the uncertainty surrounding Origin players backing up - so our selections are preliminary for the time being.
<> Round 12 Schedule - Late Mail Updated Friday May 28.
Fri: St.George-Illawarra Dragons v Parramatta Eels Fri: Wests Tigers v Warriors Sat: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks v Brisbane Broncos Sat: North Queensland Cowboys v Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles Sun: Melbourne Storm v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs Sun: South Sydney Rabbitohs v Penrith Panthers Mon: Gold Coast Titans v Sydney Roosters
Tuesday's Preview: St.George-Illawarra will welcome their cavalry back from Origin after being outplayed by the Raiders but for Parramatta they were horrendous without their knight in shining armour Jarryd Hayne. This is the Dragons first game at Kogarah in 2010 and unless the rain keeps up - should be a sellout with the Eels coming to visit. If this was at Parramatta you'd give the Eels more than a sniff but when they play on the road it is hard to be confident they will turn up. Dragons at home in this one. Selection & Fantasy News 26/5 (with help from SMH's Late Mail):St.George-Illawarra get 6 Origin players back (Boyd, Morris, Cooper, Weyman, Costigan & Creagh) while Beau Scott returns from a knee injury. Making way are Kalifa FaiFai-Loa, Jake Marketo, Michael Lett and Ricky Thorby, while Nick Emmett & Dan Hunt are injured. The Eels look set to get Jarryd Hayne back but Timana Tahu is no certainty to backup with an ankle injury and Joel Reddy is also in doubt despite being named. Expect Krisnan Inu to start while Jonathan Wright might be the late call up for a vacant outside backs spot if Ben Smith isn't shifted to the centres. Nathan Hindmarsh picked up a sternum injury v Cronulla and is in doubt. 27/5 Update: Origin Injuries: Matt Cooper is out with a hip injury - Kyle Stanley will start at centre, Timana Tahu may have re-aggravated his ankle injury and is in serious doubt.
Tuesday's Preview: Breaking News: The Wests Tigers have signed Wade McKinnon for the rest of 2010 after the Warriors granted him an immediate release. McKinnon will not however play on Friday Night as per the conditions of the release. The good news with all this rain in Sydney during the week is that the Tigers should be used to it after beating Newcastle in a deluge last Friday. The bad news is the Warriors play in conditions like this regularly and the Tigers legs might be heavy. Benji Marshall got the plaudits but Robbie Farah was the driving force behind the Tigers win at Newcastle but defensively they still look ordinary. The Warriors did a good job to defeat a South Sydney side that arrived in Auckland full of confidence but the loss of prop Sam Rapira is significant. If this was in Auckland you take the Warriors... but it's at Campbelltown to Tigers it is. Selection & Fantasy News 26/5 (with help from SMH's Late Mail):Westrs Tigers have made no changes to the team that defeated Newcastle - although rookie Josh Davis is listed on an extended bench for the second week in a row. The Warriors have lost prop Sam Rapira for at least 6 weeks with a patella injury in his knee - but considering it was thought to be a torn ACL - the Warriors will gladly take the new diagnosis. Five-eighth James Maloney left the game with Souths with a back injury and is in severe doubt - look for either Joel Moon to shift straight into replace him or Lance Hohaia to move to five-eighth and Kevin Locke to play fullback. Jeremy Latimore takes Rapira's spot in the squad. Still no Steven Price for the Warriors. No players are involved in Origin 1. 27/5 Update: Micheal Luck & James Maloney have been ruled out of this one with Sione Lousi & Joel Moon to replace them.
Market Watch: CRO $2.25 v BRI $1.65 Tuesday's Preview: Cronulla won just their 3rd game in 2010 by beating Parramatta and Coach Ricky Stuart resigned... Technically Stuart will coach for the rest of the season but if he decides to resign after a win - he's going to leave the country if they lose against the Broncos. The visitors had their first bye and only have Sam Thaiday, Israel Folau & Darren Lockyer backing up from Origin 1 - plus they have a fully fit roster (outside of Justin Hodges) - so Brisbane get my tip this week... albeit on the road. Selection & Fantasy News 26/5 (with help from SMH's Late Mail):Cronulla have zero representation in Origin 1 and retain the same squad that beat the Eels at Parramatta Stadium. The Broncos have Thaiday, Folau & Lockyer to back up, while Ben Te'o is 18th man for Queensland. Brisbane also named Andrew McCullough and Nick Kenny to make their comebacks from injury off the bench, while Gerard Beale, Corey Norman & Ashton Sims are on the extended bench. 27/5 Update: All Brisbane's Origin players looked fine after the match and should play. 29/5 Update: Nick Kenny is out, Ashton Sims comes in.
Market Watch: NQL $2.25 v MAN $1.65 Tuesday's Preview:This is an intriguing game. Johnathan Thurston will have to backup for anyone to pick the Cowboys but if he does - I give North Queensland a very good chance of knocking off Manly. It's a desire thing. Manly are sitting pretty in 4th spot while the 14th placed Cowboys have to start winning games - and the best place to do that is at home. The only Cowboy not available is Steven Southern who was ruled out for the season mid-week and if the home side has any Top 8 aspirations they have to fire up and beat Manly in Townsville. At this stage you have to assume Thurston is playing - so I'm taking North Queensland in an upset. Selection & Fantasy News 26/5 (with help from SMH's Late Mail):North Queensland are almost at full strength for this clash (Steven Southern was ruled out for the season during the week) and have listed an extended bench of Anthony Watts, Leeson & Isaak Ah Mau, Carl Webb & Antonio Kaufusi. QLD reps Matt Scott, Willie Tonga & Johnathan Thurston will look to backup from Origin 1. The Sea Eagles have just three Origin players in Jamie Lyon, Matt Ballin & Anthony Watmough but Jason King has been in camp with the Blues this week. Kieran Foran will try and return from a hamstring strain but is in doubt. He was listed in the centres for the suspended Steven Matai with Chris Bailey picked at five-eighth. Expect Dean Whare to come in if Foran can't play. Terence Seu Seu will travel with Manly as cover for Ballin. 27/5 Update: Foran is still in doubt while all the Origin reps look likely to backup. 29/5 Update: Kieran Foran & Josh Perry ruled out for Manly.
Market Watch: MEL $1.55 v CBY $2.45 Tuesday's Preview:I got stung by Canterbury playing right into Penrith's hands on Monday Night with a dull game plan and I'm not giving Bulldogs Coach Kevin Moore the benefit of the doubt by picking them again v Melbourne. The Storm may or may not have all their Origin stars backing up so picking this game so far out is tough. We'll probably revisit our choice come Friday Morning but assuming everyone is backing up - Melbourne are the pick even though the Bulldogs have to start winning games given they are 3-7. Selection & Fantasy News 26/5 (with help from SMH's Late Mail):Melbourne have just four State of Origin players in Billy Slater, Greg Inglis, Cooper Cronk & Brett White but given they have zero to play for at club level they might all get the weekend off. Slater & Inglis seem the most likely to rest but Cronk & White should play. The Storm have added Ryan Tandy & Jesse Bromwich to their bench and have lost Jeff Lima to suspension. As expected Cameron Smith wasn't named after being ruled out of Origin 1 with an elbow injury. Canterbury get Michael Ennis, Jamal Idris & Brett Kimmorley back from Origin duty, while Tim Browne has been added to the bench. Rookie Jake Foster was impressive in 15 minutes on Monday and has been listed to start in the second row. David Stagg is in some doubt after copping a knock to the head v Penrith. Surprisingly Ben Hannant was not named to make his return from injury. 27/5 Update: Greg Inglis could be doubtful as he didn't look 100% on Wednesday Night for Queensland and Billy Slater could get a rest for the Storm. Expect Cooper Cronk & Brett White to play, while Jamal Idris, Brett Kimmorley & Michael Ennis simply have to backup for the Bulldogs. 28/5 Update: Greg Inglis is highly unlikely to play with a hamstring strain, Chase Stanley is his replacement. 29/5 Update: Greg Inglis is definitely out as is Brett White, while as expected Billy Slater is touch and go. Ben Hannant might be a late starter for Bulldogs - which would probably push them into favouritism - but we have to stick by our pre-Friday pick of the Storm.
Market Watch: SOU $1.91 v PEN $1.91 Tuesday's Preview:Penrith dominated the play the ball v Canterbury by getting a host of big men into every tackle and taking an eternity to get off the ball carrier. Sounds illegal? It isn't - not unless the Referees crack down on it early in a game - otherwise you'll see Penrith win a lot of games this year using the same tactic. To be honest I've got no issues with the tactic - but I don't expect the Referees to let it happen too often as we're all about 'speed speed speed' when it comes to the game. South Sydney will be disappointed they didn't win in Auckland but they were outplayed and Coach John Lang said as much. The upside is the Rabbitohs get Roy Asotasi back from injury - are at full strength and owner Russell Crowe will be watching on in the stands after his whirlwind press junket for Robin Hood. South Sydney might be too good at full strength - despite the way Penrith are playing at the moment and the fact they get Civoniceva, Lewis & Waterhouse back from Origin - the Bunnies are now my tip for this great clash at ANZ Stadium.
Selection & Fantasy News 26/5 (with help from SMH's Late Mail):South Sydney are at full strength for the first time in 2010. Roy Asotasi is named, while Michael Crocker will play just his second game of the year. Dave Taylor should back up from Origin and Jason Clark & Garret Crossman would expect to drop off the bench. The Panthers have Petero Civoniceva, Luke Lewis & Trent Waterhouse backing up from Origin, while a seven man bench features a few key contributors from the win over Canterbury - expect Wade Graham, Gavin Cooper & Frank Puletua to drop off. Although backup hooker Masada Iosefa could make way for Graham. 27/5 Update: All Penrith players looked fine post-Origin and should play, Dave Taylor barely made it on the field so he'll be lining up for sure for South Sydney. 28/5 Update: News through late Friday that Petero Civoniceva has a busted hand and is out. He will miss the game as will Shane Elford who is reported to have done his ACL.
Market Watch: GLD $1.45 v SYD $2.75 Tuesday's Preview:Both the Titans and Roosters had a bye in Round 11 and only Ashley Harrison & Nate Myles will be backing up from State of Origin Game 1. Last start the Titans got smoked by the Broncos 28-6 and the Roosters were their own worst enemy going down 34-18 to the Knights. The big IN for the Roosters is Mitchell Pearce and that means Todd Carney goes back to fullback and Phil Graham is rightfully restored to the centres ahead of the ineffective Ben Jones. It makes the Roosters look more formidible but the Titans on home turf with Scott Prince enjoying two weeks to work with his backline - all points to a healthy Gold Coast victory.
Selection & Fantasy News 26/5 (with help from SMH's Late Mail):Clinton Toopi is back at centre for the Titans after missing Round 10 with injury - he replaces Josh Graham. The rest of the Titans squad is unchanged. The Roosters get Mitchell Pearce back at halfback, Todd Carney moves to fullback and Phil Graham moves back into the centres for Ben Jones to allow Anthony Minichiello back on the wing. Mose Masoe a giant prop makes his debut on the bench. Jake Friend is the starting hooker ahead of James Aubusson. 27/5 Update: Nate Myles & Ashley Harrison were outstanding for QLD and know their teams need them to back up - and they will. 28/5 Update: Joseph Tomane is in doubt for the Titans. 29/5 Update: Tomane is out - Josh Graham comes in.