George Burgess of the Rabbitohs is tackled during a match between the Sydney Roosters and the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
George Burgess of the Rabbitohs is tackled during a match between the Sydney Roosters and the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Cameron Spencer / Getty Images

Broncos beware: Bunnies are out for blood in round 8 battle


Broncos V Rabbitohs

History: Played 27, Broncos 21, Rabbitohs 5, drawn 1

Last met: Broncos 26-12, round 16, 2012

If the form of last weekend is taken as a yardstick, the Rabbitohs will wipe the floor with the Broncos tonight.

But a week is a long time in footy, and after scoring three tries in the opening 14 minutes against the Tigers, the Broncos could be forgiven for turning their minds to this absolute blockbuster.

Everything points to a Rabbitohs win - their size, their speed, their structure and their form.

But, as John Singleton knows, favourites don't always win.


Bulldogs V Tigers

History: Played 24, Bulldogs 15, Tigers 9

Last met: Bulldogs 23-22, round 24, 2012

Although they were deemed lucky to win last weekend, at least the 'Dogs can see a light from their kennel door.

And they can't get any luckier than fronting the injury-stricken Tigers who have nine top liners sidelined.

Props James Graham and Sam Kasiano are back for this, and Trent Hodkinson is making the most of his return at halfback.

For one of the rare occasions in their horrid season to date, the 'Dogs are certainties.



Storm V Raiders

History: Played 31, Storm 23, Raiders 8

Last met: Raiders 40-12, round 18, 2012

Admittedly Billy Slater and Cameron Smith did not play, but the thumping handed to the Storm by the Raiders in Melbourne in round 18 last year makes this a danger match for the premiers.

Hunting down 16 NRL wins in succession, pressure on the Storm mounts each week and an ambush is on the cards.

But even though boosted by skipper Terry Campese starting at five-eighth, Shillington and Croker are big losses for the Raiders. Storm in a close one.


Eels V Cowboys

History: Played 28, Eels 16, Cowboys 11, drawn 1

Last met: Cowboys 42-6 round 3, 2012

Last time the Eels were belted, they returned with character the following week and scored a solid win over the Sharks.

But their performance on Monday night was arguably more inept than that 50-nil debacle against the Roosters, and the loss of Tim Mannah is immense.

With tackling machine Dallas Johnson back, Tariq Sims at long last showing some form and Johnathan Thurston in fine fettle, the Cowboys will hit Parramatta with all guns blazing.



Warriors V Titans

History: Played 12, Warriors 6, Titans 6

Last met: Warriors 32-14, round 18, 2012

Beaten on Anzac Day they may have been, but the Warriors produced their best away form of the season against the Storm.

That will give them a huge injection of confidence, especially at home with skipper Simon Mannering back on deck.

The forward battle will be the decider and that's where the Warriors appear to have an edge over the luckless Titans.

Add a predicted 18 degrees and rain, and it won't be a particularly inviting day for the Gold Coasters.


Knights V Sharks

History: Played 40, Knights 24, Sharks 15, drawn 1

Last met: Knights 26-4, round 23, 2012

Things just go from bad to worse for the Sharks and losing to the 'Dogs in the manner they did last week - making poor decisions with the ball - was symptomatic of a team with its mind somewhere else.

And to make matters even more difficult for them, the Knights were tremendous against the Titans.

At home in this, where their record is watertight, the Knights look even stronger with Kurt Gidley at hooker and Tyrone Roberts at halfback.


Roosters V Panthers

History: Played 79, Sydney Roosters 48, Penrith 30, drawn 1

Last met: Panthers 28-16, round 20, 2012

Despite the below-strength Panthers stunning most with their avalanche of points against the Eels on Monday night, this is a different challenge altogether.

The Roosters, in superb form and with a brutal forward pack, could well ride roughshod over the Panthers who have added Kiwi Test prop Sam McKendry to their long injured list.

A reversal of Monday night's score is the likely outcome for Penrith.



Dragons V Sea Eagles

History: Played 20, Dragons 14, Sea Eagles 6

Last met: Sea Eagles 20-8, round 13, 2012

Compounding their loss to the Rabbitohs last weekend, injury and suspension has hit the Sea Eagles and for the first time this season they appear vulnerable.

Conversely, the Dragons have been buoyed by the re-signing of their coach and the acquisition of players, albeit some for next season.

Kogarah is a fortress for the Dragons and although the Sea Eagles will start favourites, an upset is on the cards.

Jamie Soward needs another big game.