Tonight the Roosters and Bulldogs will both look to get their first wins of the NRL season at Allianz stadium, while the Broncos and Cowboys will clash in Brisbane.
Roosters vs Bulldogs
The Roosters will welcome back five-eighth Luke Keary for his first game of the season, and his first game alongside new recruit Cooper Cronk. They will be hoping that his return can help to jump-start a highly rated attack that failed to fire against Wests Tigers in round one.
New Bulldogs coach Dean Pay has dropped his experienced prop Greg Eastwood for the clash. He will be hoping that his big forwards will be more effective than they were against the Storm last week.
Expect to see the Roosters more fluent in attack this week, although their new-look spine won’t properly gel yet. They will hope to find some form soon – and if not they could be in trouble this NRL season. They should be able to get over the hapless Bulldogs, however.
The key men:
The Roosters will be hoping that James Tedesco shows us what he can do, while the Bulldogs need high-risk recruit Kieran Foran to step up in running the attack.
Broncos vs Cowboys
The Cowboys will most likely be without last year’s hero Michael Morgan as he struggles to pass a last minute injury test. While losing such a quality half would be a disaster for most teams, the Cowboys will still be able to rely on Jonathan Thurston. The best player in the NRL is a handy one to have running your attack.
The Broncos will feel a close to full strength side, and have both of their attacking halves available in Anthony Milford and Kodi Nikorima. Whether these two combined will be able to match the game management skills and boot of Thurston will go a long way to deciding the match.
The Cowboys have more strike power in the forwards than the Broncos do, and neither side features a particularly electric backline. The Broncos will need Darius Boyd to manage their defence better than he did last week, as Thurston will spot and put a runner through any weakness on the field.
The Broncos looked like a team without a clue of how to break through the St George defence last week, and until Jack Bird returns they are unlikely to score many points. Anthony Milford can be a game-breaking player, but he hasn’t shown much sign of it lately.
Despite missing their best player from last season, expect the Cowboys to win comfortably and Thurston to play a starring role.
The key men:
In the absence of Morgan, Thurston will be the man for the Cowboys to rally around. The Broncos desperately need Milford to fire and Boyd to be at the top of his game from the back.
Get ready for a cracking night of NRL action!