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NRL Round 15 preview panel

Preview of League Round 15 matches (all times AEST):
NRL Round 15 preview panel
by AAP

By David Barbeler

CANBERRA, June 19 AAP - Preview of League Round 15 matches (all times AEST):

FRIDAY, June 20

Canberra v Canterbury at Canberra Stadium 7.45pm

Head to Head: Raiders 26 Bulldogs 34

Last clash: Round 23 2013 - Bulldogs 28 bt Raiders 16 at Canberra Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Raiders $2.45 Bulldogs $1.55

FootyTAB: Raiders +4.5

The Origin series hasn't been kind to the Bulldogs, who have struggled to find consistency and lost their last three. The Raiders aren't tracking any better though with just one win from their last six. While the Green Machine won't have any tired players backing up from Origin, they've lost two key forwards in Josh Papalii (ankle) and Paul Vaughan (suspension). The Raiders are expecting Josh Reynolds and Trent Hodkinson to play out of their skins after their recent success on rugby league's biggest stage - expect them to give the duo a little extra attention.

Key: Any lingering doubt the Bulldogs had the NRL's in-form halves combination was put to bed when Hodkinson crossed for the series winner against the Maroons.

Tip: Bulldogs

SATURDAY, June 21

Warriors v Brisbane at Mt Smart Stadium 5.30pm

Head to Head: Warriors 14 Broncos 19

Last clash: Round 16 2013 - Warriors 18 bt Broncos 16 at Mt Smart Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Warriors $1.53 Broncos $2.50

FootyTAB: Broncos +4.5

Despite Origin traditionally being a time of year that has troubled the Broncos, the boys form Brisbane are flying high with four on the trot and sitting fifth. While the Warriors are down in 11th spot, they're not too far off the pace and are just four points behind Brisbane. The Broncos have named just Ben Hunt from the Maroons squad, with Matt Gillett, Justin Hodges and Sam Thaiday all uncertain, while Corey Parker is out with a facial fracture. The Warriors meanwhile have lost forward Ben Matulino to a knee injury.

Key: Ben Hunt has been in superb form, lending in a hand in several tries during Brisbane's last start 28-4 win over the Raiders.

Tip: Warriors

Cronulla v Manly at Remondis Stadium 7.30pm

Head to Head: Sharks 23 Sea Eagles 58 drawn 2

Last clash: Round 6 2014 - Sea Eagles 24 bt Sharks 4 at Brookvale Oval

Tab Sportsbet: Sharks $3.75 Sea Eagles $1.28

FootyTAB: Sharks +10.5

Second-last hosts second place in a match where the majority of both squads will be well rested after a bye. Manly will be sweating over the fitness of their Origin stars, however, yet Geoff Toovey at this stage has listed both Daly Cherry-Evans and Anthony Watmough to play. The Sharks enter this match on the back of four straight losses, but will be buoyed by the returns of Todd Carney, Luke Lewis, Paul Gallen, Jeff Robson, Anthony Tupou and a swag of others.

Key: Brett Stewart scored two second half tries from Kieran Foran kicks in their last start win over the Bulldogs - expect more of the same from the Manly spine.

Tip: Sea Eagles

SUNDAY, June 22

Melbourne v Parramatta at AAMI Park 2pm

Head to Head: Storm 16 Eels 11

Last clash: Round 24 2013 - Storm 64 bt Eels 4 at AAMI Park

Tab Sportsbet: Storm $1.70 Eels $2.15

FootyTAB: Eels +2.5

The Eels are sitting just one game clear of the under performing Storm, squeezing themselves inside the top eight. Both sides did well to get up last week without their Origin stars, and the Eels will boosted by the return of Jarryd Hayne, while Billy Slater, Cameron Smith and Ryan Hoffman are named to return for the Storm. The Eels might be coming into this game with back-to-back wins under their belt, but they'll be wary of the fact they've been belted the last two times they visited Melbourne.

Key: The Eels have won just five of their last 30 games without star fullback Hayne and will desperately need him to outdo his opposite Billy Slater.

Tip: Eels

Gold Coast v St George Illawarra at Cbus Super Stadium 3pm

Head to Head: Titans 4 Dragons 8

Last clash: Round 9 2013 - Titans 15 bt Dragons 14 at Cbus Super Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Titans $1.65 Dragons $2.25

FootyTAB: Dragons +4.5

Both sides' recent track record is a sight for sore eyes. Former competition leaders Gold Coast have lost five straight, while the Dragons have won one match in their last six. The Titans will welcome back Greg Bird, Nate Myles and Dave Taylor from Origin duties, and the trio will need to lift if they want to prevent the Titans' season from going down the gurgler. NSW Blues Josh Dugan and Trent Merrin meanwhile return for the Dragons.

Key: Josh Dugan's confidence will be riding high after the NSW Blues' Origin win, and he looks to be only getting better as the season progresses.

Tip: Dragons

MONDAY, June 23

Newcastle v North Queensland at Hunter Stadium 7pm

Head to Head: Knights 17 Cowboys 14

Last clash: Round 5 2014 - Cowboys 28 bt Knights 2 at 1300SMILES Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Knights $2.15 Cowboys $1.70

FootyTAB: Knights +2.5

The Cowboys will have to march through the rest of their season without trusty centre Brett Tate, who's career is now on the line after suffering another serious knee injury. Their chief playmaker Johnathan Thurston, as well as prop James Tamou, should back up from Origin though - but not Matt Scott. Meanwhile Darius Boyd and Beau Scott are named to return for the Knights. The bottom-placed Knights have now lost seven straight, but may find hope in the fact the Cowboys have been miserable on the road this year.

Key: Thurston will be scathing after the Origin series loss. He should bounce back with a big performance.

Tip: Cowboys



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