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NRL round 12 preview panel

Preview of NRL Round 12 matches (all times AEST):
NRL round 12 preview panel
by AAP

By James MacSmith

SYDNEY, May 30 AAP - Preview of NRL Round 12 matches (all times AEST):

FRIDAY, May 31

Canterbury v St George-Illawarra Dragons at ANZ Stadium 7.45pm

Head to Head: Bulldogs 14 Dragons 10

Last clash: Round 15 2012 - Bulldogs 28 bt Dragons 20 at WIN Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Bulldogs $1.35 Dragons $3.25

FootyTAB: Dragons +8.5

The Dogs have won four of their past five and are beginning to emulate their form of 2012, while the Dragons continue to remain consistently inconsistent. Brett Morris described Saints' last-start 19-0 loss to Penrith as "embarrassing" but the Blues winger, nor NSW teammate Trent Merrin, won't be there to put that right. But Canterbury do have a hole in their side without NSW duo Josh Morris and Josh Reynolds. The Dogs may struggle for playmaking and kicking options without Reynolds but Ben Barba is returning to his best and could pick up the slack there. Hard to see how the Dragons can score enough points to win this one.

Key: Josh Dugan. Knows if things had have been different he could have been playing Origin and will be keen to make amends.

Tip: Bulldogs


South Sydney Rabbitohs v Newcastle Knights at ANZ Stadium 7.30pm

Head to Head: Souths 9 Knights 25

Last clash: Round 26 2012 - Souths 18 bt Knights 6 at Hunter Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Souths $1.43 Knights $2.90

FootyTAB: Knights +6.5

Competition leaders Souths lose Greg Inglis, Ben Te'o and Chris McQueen to Origin and Sam Burgess to suspension. This will be a good test of their depth. Newcastle fell to the Warriors last week and coach Wayne Bennett's jokes about not knowing which side get off the bus each week are no longer just that. The Knights hold top four aspirations and a win here will give those a huge boost. The Rabbitohs will be keen to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time this year and Newcastle lack the gamebreakers in the Souths side. Knight Jeremy Smith returns from suspension to bolster their pack.

Key: John Sutton. Blues coach Laurie Daley produced an uncomfortable situation with his inability to choose between Sutton and Josh Reynolds. How will Sutton respond to his omission?

Tip: Souths

SUNDAY, June 2

Gold Coast Titans v North Queensland Cowboys at Skilled Park 3.00pm

Head to Head: Titans 6 Cowboys 5

Last clash: Round 13 2012 - Titans 28 bt Cowboys 12 at Skilled Park

Tab Sportsbet: Titans $1.33 Cowboys $3.40

FootyTAB: Cowboys +9.5

The sorely out-of-form Cowboys have been decimated by Origin commitments and injuries but desperately need a win. Gold Coast were impressive in the club's biggest ever win over Parramatta last week but they are not the first side to belt the Eels this season. The Titans are a hard side to get a form gauge on and they are missing the core of their team in Greg Bird, Ashley Harrison and Nate Myles to Origin. Even without that trio the team has a solid look to it and this is a chance for Queensland Origin outcast David Taylor to step-up. The Titans could be vulnerable up the middle but the Cowboys don't look to have the players to take advantage.

Key: At last Jamal Idris is putting together the type of form that had Andrew Johns tipping him as a Blues regular. A damaging runner out wide with a great offload.

Tip: Titans

MONDAY, June 3

Brisbane Broncos v Warriors at Suncorp Stadium 7.00pm

Head to Head: Broncos 19 Warriors 12

Last clash: Round 19 2012 - Broncos 10 bt Warriors 8 at Suncorp Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Broncos $1.95 Warriors $1.87

FootyTAB: Broncos +2.5

Incredibly the Warriors start favourites in this game and that will likely be the only time they do so away from home this year. Brisbane traditionally take a dip during the Origin period but coach Anthony Griffin is confident they have the depth to deal with it better than before. The Warriors bounced back impressively last week after their heaviest ever loss to Penrith but their test now is to build on that win. Scott Prince returns from injury for the Broncos and he will need to lead. Josh McGuire has added motivation after missing a Maroons spot. A golden chance for a vital Warriors away win with four Broncos lost to Origin but their form on the road is poor.

Key: Shaun Johnson. In the absence of the Broncos' Origin stars Johnson looms as the gamebreaker especially if the big Warriors pack dominates up front.

Tip: Broncos

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