Canberra Raiders will be looking to continue their charge up the ladder when they play host to the Manly Sea Eagles on Friday night to kick off what should be a big ANZAC weekend of NRL Round 8 action.
Riding a three-match winning streak into this encounter, the Raiders have come through the other end of a tough opening month and are well-placed to vault into the top four at the end of the weekend. Canberra were far too classy for the Warriors last weekend in a 20-8 win, while the Sea Eagles suffered their second loss in succession in falling by four points to the Storm.
Brisbane Broncos square off against the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the second game on Friday at ANZ Stadium. The Rabbitohs are really struggling for form and were soundly beaten by the Bulldogs in last week’s Good Friday showdown, while the Broncos managed to scrape a tight last-minute victory over the Titans in a thrilling Queensland derby.
Super Saturday action begins at ANZ Stadium when the Parramatta Eels and Penrith Panthers collide in a Western Sydney derby. Both sides are languishing near the bottom of the ladder with just two wins from five to begin the season, making this tussle a must-win game for each.
North Queensland Cowboys and Newcastle Knights will then look to bounce back from respective Easter weekend defeats when they meet in the second game on Saturday at 1300SMILES Stadium. The Cowboys produced a spirited comeback in the second half against the Dragons without several of their best players, but they fell just short in a four-point loss, while the Knights were never really in the hunt during a 24-6 loss to the Roosters.
Reigning premiers Cronulla Sharks target a fifth victory on the bounce when they entertain the Gold Coast Titans in the final game on Saturday. Cronulla haven’t conceded a try in superb wins over the Storm and Panthers over the last fortnight, while the Titans haven’t won since Round 3.
Canterbury Bulldogs aim for a fourth consecutive win when they take on the Wests Tigers in the only game on Sunday at ANZ Stadium. The Bulldogs have surged into seventh spot on the ladder and are undefeated since their crushing loss to Manly, while the Tigers are continuing to improve under the guidance of Ivan Cleary.
Action then shifts to Tuesday for a big couple of games on ANZAC Day, with traditional clashes between the Sydney Roosters and St George Illawarra Dragons and Melbourne Storm and New Zealand Warriors.
The Dragons will be hoping to maintain their lead at the top of the ladder in what should be a thrilling top four battle with rivals the Roosters, while the Warriors are beginning to click and could cause Melbourne some problems with their unpredictably in attack.
NRL Round 8 Fixtures
Friday April 21
Canberra Raiders vs Manly Sea Eagles
South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Brisbane Broncos
Saturday April 22
Parramatta Eels vs Penrith Panthers
North Queensland Cowboys vs Newcastle Knights
Cronulla Sharks vs Gold Coast Titans
Sunday April 23
Wests Tigers vs Canterbury Bulldogs
Tuesday April 25
Sydney Roosters vs St George Illawarra Dragons
Melbourne Storm vs New Zealand Warriors