Eels V Roosters
- History: Played 124, Eels 60, Roosters 59, drawn 5
- Last met: Roosters 50-nil, round 4, 2013
While the bye may have freshened the floundering Eels, two whole weeks since their last game is a long time to be dwelling on the 50-nil thrashing handed them by the Roosters in round 4.
And little has changed in the intervening 10 weeks - the Roosters sit third on the ladder and the Eels are anchored to the bottom rung.
The negative for the Roosters is having three players backing up from Origin, but they were three of the Blues best.
Knights V Dragons
- History: Played 27, Dragons 18, Knights 9
- Last met: Dragons 19-16, round 5, 2013
The dumping of chief playmaker, tactical kicker and leading pointscorer, Jamie Soward, is an indication of the hole in which the once-mighty Dragons find themselves.
They share the bottom of the table with four other teams and can expect no favours from former coach Wayne Bennett at Newcastle tomorrow afternoon, especially as it has been a decade since the Knights last beat the Dragons at home.
The Knights look certainties.
Cowboys v Bulldogs
- History: Played 30, Bulldogs 20, Cowboys 10
- Last met: Cowboys 24-12, round 1, 2013
If this is D-Day for Cowboys coach Neil Henry - as has been speculated - it should also be D-Day for many of his players.
Even accounting for the absence of their Origin players, they were poor against the Titans last weekend and their woeful season is on the line.
With Johnathan Thurston a doubtful starter and their two Origin props undoubtedly fatigued, the result in this might just consign the Cowboys' season to the cellar.
Warriors v Sea Eagles
- History: Played 23, Sea Eagles 16, Warriors 7
- Last met: Sea Eagles 24-22, round 21, 2012
If the Warriors replicate their form from Monday night, and are blessed with the same luck, not only can they beat the Sea Eagles in this but they can win the comp.
They were devastating in Brisbane, with the irrepressible Feleti Mateo at his creative best.
But if the Warriors are true to form, a reproduction of that performance is highly unlikely and the relentless Sea Eagles should make it seven successive wins over the Kiwis.
Panthers V Tigers
- History: Played 24, Panthers 14, Tigers 10
- Last met: Tigers 28-18, round 2, 2013
Someone at NRL headquarters certainly likes the Tigers - despite the fact they are stone motherless last on the premiership table, this is their fifth consecutive prime-time TV match.
And being hit further with injuries - including skipper Robbie Farah in Origin - even the euphoria of their last-round win surely must surely have now been negated.
Their equally injury-struck opponents, the Panthers, have handled their misfortune much better and should win this.
Storm v Sharks
- History: Played 25, Storm 16, Sharks 9
- Last met: Storm 20-18, round 25, 2012
Despite their bravery in a tumultuous season, the Sharks head to AAMI Park facing an uphill battle - they are without suspended skipper Paul Gallen and have a horrible record in Melbourne, having not won there since 2007.
And Storm big guns Smith, Cronk and Slater will be at the ready, filthy at yet another loss, this time in Origin.
But the fighting spirit of the Sharks should not be under-estimated and this might be closer than most think.
Raiders v Broncos
- History: Played 43, Broncos 24, Raiders 18, drawn 1
- Last met: Raiders 28-12, round 22, 2012
Even dismissing the shameful 56-18 record home loss to the Warriors as a one-off, nothing in the stats enthuses a Broncos supporter on the eve of their trip to the national capital, where they have lost five from their past six.
The Broncos have also been beaten in four of their past five Monday night games and in nine of their past 12 away matches.
They may be only two points ahead on the ladder, but the Raiders are eons ahead in form.
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