Round 6 of the NRL is headlined by a Friday night blockbuster between two perennial contenders. Here are five reasons to watch the league this weekend.
Match of the round – Storm vs Roosters
Both these clubs just know how to win with the Roosters playing finals in seven of the past eight seasons, including three premierships. The Storm have played finals 10 years straight, while also winning three premierships.
They also have a history of playing great games against each other with three of their past five encounters decided by two points or less.
Unfortunately for fans that are sick and tired of seeing these teams win, they’ve both they will be around the mark again in 2021.
There are stars all over the park for both sides so this promises to be another Friday night classic.
Teddy vs Papenhuyzen
The best matchup in the Storm and Roosters game is the mouth-watering clash between the two best fullbacks in the NRL.
James Tedesco has been the best fullback in the game for several years now, but there is an emerging threat to that title in the form of Ryan Papenhuyzen.
Papenhuyzen won the 2020 Clive Churchill Medal and has gone to another level so far in 2021. His blistering four tries in 11 minutes against the Broncos was the most electrifying performance this season and showed how lethal he can be.
Tedesco has just been his usual brilliant self this season and is a key reason why the Roosters have the best attack in the competition.
He is equal second on the try scoring list with seven, third in tackle breaks with 30 and third in run metres with 996 over five matches.
There has been a bit of talk about who NSW should pick at fullback for State of Origin but Tedesco has proven himself in the arena while Papenhuyzen would be a perfect player to come off the bench.
Both players are incredible to watch and it will be worth tuning in on Friday night just to see who gets the points in this battle.
Raiders and Eels looking to bounce back
Both sides are coming off rather heavy defeats, with the Raiders falling to the Panthers while the Eels were upset by the resurgent Dragons.
While the Raiders loss wasn’t exactly a surprise, the 20-point defeat left coach Ricky Stuart to claim his side just are ‘not good enough yet’.
They have now lost two of their last three matches and will be without fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad for an extended period. They missed him dearly when he went off against the Panthers, but it presents a great chance for Caleb Aekins to step up in his absence.
The Eels were stunned by the Dragons last week, losing 26-12 at their home ground. The scoreboard maybe didn’t reflect how even the contest was, with the Dragons able to take their chances better than the Eels.
The matchup to watch will be the battle of the big boppers, with Josh Papalii and Junior Paulo two of the best front rowers in the game.
The Eels beat the Raiders in a golden point thriller last season so let’s hope they put on a similar show this week, with maybe a different result.
Will the Dragons keep rolling?
The Dragons are without doubt the biggest surprise packed so far in 2021 and claimed their biggest scalp of the season last week when they defeated the Eels.
Dragons fans have seen their team start the season well in recent years, only to have the wheels fall off so they’ll be wary of getting too carried away. However, this team seems to be gelling well under new coach Anthony Griffin and now have a great shot at staying in the top four when they take on the struggling Warriors in Kogarah.
If they do manage to take care of the Warriors, it sets up a blockbuster ANZAC Day game against the Roosters next round.
The Broncos without Milford
Kevin Walters finally had enough of Anthony Milford’s poor form and has dropped him for Thursday night’s clash with the Panthers.
He has come under serious scrutiny in recent seasons, but it has amplified even more in 2021. Greg Alexander even recently said ‘he’s absolutely stole money from them (the Broncos) for the last four years’.
While it’s about time the Broncos moved on from the Milford era, the new pairing of Brodie Croft and Tom Dearden isn’t much to get fans excited about either.
It would take a monumental effort to get over the Panthers, but hopefully Brisbane can at least be somewhat competitive.
View the full NRL Round 6 fixture here.