Paul Gallen remains under an injury cloud.
Paul Gallen remains under an injury cloud. Matt Roberts

Durko's dissections: NRL previews for Round 6

CRONULLA have named Paul Gallen and Andrew Fifita for Thursday's grudge match with Penrith but the star duo are yet to prove their fitness.

After two straight losses, the Sharks need all hands on deck with rep stars Aaron Woods (foot), Matt Moylan (hamstring) and Wade Graham (ACL) all still at least another month away from returning.

Fifita has been named but is battling a hamstring injury he picked up in last week's loss to the Roosters while Gallen is looking to make his return from rib cartilage damage that has sidelined him for the past fortnight.

Both the Sharks and Panthers have been slow out of the blocks to start 2019, sitting ninth and 11th respectively with 2-3 records.


At Pointsbet Stadium, Thursday, 7.50pm

History: Played 91, Sharks 50, Panthers 38, drawn 3. Last met: Sharks 21-20, semi-final, 2018. Ladbrokes odds: Sharks $1.70, Panthers $2.14

Already down on troops, so much now depends on the fitness of Sharks big guns Paul Gallen and Andrew Fifita, who have been named to play. If not, the Panthers, despite their stuttering start to the season, could cause a boilover at a ground where they have won 28 times in 45 visits. Both sides need their halves to fire and following their hiding last week the Sharks will expect much more from million-dollar man Shaun Johnson. The Sharks have won seven of the past eight clashes against the Panthers, but this looks a genuine coin-tosser. TIP - Sharks

Dejected Bulldogs during the Round 5 NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Canterbury Bulldogs at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium in Sydney, Sunday, April 14, 2019. (AAP Image/Craig Golding) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
The Bulldogs face another big challenge. CRAIG GOLDING


At ANZ Stadium, Friday, 4.05pm

History: Played 157, Bulldogs 80, Rabbitohs 73, drawn 4. Last met: Rabbitohs 24-6, round 18, 2018. Ladbrokes odds: Bulldogs $3.25, Rabbitohs $1.33

The Rabbitohs didn't need the retirement of skipper Greg Inglis for added motivation to win this, but the emotion generated from his decision will do no harm. And despite their fourth win from five outings, unimpressed coach Wayne Bennett complained his side was flat last Saturday. How then, must Dean Pay feel after his Bulldogs slumped to their fourth loss and to the bottom of the NRL points ladder. TIP - Rabbitohs

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 08:  Luke Keary of the Roosters passes the ball during the NRL Qualifying Final match between the Sydney Roosters and the Cronulla Sharks at Allianz Stadium on September 8, 2018 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)
Luke Keary has been in sensational form early. Jason McCawley


At AAMI Park, Friday, 7.55pm

History: Played 36, Storm 20, Roosters 16. Last met: Roosters 21-6, grand final, 2018. Ladbrokes odds: Storm $1.90, Roosters $1.90

Although unbeaten after five rounds, even the most ardent Storm fans would agree they have been lucky to win their past two and a loss is seemingly close - so this 2018 grand final re-match presents a major challenge. The Roosters are looking even more menacing than last year and currently head the NRL pointscoring, averaging 25 points a game. Between them these teams have won seven of the past eight minor premierships, meaning their status in the game is non-negotiable. Although Storm holds a 5-2 winning record at AAMI Park, the Roosters look the goods this time. TIP - Roosters

Blake Green of the Warriors during a training session for the NRL Finals Series at Mt Smart Stadium, in Auckland, New Zealand, Tuesday, September 4, 2018. (AAP Image/David Rowland) NO ARCHIVING
Blake Green will return for the Warriors. DAVID ROWLAND


At Mt Smart Stadium, Saturday, 5.30pm (AEST)

History: Played 38, Warriors 19, Cowboys 19. Last met: Warriors 23-16, round 15, 2018. Ladbrokes odds: Warriors $1.36, Cowboys $3.10

Haemorrhaging an average 26 points a game after five rounds, the added issue for the Cowboys is that the Warriors have scored 66 points in their only two appearances at home this season, where the Cowboys have won just six times in 20 visits. Both unlucky losers last weekend, the blowtorch is on them to kick-start their season and this match is vital. After missing last week Blake Green has been named for the Warriors - a huge bonus. TIP - Warriors

Ben Hunt of the Dragons during the Elimination Final between the Brisbane Broncos and the St George-Illawarra Dragons in Week 1 of the NRL Finals Series at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Sunday, September 9, 2018. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Ben Hunt will be looking to keep the pressure on Daly Cherry-Evans. DAVE HUNT


At WIN Stadium, Saturday, 7.35pm

History: Played 27, Dragons 18, Sea Eagles 9. Last met: Dragons 32-8, round 15, 2018. Ladbrokes odds: Dragons $1.45, Sea Eagles $2.70

Daly Cherry-Evans seemingly has the Queensland No.7 jersey on his back already, but another superb performance from Ben Hunt in this blockbuster will muddy the selection waters somewhat. Both have been outstanding as their respective teams have scored three successive wins and will again be the lynchpins in Wollongong, where the Sea Eagles have won just once in eight visits. Already down on forward power, the Dragons have been boosted by the news that Origin prop Paul Vaughan has been cleared to play. TIP - Dragons

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 02: Jarrod Wallace of the Titans warms up before the NRL Trial match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Gold Coast Titans at Cbus Super Stadium on March 02, 2019 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
Jarrod Wallace will miss the clash after copping a two-week suspension. Chris Hyde


At Cbus Super Stadium, Sunday, 2pm

History: Played 20, Knights 11, Titans 9. Last met: Bulldogs 38-0, round 24, 2018. Ladbrokes odds: Titans $1.85, Knights $1.95

Sharing equal last with one win from five rounds is indicative of the desperation both teams face in another must-win encounter. Big things were expected from the Titans and Knights but neither have delivered and despite the Titans chalking up their first win last weekend, they have been savagely hit by suspension to Jarrod Wallace and Ash Taylor under another injury cloud. And while the Knights are reasonably healthy, their attack is poor. TIP - Titans

Josh Hodgson of the Raiders during the Round 2 NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the Melbourne Storm at GIO Stadium, Canberra, Friday, March 22, 2019. (AAP Image/Rohan Thompson) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Josh Hodgson has been a standout for the Raiders in the early rounds. ROHAN THOMPSON


At GIO Stadium, Sunday, 4.05pm

History: Played 50, Broncos 30, Raiders 19, drawn 1. Last met: Broncos 26-22, round 16, 2018. Ladbrokes odds: Raiders $1.62, Broncos $2.32

Sitting third on the ladder and with the best defence in the competition, the Raiders have been the revelation of the season. And despite winning the past six matches between two clubs and their season is teetering on the brink, the Broncos appear destined for a loss in the national capital. Coach Anthony Siebold has again refused to panic, but the loss of Matt Lodge is a major blow. TIP - Raiders

Parramatta Eels player Clint Gutherson takes part in a team training session at the Old Saleyards Reserve, in Sydney, Monday, April 1, 2019. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett) NO ARCHIVING
Clint Gutherson's contract negotiations could impact the Eels. JOEL CARRETT


At Bank West Stadium, Monday, 4pm

History: Played 37, Eels 21, Tigers 15, drawn 1. Last met: Eels 24-22, round 8, 2018. Ladbrokes odds: Eels $1.80, Tigers $2.00

The Eels will no doubt be pumped to christen the magnificent Bankwest Stadium on Easter Monday, but their current recruitment issues may put a dampener on their big day. The resilient Tigers, who will share the new ground, will be equally keen to impress in this battle of the west which brings together two of the real surprise packets of the season. Toss a coin. TIP - Tigers