Wayne Bennett and Anthony Seibold will face off on Thursday night.
Wayne Bennett and Anthony Seibold will face off on Thursday night.

Durko's dissections: NRL previews for Round 8

WAYNE Bennett will line up against the Broncos for the first time since he was ousted at the end of 2018 when South Sydney take on Brisbane in a Thursday night blockbuster.

Both Bennett and rival coach Anthony Seibold have attempted to play down the hype surrounding the Round 8 clash but both sides will be well aware of the importance of teh match.

Read all the Round 8 previews here:

RABBITOHS v BRONCOS

ANZ Stadium, Thursday, 7.50pm

History: Played 38, Broncos 28, Rabbitohs 9, drawn 1. Last met: Broncos 38-18, round 23, 2018. Ladbrokes odds: Rabbitohs $1.50, Broncos $2.55

The manner in which the Broncos attacked with their defence last weekend has given fans some hope this clash will deliver on the hype which has surrounded it for the past six months. While both coaches and key players have spent all week downplaying the personal pride at stake, no one should be underestimate what victory will mean. With Souths humming along at the top of the ladder, the query is whether the young Broncos - with an 18-year-old halfback on debut - can mentally back up and repeat last week's outstanding performance. If yes, Milford and Co. can do some damage. If not, the Bunnies are a shoo-in. TIP - Broncos

Jason Taumalolo is firming to return for the Cowboys. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)
Jason Taumalolo is firming to return for the Cowboys. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

COWBOYS v TITANS

1300Smiles Stadium, Friday, 6pm

History: Played 21, Cowboys 13, Titans 8. Last met: Cowboys 30-26, round 25, 2018. Ladbrokes odds: Cowboys $1.70, Titans $2.14

This time last week the Cowboys and Titans - both pre-season tips to play finals football - appeared to have found form following impressive victories. But unexpected losses at the weekend have plunged both back to the bottom of the ladder and in desperate need of a winning sequence to fulfil those earlier goals. At least one thing is assured - with both leaking an average 23 points a game, the clash should provide plenty of tries. TIP - Cowboys

SHARKS v STORM

Shark Park, Friday, 7.55pm

History: Played 37, Storm 23, Sharks 14. Last met: Storm 22-6, preliminary final, 2018. Ladbrokes odds: Sharks $3.00, Storm $1.33

Further beset with key injuries and coming off a physical hiding at the hands of the Broncos, the Sharks appear longshots to get the job done against the ladder-topping Storm. Despite a recent 4-3 winning record against the NRL powerhouse, the gutsy Sharks lose too much class minus Johnson, Moylan, Graham and Woods. But the Storm will need to improve on their recent form, particularly their poor starts. TIP - Storm

Ricky Stuart is sure to have the Raiders ready to go. Picture: Kym Smith
Ricky Stuart is sure to have the Raiders ready to go. Picture: Kym Smith

RAIDERS v PANTHERS

McDonald's Park, Wagga, Saturday, 3pm

History: Played 74, Panthers 38, Raiders 35, drawn 1. Last met: Panthers 40-31, round 21, 2018. Ladbrokes odds: Raiders $1.62, Panthers $2.28

As the Panthers struggle to get their season back on track - and score points - they would prefer this not be against the Raiders who will be keen for a bounce-back after faltering last weekend. With discipline and ball control an issue, Ricky's Raiders rediscovered some bad habits against the Sea Eagles - issues to which the Panthers can also relate. But with such an impressive start to the season and a 'home' game just down the road at Wagga, expect a well-oiled Green Machine to fire. TIP - Raiders

SEA EAGLES v BULLDOGS

Lottoland, Saturday, 5.30pm

History: Played 128, Sea Eagles 65, Bulldogs 58, drawn 5. Last met: Sea Eagles 18-6, round 22, 2018. Ladbrokes odds: Sea Eagles $1.78, Bulldogs $2.02

Bulldogs fans surely don't need reminding of the tumultuous, albeit successful recent tenure of the enigmatic Des Hasler at their club. But few can doubt his quality as a coach with the unpretentious Sea Eagles sitting sixth on the ladder following another big scalp at the weekend. While the Dogs sit last on the ladder, they have been better than that and with the home side missing the spark and leadership of Daly Cherry-Evans, an upset is not impossible. TIP - Sea Eagles

Latrell Mitchell has been among the standouts during the Roosters' impressive start to the season. Picture by Phil Hillyard.
Latrell Mitchell has been among the standouts during the Roosters' impressive start to the season. Picture by Phil Hillyard.

ROOSTERS v TIGERS

SCG, Saturday, 7.35pm

History: Played 32, Roosters 23, Tigers 9. Last met: Roosters 16-14, round 13, 2018. Ladbrokes odds: Roosters $1.20, Tigers $4.50

As is the case every season, teams lift to play the premiers and the much- improved Tigers will be no exception at the SCG on Saturday night. But the Roosters - professional, precise and almost perfect in everything they have done in 2019 - will be up for the challenge. To rally from a 14-0 deficit last week and score 30 unanswered points was quality from the Tigers - quality the Roosters will not want to underestimate. TIP - Roosters

WARRIORS v KNIGHTS

Mt Smart Stadium, Sunday, 2pm (AEST)

History: Played 38, Warriors 20, Knights 17, drawn 1. Last met: Warriors 20-4, round 22, 2018. Ladbrokes odds: Warriors $1.58, Knights $2.34

Only when one of them makes a clean break do fullbacks come face to face in a match, but the absolute sweetener to this is the clash between the equally-brilliant Roger Tuivasa Scheck and Kalyn Ponga. The Knights bounced back with a morale-boosting win last weekend, while the Warriors were dead-set robbed in Melbourne, so the scene is set for a close one in Auckland. If the Warriors pack brings the aggression of Anzac Day, they will win. TIP - Warriors

EELS v DRAGONS

Bank West Stadium, Sunday, 4.05pm

History: Played 35, Eels 18, Dragons 15, drawn 2. Last met: Eels 40-4, round 22, 2018. Ladbrokes odds: Eels $1.80, Dragons $2.00

With Ben Hunt now very much in the frame for an Orign recall and the effusive Mitchell Moses deflated following a below-par outing in Newcastle, the clash of the playmakers in this will be engrossing - and vital. After a poor start to the season the Dragons have been impressive, while the stutter by the Eels last weekend was most surprising. The Dragons - in a close one. TIP - Dragons