#KiwiNRL Encyclopedia: Round Ono

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Sharks vs Panthers

Sharks

Starters: Sosaia Feki, Sione Katoa, Shaun Johnson, Briton Nikora.

Bench/Extended Bench: /Braden Hamlin-Uele.

Panthers

Starters: Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Dean Whare, James Fisher-Harris.

Bench/Extended Bench: Sione Katoa/Jarome Luai, Malakai Watene-Zelezniak.

Doc's Word

Braden Hamlin-Uele was a late call up to the Sharks 17 last week in their loss to Roosters and offered great efficiency in his 19 minuts; 39m from 3 runs. With Paul Gallen returning to the starting line up, Hamlin-Uele drops back to the extended squad and normal service resumes. Hopefully the stars align for the Glenora Bears junior to get more game time in the coming weeks, so we can see if Hamlin-Uele is able to back up that baseline 10m/run performance.

Bulldogs vs Rabbitohs

Bulldogs

Starters: Reimis Smith, Jeremy Marshall-King, Ofahiki Ogden, Corey Harawira-Naera.

Bench/Extended Bench: /Raymond Faitala-Mariner, Fa'amanu Brown.

Rabbitohs

Starters: Nada.

Bench/Extended Bench: Nada.

Doc's Word

The Bulldogs got smoked by the Dragons last week, although Ogfahiki Ogden gave a solid account of himself as a starter. Averaging 9.6m/run (10runs/96m), Ogden was the second-best Bulldogs forward for post-contact-metres in 44mins of action. Named to start again this week, Ogden has the stiff challenge of coming up against the Rabbitohs and the Burgess bros.

Ogden is a point of difference in the Bulldogs forward pack as the Mangere East Hawks junior has the best size/mobility combo of the pack. That could be effective against the Burgess twins and I wouldn't be surprised to see Ogden roll out some impressive stats if the Bulldogs team can generally maintain parity with the Bunnies; Ogden is averaging exactly 10m/run for the season and that's a super solid benchmark.

While Corey Harawira-Naera has very good moments, he's also capable of going missing and 6runs/35mins, with 4 missed tackles in 80 minutes is an example of that. Of course, the Bulldogs were rolled in every aspect, but that doesn't excuse such a lack of involvement and especially when everyone around Harawira-Naerea had far more touches.

Storm vs Roosters

Storm

Starters: Jahrome Hughes, Jesse Bromwich, Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Kenny Bromwich.

Bench/Extended Bench: Brandon Smith/Albert Vete.

Storm

Starters: Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Zane Tetevano.

Bench/Extended Bench: Poasa Fa'amausili/Sitili Tupouniua.

Doc's Word

Going to keep it simple here and set the scene for a delightful #KiwiNRL battle of the starting props...

Nelson Asofa-Solomona: 36.4mins, 11.2runs/91m, 1.4 tackle busts, 1.6 offloads.

Jesse Bromwich: 47.8mins, 12.4runs/117m, 1.8tb, 1 offload.

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves: 56.7mins, 15.7runs/156m, 0.3tb, 0.7 offloads.

Sio Siua Taukeiaho: 51.8mins, 14.6runs/157m, 3tb, 0.6 offloads.

Warriors vs Cowboys

Warriors

Starters: All but Blake Green and Lachlan Burr.

Bench/Extended Bench: All the boys.

Cowboys

Starters: Te Maire Martin, Jordan Kahu.

Bench/Extended Bench: Nada.

Doc's Word

As much as I love Jordan Kahu, he hasn't been overly effective for Cowboys; 9.4runs/72m, 1.6 tackle busts. Kahu and Te Maire Martin aren't the only Cowboys who average well, well below 10m/run (pretty much all of them do) and they are both reflective of the Cowboys woes at the moment.

Dragons vs Sea Eagles

Dragons

Starters: Jordan Pereira.

Bench/Extended Bench: Nada.

Sea Eagles

Starters: Martin Taupau.

Bench/Extended Bench: Toafofoa Sipley.

Doc's Word

Martin Taupau rolled out a mediocre effort in the Manly's win over Newcastle, while Addin Fonua-Blake stole the show. Mediocre in the sense that he only got through 38mins, which was well down on his season average of 48.2mins, however Taupau was still his efficient self with 12runs/120m, 3 tackle busts and an offload.

Taupau only played 38mins and Toafofoa Sipley came off the bench for 12mins, as other Sea Eagle forwards were used more by coach Des Hasler. I suspect we'll see Taupau go back to 50+ mins this week against the Dragons, in what feels like a nice match up, as well as Fonua-Blake being suspended. This will probably result in Sipley moving to start and hopefully plenty of usage for both Taupau and Sipley.

Titans vs Knights

Titans

Starters: Kevin Proctor.

Bench/Extended Bench: /Moeaki Fotuaika, Jesse Arthars.

Knights

Starters: Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Mason Lino, Danny Levi, James Gavet.

Bench/Extended Bench: Herman Ese'ese.

Doc's Word

I'm not privy of the job James Gavet has to do at the Knights and he's starting every week for coach Nathan Brown, so Gavet is obviously ticking boxes. Refer back to the comparison I did above between the Storm and Roosters #KiwiNRL props as the context for Gavet's numbers and you'll see that Gavet's stats are low, like creepishly low; 37.8mins, 7.8runs/60m, 0.5 tackle busts, 0.8 offloads.

Granted, Gavet is a safe option with few missed tackles and errors (both 0.5/game). Coach Brown has neglected Herman Ese'ese for whatever reason and this has coincided with the Knights struggling to stay relevant, with much of the focus on the play-makers. Having a starting prop rolling out what Gavet offers, compared to the more mobile, robust Ese'se could be an overlooked factor in all of this. Ese'ese has been named on the bench this week, so I'll be intrigued to see how the Gavet/Ese'ese numbers look against a Titans forward pack that could be dominated ... or the Titans will be eager to make a mark.

Raiders vs Broncos

Raiders

Starters: Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Jordan Rapana.

Bench/Extended Bench: Siliva Havili, Iosia Soliola/Bailey Simonsson.

Broncos

Starters: Jamayne Isaako, Kodi Nikorima, Alex Glenn.

Bench/Extended Bench: Nada.

Doc's Word

Siliva Havili only averages 25.8mins off the bench and yet Havili has a great impact than Gavet with 7.4runs/74m, 1 tackle bust, 0.4 offloads. I'm still impressed by Havili's adjustment from being a hooker to a middle forward and having a nifty little lad, with footwork and speed coming off the bench to average 10m/run is an asset for Canberra.

An interesting comparison for Havili, is Brandon Smith at Melbourne Storm as they are effectively the same players doing the same role on different teams. Smith averages more minutes (36mins), which gives him more usage (9runs/84m), however Havili's 10m/run is better than Smith's 9.33m/run.

Eels vs Tigers

Eels

Starters: Brad Takairangi, Marata Niukore.

Bench/Extended Bench: Peni Terepo/Josh Hoffman, Greg Leleisiuao.

Tigers

Starters: Esan Marsters, Russell Packer, Josh Aloiai.

Bench/Extended Bench: Ben Matulino, Michael Chee-Kam/Elijah Taylor.

Doc's Word

Michael Chee-Kam showcased his value as a versatile bench-man in the win over Brisbane Broncos last week and not just because he scored the game winner. Chee-Kam tends to be used primarily as an edge forward, but with Robert Jennings coming off injured, Chee-Kam played 59mins at centre and churned out 13runs, 140m, 24 post-contact-metres (Russell Packer and Ben Matulino combined for 27pcm), 3 tackle busts and 2 offloads.

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