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NRL: Big four in action on Friday night

Friday night in the NRL does not get much better as four sides hoping to be in the hunt for the 2023 Premiership are all in action.

In the early game the Parramatta Eels entertain the Sharks and after losing their opening games last weekend, it is a huge fixture for both sides.

Then in the later game the Broncos will be out to build on their opening win against the Panthers when they take on a Cowboys side that edged out the Raiders.

Week two got off to a great start on Thursday night as the Rabbitohs came fighting back at the death, only to lose 16-10 against the Panthers at BlueBet Stadium. The competition looks wide open already. Now all eyes turn to Friday with two games that have the potential to be classics.

Let’s take a closer look at all four teams as kick-off fast approaches.

What:Parramatta Eels v Cronulla Sharks
Where:CommBank Stadium, Sydney
When:18:00 (AEST) Friday 10th March 2023
How to watch:Foxtel, Kayo
Odds:Eels 1.52, Sharks 2.55

Eels and Sharks out to avoid 0-2

The Eels and Sharks will still be smarting after starting the new season with defeats and they will be desperate to respond on Friday night. Of course someone has to lose and one of these sides will be 0-2 come the end of the night.

That is not the start that anybody wants even if it is still very early days.

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The Eels went down on home soil against the Melbourne Storm but will get the chance to give their fans something to smile about when they return to CommBank Stadium. Cronulla went down on home soil to South Sydney Rabbitohs last week and will also be itching to pick up the first two points of the campaign.

Parramatta will make just the one change to the side that lost on golden point to the Storm. They are boosted by the return of Bailey Simonsson from a shoulder injury. The former Kiwi international has been named to start on the wing in favour of Sean Russell. Ky Rodwell is also named among the reserves.

Cronulla have been rocked by the news that Wade Graham will miss the next four games after being hit with a suspension for a dangerous tackle against Souths. The influential Nicho Hynes missed out last week but there is a chance he could face Parramatta.

Jack Williams does miss out with a head knock, but Royce Hunt is back on the bench following an elbow injury.

What:Brisbane Broncos v North Queensland Cowboys
Where:Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
When:20:00 (AEST) Friday 10th March
How to watch:Channel 9, Foxtel, Kayo
Odds:Broncos 1.75, Cowboys 2.10 

Walsh to debut for Broncos

The Broncos got the new season underway in the best possible way with a very impressive performance in the win over Penrith last week. Kevin Walters side now need to back it up with another win but it will be far from easy against a Cowboys side that also impressed for large parts when beating the Raiders in week one.

North Queensland looked set to record a comfortable win as they marched into an 18-0 lead against Canberra, before letting it slip. The Raiders levelled matters at 18-18 before the Cowboys snatched the win late on. There can be no repeat of such defensive lapses if they are to get anything against the Broncos at Suncorp.

Brisbane have been handed a huge boost with the news that new signing and gun fullback Reece Walsh will make his NRL debut for the club. It will also allow Selwyn Cobbo to move back to the wing. The youngster did okay when playing fullback against the Panthers but the Broncos will now be even stronger with Walsh in the No.1 jersey.

The Broncos will name the same pack, which will include Patrick Carrigan, who has boosted the club this week by signing a new long-term deal. North Queensland have had the edge over the Broncos in recent meetings when winning four out of the last five and they will look to keep those good times rolling.

For the Cowboys stability will again be key this season and coach Todd Payten has been able to name the same 17 that edged past the Raiders.

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