#Top10Tuesday: Best Rematches in 2015
With the NRL draw officially released on Monday, our attention now turns to the most exciting and anticipated matches of the new season.
After a host of games this year that left us on the edge of our seats and salivating for more, NRL.com looks at the most anticipated rematches of 2015.
10. New Zealand Warriors v Canterbury Bulldogs
When it will go down: Round 26 at ANZ Stadium.
The Bulldogs and Warriors played two thrilling contests in the space of five weeks in 2014, with both games going down to the wire. A last-minute Trent Hodkinson field goal was the difference in their first epic encounter, while Josh Morris pulled off one of the tackles of the season to deny Shaun Johnson and the Warriors a last-gasp victory in the second. It will be interesting to see how these two go when they finally face each other next year, but we will have to wait until Round 26 to watch this rematch.
9. Melbourne Storm v Manly Sea Eagles
When it will go down: Round 2 at Brookvale Oval – Saturday, 14th March at 7pm.
Who could forget Melbourne's amazing Round 1 victory against the Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval? Recovering from a 20-point deficit, the Storm downed Manly 21-20 – despite being without star halfback Cooper Cronk. They repeated the dose in Round 9 when they recovered from 19-10 down to steal another one from their bitter rivals in the final four minutes. The Sea Eagles should be ready for revenge at Brookvale in Round 2.
8. Newcastle Knights v Melbourne Storm
When it will go down: Round 24 at AAMI Park.
It was the most dramatic comeback of the 2014 season; a Kurt Gidley conversion from the sideline after the siren giving Newcastle one of their most famous victories. Incredibly they did it without stars Darius Boyd, James McManus, Jarrod Mullen and Beau Scott. The Storm had looked home and hosed when Sisa Waqa scored his fourth try of the evening in the 77th minute. That was until unlikely hero Travis Waddell stripped the ball from Billy Slater in the very next set to make it a 30-26 scoreline. An Akuila Uate try after the siren equalled the ledger before Gidley's ice cool conversion sent the Hunter region into raptures.
7. Brisbane Broncos v South Sydney Rabbitohs
When it will go down: Round 1 at Suncorp Stadium – Thursday, 5th March at 8:05pm.
Should that be Brisbane Broncos v Greg Inglis? Inglis crushed the Broncos twice in 2014 with two of the most memorable plays of the season. He scored the try of the year in Round 8, leaving seven Broncos clutching at thin air on a 70-metre run in the first game, and then followed that up with another dramatic piece of play in Round 23, bumping off fullback Josh Hoffman before linking with Sam Burgess to score another thrilling try. Can he break Brisbane hearts again in 2015? It will be compelling viewing.
6. Sydney Roosters v Penrith Panthers
When it will go down: Round 3 at ANZ Stadium – Sunday, 15th March at 4pm.
Last season Panthers winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak derailed the hopes of the reigning premiers' finals campaign with one ridiculous offload. A grubber from five-eighth Jamie Soward 20 metres out from the Roosters' tryline looked for all likelihood to be going over the sideline if not for the relentlessness of Watene-Zelezniak. With Roosters duo Daniel Tupou and Anthony Minichiello hoping for the ball to go out, the young Penrith winger was able to keep it in the field of play with two-thirds of his body suspended over the sideline, with the ball sailing in-field for Dean Whare to score the crucial try. Throw in a clutch sideline conversion and field goal from Soward himself and Penrith were on their way to the preliminary final. The Roosters won't forget it anytime soon and won't have to wait long to make amends.
5. Wests Tigers v Parramatta Eels
When it will go down: Round 5 at ANZ Stadium – Monday, 6th April at 3pm.
The Easter Monday clash between Parramatta and Tigers' in front of 50,668 fans at ANZ Stadium was one of the great occasions in 2014. Make sure you don't miss it in 2015! While Jarryd Hayne shined in the first half, the Tigers secured the two competition points with a 21-18 victory thanks to a brilliant long-range intercept try and the boot of Pat Richards. The Eels will be Hayne-less in 2015, but their meeting with Wests on Easter Monday looks set to become a regular fixture for years to come.
4. Parramatta Eels v Manly Sea Eagles
When it will go down: Round 1 at Pirtek Stadium – Friday, 6th March at 7:45pm.
Even before considering the whole Anthony Watmough factor, you cannot forget the memorable clashes these two clubs had throughout 2014. Their Round 3 fixture saw Manly only just sneak away with the win in the dying seconds, but come their match in Round 24 it was a whole different story. An amazing long-distance try from Eels flyer Semi Radradra sparked life into Parramatta, and 22 unanswered points saw them upset a then ladder-leading Sea Eagles outfit. Add the fact this will be Watmough's first match in Eels colours and the first against his old club, and this contest is sure to keep the tongues wagging come Round 1.
3. Canterbury Bulldogs v Manly Sea Eagles
When it will go down: Round 3 at Brookvale Oval – Friday, 20th March at 7:35pm.
With both teams earning hard-fought victories over the other throughout the 2014 regular season, the stage was set in Week Two of the finals. What followed was one of the biggest games of the year – a golden-point thriller which ended after 84 minutes of tough football, including two sin-binnings and three field goals. Halfback Trent Hodkinson's final one-pointer proved once again why he is a clutch play specialist. Fireworks are sure to fly when these two clubs get the opportunity to play one another again.
2. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v South Sydney Rabbitohs
When it will go down: Round 5 at ANZ Stadium – Friday, 3rd April at 4pm.
A grand final rematch is always one to get excited about. Plenty of questions shall be answered too. How will the Rabbitohs perform without star forwards Sam Burgess and Ben Te'o? How will the Bulldogs travel without inspirational leader Michael Ennis at their disposal? This is a game that everyone should be looking forward to, especially with it being played on Good Friday.
1. North Queensland Cowboys v Sydney Roosters
When it will go down: Round 1 at 1300 Smiles Stadium – Saturday, 7th March at 9pm (NSW), 8pm (QLD).
Usually a grand final rematch would top this list. Not this time though. Most rugby league loving fans should have the Cowboys v Roosters clash from Week Two of the 2014 finals in their top five memorable matches of recent memory. This game had everything. The Roosters were waltzing away with the game at a rate of a point per minute, leading 30-0 after just half an hour. Two Cowboys tries before half-time gave Paul Green a tiny sense of relief. But what followed in the second half was something special. Three second-half tries to North Queensland in 16 minutes saw the scoreline levelled at 30-all. A James Maloney field goal ended up separating the two with four minutes remaining but it could have been a whole different story if Johnathan Thurston was awarded a try in the final minute. It was one of the most gripping, unpredictable and entertaining games of the season and here's hoping these teams put on another show in Round 1.
This article first appeared on NRL.com