By Stephen Gallagher
THUSRDAY: Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs V Parramatta Eels – ANZ Stadium – 21.50NZT
The Bulldogs under immense pressure with their current roster, and the rumours of salary cap issues for 2018. Add to that, Des Hasler isn’t getting results means it’s been a terrible year for the club.
Parramatta want their sixth straight win, and look likely to do so over this weak Bulldogs side.
The Eels are building perfectly for the finals, where they will definitely cause some problems. They should handle the dogs easily here.
TIP: Eels 1-12
FRIDAY: Saint George Illawarra Dragons V South Sydney Rabbitohs – Sydney Cricket Ground – 20.00NZT
Retro Round kicking off Friday with a throwback to Sydney Cricket Ground.
This should be a good game, big arch rivals these two. The Dragons want to bounce back after a bad loss last week.
Their finals run is in jeopardy if they drop this game, that should be motivation enough.
The Rabbitohs will be out to win this one though, try cause some problems for other teams with finals hopes.
TIP: Dragons 1-12
North Queensland Cowboys V Melbourne Storm – 1300SMILES Stadium – 21.50NZT
Really good game on the cards here. It will be tough for the Cowboys, despite their string of consecutive victories over the last month.
The Storm look unstoppable at this rate. Easily premiership favourites.
North Queensland have the tools to stop this runaway train though, they’ve deadly close to the line, and their D has been solid this season.
Game of the round for me. Watching these two stacked sides do battle.
TIP: Storm 1-12
SATURDAY: Newcastle Knights V New Zealand Warriors – McDonald Jones Stadium – 17.00NZT
Should be an easy victory for the Knights.
Despite their position on the table, they are everything the Warriors aren’t.
Newcastle is a team, playing as a team, putting it all on the line for 80 minutes each week.
They should have some confidence too after last weeks win.
The Warriors are doing their classic failure to win any games at the end of the season, just for a laugh.
I have a good feeling about this match. Huge victory.
TIP: Knights 13+
Gold Coast Titans V Brisbane Broncos – Cbus Super Stadium – 19.30NZT
The Queensland grudge match looks set to spark.
Gold Coast have floundered this season, and after a shock loss by the Brisbane Broncos last week – Wayne Bennett will be making sure there’s no repeat.
Could be a blood bath, the Titans never really know how they want to play until about half time.
However, if they’re on their game – it’s going to be worth a watch. They’re strong up front, and need to try run over the Broncos.
TIP: Broncos 13+
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks V Canberra Raiders – Southern Cross Group Stadium – 21.30NZT
Sharkies and Raiders going head to head will be a rugby league treat. Cronulla looking to solidify a top four finish, while the Raiders have a the slimmest of finals chances left.
Should be all over for them by the end of 80 minutes. The Sharks this season have been really good backing up their success last season.
So many talented players squaring off in key positions for this game. Do expect a thriller.
TIP: Sharks 1-12
SUNDAY: Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles V Sydney Roosters – Lottoland – 16.00NZT
Two abysmal weeks in a row has seen the Sea Eagles fall away from what’s made them successful.
It will be another tough ask as they go up against the second place Roosters.
This is a finals task ahead of the Manly side. A really big game brews here.
Lottoland often brings success on a Sunday for the Sea Eagles. However against such a successful team in the Roosters they will have to be at their very best to get out of their current lull.
TIP: Roosters 1-12
Penrith Panthers V Wests Tigers – Pepper Stadium – 18.10NZT
Son Nathan goes up against father Ivan for the first time.
Penrith are sitting in 9th position, on the verge of cracking the 8 if they keep on winning.
The Tigers got a great win last week, and will want to continue their good form this week.
These two West-Sydney sides will have plenty to say on the field. I do feel however it will be the Panthers that have the last laugh. Structurally a better side, with more firepower over the park.
TIP: Panthers -12
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