By Stephen Gallagher
FRIDAY: Melbourne Storm V Newcastle Knights – AAMI Park – 20.05NZT
Here’s a great game to kick off the halfway mark of the season. Knights will be throwing the absolute kitchen sink in to this performance. Imagine the reaction if they win this?
The Storm are such a composed side though. They are true league heavyweights.
Newcastle are battlers, and will keep in touch with the leaders for 80 minutes.
Storm have the better forwards, and better direction, but Knights have the heart. Won’t be much in it.
TIP: Storm 1-12
Parramatta Eels V New Zealand Warriors – ANZ Stadium – 22.05NZT
Another interesting Friday night match.
Eels with Moses on board have looked a bit better.
The Warriors got the benefit of taking on a depleted Broncos team last week, and are still winless away from home this season.
Both sides are very similar.
The pressure is on the Eels bench. They’ve been a little quiet, and have dipped out of games when on the field.
Warriors will look to dominate the ruck, and quick play the balls which could dictate the result.
TIP: Eels 1-12
SATURDAY: Saint George Illawarra Dragons V Wests Tigers – ANZ Stadium – 17.00NZT
Feel like this game could be very entertaining.
The Dragons sitting pretty in 3rd position, their forward pack has been phenomenal all year, and will want to show their credentials against a side which can be hard to beat on their day.
New recruit Tui Lolohea has a lot of pressure on his shoulders to steer the Tigers around against such a dominant team.
If the Tigers can complete some sets, and force the Dragons in to some errors – then it could be a very tight match up.
TIP: Dragons 1-12
Sydney Roosters V Brisbane Broncos – Allianz Stadium – 19.35NZT
One of the tightest matches to tip this round.
The Roosters looking more like themselves over the last couple of weeks, with the Broncos suffering a loss in their solid run of form.
The Roosters are very versatile. Plenty of players who can get the job done in any position.
The Broncos will benefit for having their Origin stars back, but they also could be tired after being flogged on Wednesday.
Roosters by a try.
TIP: Roosters 1-12
North Queensland Cowboys V Gold Coast Titans – 1300SMILES Stadium – 21.30NZT
Johnathan Thurston could be a sneaky inclusion which would definitely help the Cowboys.
Titans were embarrassed in their last outing. Will want to dig deep and try get a win in Townsville against their inter-state rivals.
The Cowboys should look to dominate the Titans up front. The likes of Cooper, Asiata and Lowe have been working damn hard all season.
If the Titans win it, it will be because they’ve won the territory battle. Ash Taylor will have to be sharp with the boot.
TIP: Cowboys 1-12
SUNDAY: Manly Warringah Sea Eagles V Canberra Raiders – Lottoland – 16.05NZT
While the Raiders are yet to have the bye, the Sea Eagles have been resting up.
At home on a Sunday afternoon, the Sea Eagles should be favourites here.
Their backline has been awesome so far this year. Lots of great runs and combinations forming that could push the Sea Eagles in to being a solid contender.
The Raiders have to work on their error rate. Smarter football will help in this match.
TIP: Raiders 1-12
Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs V Penrith Panthers – ANZ Stadium – 18.05NZT
If the Bulldogs are leading at half time, the Panthers will be wanting to run them down for three consecutive second-half comebacks.
However I am sure Anthony Griffin will want a better start however, and would have worked on that over the bye.
The Bulldogs just lack enthusiasm this year. There’s no flow, and everything they do looks off-the-cuff. More direction will help them battle this Panthers side.
TIP: Panthers 1-12