By Stephen Gallagher
THUSRDAY: Penrith Panthers V Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs – Pepper Stadium 21.50NZT
The Panthers are so close to making the finals, they just need to keep winning.
This Thursday night fixture could act as a banana-peel game. They won’t want to slip up.
The Bulldogs have been so poor this season. Only scoring just over 250 points thus far.
The Panthers are natural point scorers, and I think if they get on the board early, they’ll continue to score with ease. Bulldogs showing little to no resistance.
TIP: Panthers 13+
FRIDAY: New Zealand Warriors V Cronulla Sutherland Sharks– Mount Smart Stadium – 20.00NZT
The reigning premiers roll in to Auckland with plenty to crow about. Sitting in 4th spot, they should tear apart the Warriors.
Can’t see them outscoring this Sharks side. They’ve forgotten how to. Cronulla are just so sharp and smart all over the field, that they should have this Warriors side beaten by half time.
Warriors haven’t played 80 minutes all season, and it’s too late to start now.
TIP: Sharks 1-12
Parramatta Eels V Brisbane Broncos – ANZ Stadium – 21.50NZT
Eels are sure to finish in the top eight, but if they’re good enough – there’s a top four spot waiting for them.
Chances are they could face the Broncos in the finals also. This match should have the intensity and atmosphere around it like a finals fixture.
Parramatta dealt a low blow with their best player gone for the season in Clint Gutherson, and the Broncos will try to exploit that – and get a win at ANZ Stadium.
TIP: Broncos 1-12
SATURDAY: Newcastle Knights V Saint George Illawarra Dragons – McDonald Jones Stadium – 17.00NZT
The Knights butchered this game a few weeks ago. Up by a healthy half-time margin, the Dragons smashed back and won it.
They’re going to finish last, I’m sure – but they still have some fight left. Newcastle should be aiming to complete this match as winners.
The Dragons did get their tails up last week with a solid 50 point win, so it might not be the best time for the Knights. They just need to throw it all against the Red V.
TIP: Dragons 1-12
South Sydney Rabbitohs V Canberra Raiders – ANZ Stadium – 19.30NZT
Gonna tip the Raiders in this one. But then again, who really knows? This match sees two teams who have failed to live up to 2017 expectations, with floundering performances each week.
Ideally, both sides play their very best football with their seasons already over.
There’s plenty of football to be played. Two big forward packs with talent to burn.
Could be one of those high scoring affairs too.
TIP: Raiders 1-12
Sydney Roosters V North Queensland Cowboys – Allianz Stadium – 21.30NZT
The Cowboys are faring pretty well considering their injury concerns, and the Sydneysiders know just how much of a threat they will be.
If they’re prepared, the Roosters will know that nothing short of a dominant 80 minute performance will put the Cowboys to bed.
The Roosters backs have been excellent this year, and they should be able to get some early ball to show just how good they are.
Cowboys will cause plenty of headaches though. They’re such staunch opposition.
TIP: Roosters 1-12
SUNDAY: Melbourne Storm V Manly Warringah Sea Eagles – AAMI Park – 16.00NZT
There’s always a good rivalry between these two sides, but no matter how well you play; the Storm are always hard to get past at home.
There are a couple of injury concerns surrounding the camp, but Manly will know they have to be prepared to face fire and fight the best they can.
Sea Eagles let themselves down with a poor first forty minutes last week. If they repeat that this week, they will get thrashed again.
I do think it will be a close one though.
TIP: Storm 1-12
Gold Coast Titans V Wests Tigers – Cbus Super Stadium – 18.10NZT
The Titans looks to get past the Tigers at home.
These two sides are unpredictable, so it could go either way.
However, I just don’t think the Tigers have it in them. Their 2017 campaign has been an absolute disaster and I think many of them just want to get this season over with.
The Titans have plenty of firepower, and if they get their chance – it could be a great watch. Keen for a try fest.
TIP: Titans 1-12
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