By Stephen Gallagher
THURSDAY: Brisbane Broncos V Penrith Panthers – Suncorp Stadium – 22.00NZT
Panthers are in a massive rut. Dropping four on the trot coming up against the Broncos who were lucky last week.
Brisbane have been on the right side of the bounce lately, and a desperate Penrith side may be a tough fight for them.
The Panthers should look to play more basic footy. They’ve been lacking a little in the basics department. If they get that right, they’ll be close.
TIP: Broncos 1-12
FRIDAY: South Sydney Rabbitohs V Manly Warringah Sea Eagles – Allianz Stadium – 20.05NZT
I reckon this is going to be a pretty rough as guts game.
Both sides have been a little rusty over this season, but they look to be playing better with each performance.
Souths need to play smart. They’ve been grubby, and the Sea Eagles need to keep their backs involved big time in order to win.
It should be very close. Can’t see it being more of a four point margin either way.
TIP: Rabbitohs 1-12
North Queensland Cowboys V Parramatta Eels – 1300SMILES Stadium – 22.00NZT
Cowboys are seemingly scraping through every game. Some may say it’s luck – but to me it all comes down to just how well their players know their job and what it takes to win.
The Eels will be happy to get the win last week, to inspire a bit of confidence amongst their ranks.
The Cowboys to me look to be a better side than the Eels, and should get the lollies.
TIP: Cowboys 1-12
SATURDAY: Gold Coast Titans V Newcastle Knights – Cbus Super Stadium – 17.00NZT
The Titans are getting their stars back, and the Knights have some injury concerns for themselves.
I feel like the Titans should do this with ease. I can’t see the Knights getting the win, if they do – it will be a brilliant performance.
Gold Coast will be looking to focus on their forwards. Making sure they’re getting the big metres up the middle to make an impact. They’ll have to continue to throw everything to Newcastle.
TIP: Titans 13+
Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs V Canberra Raiders – ANZ Stadium – 19.35NZT
I like this game. It should be interesting.
The Raiders have an incredibly strong team, but the Bulldogs always bring their best when they play against them.
The Bulldogs forwards have been in and out of matches all season. Their halves have lacked consistency but a big game may bring it out of them.
The Raiders look to improve with their execution close to the line by keeping the pressure on.
TIP: Raiders 1-12
Wests Tigers V Cronulla Sharks – Leichhardt Oval – 21.35NZT
Ivan Cleary has his biggest task ahead of him in his short tenure as head coach of the Tigers.
The Sharks sitting in fourth spot will want to continue to build on their start.
The Tigers are building for 2018 already, but many a focus remains on this season.
They’ve been playing pretty good football to be honest. Seems they’re more courageous under Cleary.
The Sharks will have to watch up, don’t want to slip up. As long as they play their style of footy, they’ll be up for it.
Leichhart Oval at its best here.
TIP: Sharks 1-12
SUNDAY: New Zealand Warriors V Sydney Roosters – Mount Smart Stadium – 16.05NZT
A short turnaround for both of these sides, but it will be a good game.
The Warriors are not being beat on effort. They just need to execute when they get their chances.
The Roosters will be happy they got the golden point win on Tuesday. It will help them get over the short turnaround. The Bondi boys will want to keep this match out of the trenches.
A smart territory game will be key.
TIP: Warriors 1-12
Saint George Illawarra Dragons V Melbourne Storm – WIN Stadium – 18.05NZT
Another short turnaround game. These two do battle for the top of the table.
The Dragons have lost Gareth Widdop for a few weeks, and are in danger of losing their way.
Melbourne will once again push their incredibly hard style of football on the Saints. There are plenty of good battles all over the park in this one.
The Storm should get up, but only at the loss of a very key Dragon.
TIP: Storm 1-12
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