By Stephen Gallagher
Friday, July 13
Panthers v Sharks, Panthers Stadium, 20.00NZT
After the showing last week, the young Panthers don’t really need their Origin stars rushed back.
Both sides beat the Warriors in their last match, and are looking to push themselves further up the table.
Penrith are just a notch above the Sharks at the moment, so I do expect this to be a close game.
Cronulla will throw everything at Penrith, they’re a gutsy side. Just need to convert their chances and they might be able to sneak a win.
Knights v Eels, McDonald Jones Stadium, 21.50NZT
The Knights should win this. They need to back themselves to do so. The Eels are appalling, and deserve to be in last place.
Newcastle have halfback Mitchell Pearce return, which will add some much needed starch to their side.
Parramatta do have a good side, but they’re just not connecting as a team. Still though, I just can’t see them overcoming Newcastle in front of their strong fan base.
Saturday, July 14
Bulldogs v Rabbitohs, ANZ Stadium, 17.00NZT
I don’t think there’s any doubting the result in this one. South Sydney will win. By how much though, who knows.
The Bulldogs showed glimpses of what they’re capable of last week, but still managed to lose.
Souths are just a stacked side. Each player knows what role they contribute to the team, and just what hand to play.
I see the Rabbitohs blitzing the Bulldogs early, which will see this result over by the half time break.
Sea Eagles v Storm, Lottoland, 19.30NZT
After three sin bins and a send-off last time these two rivals clashed, there will be plenty of points to prove I am sure.
Manly did enough to get the win in Melbourne last time, but I can’t see them making it two from two against the Storm for the year.
Melbourne would like to control the match from the get go. When they do, they’re great and hard to beat.
Manly just have to try keep their heads, and stay in the game.
Raiders v Cowboys, GIO Stadium, 21.30NZT
Well the Raiders were finally the ones to come back and win last week, rather than their usual fade out and lose after 60 minutes.
The Cowboys really need to be put out of their misery. Their season is over, and other than Johnathan Thurston, don’t have much to play for.
The Raiders have a slim chance of making the eight. If they can just keep winning, then who knows.
They need to make a statement against North Queensland. An 80 minute statement.
Sunday, July 15
Broncos v Warriors, Suncorp Stadium, 16.00NZT
The Broncos game plan will simply consist of running at Warriors turn style impersonator Peta Hiku.
His defence has been questionable all season, and was horribly exposed last round.
Brisbane at home on a Sunday will be a unique experience for their fans to enjoy.
The Warriors suffered back to back losses for the first time this season, and sit in eighth spot. Another loss here could really cripple their mental strength. They need to bounce back, but I just can’t see it.
Dragons v Wests Tigers, UOW Jubilee Stadium, 18.10NZT
The Dragons get a 10 day turnaround for this match, and will have their big Origin stars back on deck for this important match up.
The Tigers get a really good chance to get their new recruits up to speed and try put pressure on the top eight sides on their way to the seasons end.
The return of Benji Marshall is a huge inclusion for Wests.
The Dragons this season though are a different kettle of fish. At home, I can only see them winning this one. Should be a good match up though.
Titans v Roosters, CBus Super Stadium, 20.30NZT
The Titans offered absolutely nothing last week, and against another strong side I can’t see the Titans getting too much done.
The Roosters are such a dynamic side when the ball gets out wide. They have block busting players in the flanks and will just dominate the Titans.
Though, after such a poor display last week –the Titans will be trying to scrape the barrel of dignity to not have their season fully written off. There must be a glimmer of hope in there somewhere.
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