By Stephen Gallagher
Thursday, August 2
Bulldogs v Broncos, ANZ Stadium, 21.50NZT
The Broncos are looking to keep their performances up with a win over the Bulldogs here.
Despite lingering near the bottom of the table, the Bulldogs have been playing not too badly.
A real test would be to back up here from a decent win over the Tigers.
Brisbane are as close to full strength as they will get I think, so you’d think the odds are in their favour.
Thursday night football has thrown up some odd results, but hard to see an upset in this one.
TIP: Broncos 1-12
Friday, August 3
Knights v Wests Tigers, McDonald Jones Stadium, 20.00NZT
The Knights were pipped by a weak second half, and a massive forward pass not called with two minutes to go last week. There’s fire in their belly for sure.
Another loss by the Tigers would absolutely rule out their chances of the eight I believe, so all is on the line.
Newcastle have to be better balanced across the 80. They’re too in and out of games.
Coming up against a big defensive side like the Tigers, they will have to be very clinical.
The Tigers will be fired up, too.
TIP: Knights 1-12
Rabbitohs v Storm, ANZ Stadium, 21.50NZT
An early look at the grand final? Both sides have played some really brilliant football over the last two months.
The Storm’s winning streak has come on the back of some really positive football. They have crushed teams, and also grind teams down. So the Rabbitohs will know they have a massive battle on their hands.
Souths were lucky more than anything last week, and if they perform like they did, they’ll get carved up.
They know they’re better than that, and will rise to the occasion to meet Melbourne head on.
TIP: Rabbitohs 1-12
Dragons v Warriors, WIN Stadium, 17.00NZT
The Dragons record over the Warriors is nothing short of impressive, despite the Warriors getting the result earlier this season.
Looking down the barrel of three consecutive losses, the Warriors really are do or die here in this big clash.
They have their best team on the field for the first time all year, but will it be enough?
WIN Stadium is a hard place to win at if you’re the opposing team.
Both sides thrashed last week, but who will bounce back enough to rise to victory? Hard to go past the Red V.
TIP: Dragons 1-12
Eels v Titans, ANZ Stadium, 19.30NZT
The Eels looked like they deserved to be in the NRL for about 55 minutes last week, and once again fell short.
The Titans on the other hand, produced an absolute master class to win.
There’s rarely any consistency in these two sides this year, which is why this game is so damn hard to predict.
I feel the Eels would have learnt some harsh lessons last week – so perhaps that might motivate them enough to get out of their pit of despair and beat the Gold Coast.
TIP: Eels 1-12
Roosters v Cowboys, Allianz Stadium, 21.30NZT
The form the Roosters have shown, it seems to be not even a brick wall would stop this side.
The Cowboys got lucky last week, but they’ll definitely need more than luck.
Sydney lose Luke Keary for a few weeks, but Ryan Matterson is a pretty handy back up.
The Chooks outside backs are just way too involved, and way too deadly. They’ll eat the Cowboys up for all I’m concerned. It’ll do wonders for their points differential.
TIP: Roosters 13+
Sunday, August 5
Sharks v Sea Eagles, Southern Cross Group Stadium, 16.00NZT
Cronulla were on the wrong side of a referee’s call, and the Sea Eagles conceded four tries in six minutes to somehow lose last week.
The Sharks just have to keep winning, and keep fighting the fight for a top four berth.
For Manly, they will want to snare a few scalps over the next five weeks to try salvage some pride in their disastrous campaign.
Sunday arvo footy at Shark Park is a good way to get the boys from the shire to rack up a healthy score.
They will be in the points, the Sea Eagles will just have to do their best to stop it.
TIP: Sharks 13+
Panthers v Raiders, Panthers Stadium, 18.10NZT
The comeback kings Penrith will definitely trying to avoid another desperate comeback. They’re a good side, and they should be taking the game by the scruff of the neck early on.
The Raiders have some returns from injury which will help their cause.
Canberra have been at each end of the footballing spectrum this season. From disastrous losses, to miraculous wins. They really are a hard side to follow, let alone predict.
Penrith are just too strong up front I feel. Their forwards, when on – are just ruthless. Reagan Campbell-Gillard may be a lace inclusion, which would definitely help.
TIP: Panthers 13+
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