By Stephen Gallagher
Thursday, April 12
Roosters v Rabbitohs, Allianz Stadium, 21.50NZT
Usually these two arch rivals kick the season off against each other, this year we’ve had to wait six rounds to see them go toe to toe.
The Roosters started to shape themselves a bit better last week, but are still nowhere near their best.
The Rabbitohs are much the same. Defensively they’re putting on the hits, just discipline letting them down.
I feel the Roosters will be too quick around the ruck, and they’ll catch the Rabbitohs infringing, and could run away with it.
TIP: Roosters 13+
Friday, April 13
Storm v Knights, AAMI Park, 20.00NZT
For the first time since June 2014, the Melbourne Storm are outside the top eight. That’s big news. The Knights will look to capitalise on the Storm’s indifferent start to the season.
Melbourne at home are a beast, and I can’t see them dropping this game.
There’s a lot of pressure on them to succeed, while the Knights will go about their business and do what works for them. Early ball to the backs, and a great kicking game.
Storm are too good at building pressure I think though.
TIP: Storm 13+
Dragons v Sharks, WIN Stadium, 21.50NZT
The Saints are looking to go six straight, and the Sharks stand in their way.
Cronulla will be looking to upset their neighbours, but the Dragons just look too good for that to happen.
Their forward pack is dynamic, and the aging Sharks won’t be able to keep up.
Cronulla will have to take Hunt and Widdop out of the match, and that will take a lot. Just can’t see it happening, Dragons been too good.
TIP: Dragons 1-12
Saturday, April 14
Warriors v Broncos, Mt Smart Stadium, 17.00NZT
Another side looking to go undefeated through six this season, the Warriors.
This is a side who only won seven games in 2017, go up against the Broncos who don’t often fare too well in New Zealand.
Momentum is building for the Warriors, who will have another bumper crowd on hand.
Brisbane are a smart side, but just lacking in execution this year. A few players returning from injury could help this.
The Warriors should get this done, but it will be tight.
TIP: Warriors 1-12
Cowboys v Bulldogs, 1300SMILES Stadium, 19.30NZT
He won’t solve all their problems, but Lachlan Coote plays his first game of the year for the Cowboys.
His confidence at the back adds another attacking element.
With all the names in the forward pack, the Bulldogs have been let down by their forwards thus far.
The Cowboys were dour and frustrated last week, both sides are low on confidence, so it could be an ugly one.
TIP: Cowboys 1-12
Raiders v Eels, GIO Stadium, 21.30NZT
I was kinda hoping the Raiders would lose last week so these two would meet winless this round.
The Eels have Clint Gutherson and Bevan French return this week, which will really help their confidence.
I just feel they haven’t done enough up front to get the backs involved enough.
Canberra have some more confidence after a poor start, last weeks big win may pay dividends for this occasion.
The Eels will be competitive though.
TIP: Raiders 1-12
Sunday, April 15
Panthers v Titans, Panthers Stadium, 16.00NZT
Penrith have only dropped one match this year, but could drop one here.
The Titans are the silent assassins, they’ve been quite surprising this season. They’ve just backed themselves from the outset, and confidence is something that goes a long way for this side.
The Panthers and their fans will be ready, I’m sure.
If they can back up defensively like they did last week, they will get the two points at the end of the match. Only 4-6 points in it.
TIP: Panthers 1-12
Sea Eagles v Wests Tigers, Lottoland, 18.10NZT
Manly were caught off guard last week, and as they play the sky high Tigers, they won’t want to get robbed again.
The Tigers are just a unit. Solid defence, and if they can keep it to a low-scoring game, they will do well.
The Sea Eagles need to hit the front foot early. A try or two in the first fifteen minutes will help them overcome their tough opposition.
Should be a goodie.
TIP: Sea Eagles 1-12
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