By Stephen Gallagher
THURSDAY: Saint George Illawarra Dragons V South Sydney Rabbitohs – Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, 21.50NZT
It was a slow start for the Dragons last week, whereas Souths looked quite ready to play.
Playing at Kograh is always a bonus for St George Illawarra, they seem to grow an arm and leg.
I see Rabbitohs as a real threat this year. They showed a lot of grit last week, and loved the nitty gritty of the occasion.
The Dragons have a lot to prove, especially up front – but the Rabbitohs will pip them in the end.
TIP: Rabbitohs 1-12
FRIDAY: Canberra Raiders V Melbourne Storm – GIO Stadium, 20.00NZT
These two sides looked very strong in their respective wins in round one.
Canberra are usually quite terrible at home, but managed to get a big result in the pouring rain.
What impressed me most about the Storm is they didn’t even miss a beat last week.
Raiders are bolstered by international winger Jordan Rapana, which will help their cause big time.
I expect this game to be a very tough one.
TIP: Storm 1-12
Brisbane Broncos V North Queensland Cowboys – Suncorp Stadium, 22.00NZT
This clash always brings the best out of each team, and there’s no love lost each occasion either.
If I am Brisbane, I am very wary of the threat the Cowboys pose up front. They were able to run riot last week, and the Broncos will have to sharpen up defensively.
The Broncos backs have to be more dynamic and more direct. They were looking a little lost last week. That’s a call for Milford and Nikorima to step up.
TIP: Cowboys 1-12
SATURDAY: Cronulla Sharks V Gold Coast Titans – Shark Park, 17.00NZT
Cronulla are unchanged from their tight loss last week. The Titans have a new halves pairing due to injury, which isn’t a great start for the season.
It doesn’t get any better, playing the Sharks in The Shire will be a big ask.
The Sharks are a very physical side, and have shown that over the last few years. The Titans have to be faster and smarter to try get a leg up. It’s a big task.
TIP: Sharks 13+
Newcastle Knights V Penrith Panthers – McDonald Jones Stadium, 19.30NZT
What I saw from the Knights was very impressive last week. The opposite thoughts for the Panthers who were a little lacking in attack and defence.
Newcastle’s strength comes from the ruck, and the speed they can generate from there. Their direct running catches a lot of teams off guard.
The Panthers need to start better. It’s a common problem, but it needs to be addressed.
Newcastle will take advantage of that, and will make the most of it.
TIP: Knights 1-12
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles V Sydney Roosters – Lottoland, 21.30NZT
Manly were awful last week. Sad to watch. The Roosters just didn’t have enough in the tank to win the match.
Trent Robinson’s men have to be sharper on the edges. They got caught back peddling in defence on multiple occasions, and that cost them in the end.
If the Sea Eagles get the jump on the Roosters, we could be in for an interesting match. I just think the Roosters are too strong for their opponents in this game.
TIP: Roosters 13+
SUNDAY: Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs V Parramatta Eels – ANZ Stadium, 18.10NZT
The Bulldogs have to show some improvement, or else they are going to have a very long season.
They looked disinterested, and slow in every aspect.
If the Eels catch a whiff of this, they’re going to destroy Canterbury.
I hope for the Bulldogs sake they can put last week behind them, and show they’re better than that.
The Eels look very sharp. I am thinking they’re going to cause a lot of issues this season.
TIP: Eels 13+
Wests Tigers V New Zealand Warriors – Campbelltown Stadium, 20.10NZT
If you’re a Tigers or Warriors fan, there was a lot to like about Round One – but both sides definitely don’t want to jump the gun.
If the Warriors can produce another blockbuster performance, it will show a lot of character away from home.
The Tigers might have their captain Moses Mbye back, which will help their cause.
A late Sunday game, but it’s definitely worth watching.
Two teams that can pile on the points going head to head!
TIP: Warriors 1-12
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