By Stephen Gallagher
THURSDAY: Sydney Roosters V Brisbane Broncos – Sydney Cricket Ground, 21.50NZT
A blockbuster to kick off Round Four.
Both sides with an indifferent start to the year, this game will be a seek for consistency.
The Roosters have a few injury changes, but have the depth to fill the gaps well.
Brisbane’s expectations on their young forwards is very big, which means there’s a lot of pressure to deliver.
They go up against a more experienced pack, so will have their work cut out for them.
Roosters halves are the classier pair, and should help get their side over the line.
TIP: Roosters 1-12
FRIDAY: New Zealand Warriors V Gold Coast Titans – Mount Smart Stadium, 20.05NZT
It’s not quite crisis point for these two sides, but the winless Titans are desperate, and the wobbly Warriors are seeking refuge on home soil.
The big talking point is the inclusion of Chanel Harris-Tavita on debut in the halves alongside Green for New Zealand.
The Titans have two big ins with Roberts and Taylor in the halves.
Gold Coast’s record is abysmal against the Warriors, but realistically anything can happen in this one.
New Zealand Warriors need a stronger effort up front in order to build a decent game plan.
TIP: Warriors 1-12
Penrith Panthers V Wests Tigers – Panthers Stadium, 22.00NZT
The Panthers have started the season below where they would have like to be. The Tigers got a big reality check last week in a thumping loss to the previously winless Bulldogs.
I don’t think the Panthers are far off getting it all right on the field, but a re-jigged forward pack sends a message.
The Tigers have Josh Reynolds in for injured Benji Marshall in another wise unchanged side.
Both sides benefit from their backs doing a lot of work, so expect the ball to go wide early.
TIP: Panthers 1-12
SATURDAY: Manly Warringah Sea Eagles V South Sydney Rabbitohs – Lottoland, 17.00NZT
Manly back at home with a new life and upgraded confidence after thrashing the Warriors.
The Rabbitohs are only one of two sides still undefeated through three weeks and would like to keep that record intact.
I think Manly will have a real go of the Bunnies here. They showed just what they can do with more go forward, and more experience last week.
Wayne Bennett and Souths will be well aware of this. They also have their captain returning to the side which only boosts their chances of winning.
TIP: Rabbitohs 1-12
North Queensland Cowboys V Canberra Raiders – 1300 Smiles Stadium, 19.30NZT
I thought the Cowboys let themselves down up front last week. They showed plenty of weakness coming off their line, and it didn’t look pretty in the second half when they ran out of steam.
The Raiders resilience with their Englishmen makes this side really hard to breakdown in the middle of the park.
A well performing Canberra side is a confident one. They’ll back themselves to outplay the Cowboys in North Queensland.
TIP: Raiders 1-12
Parramatta Eels V Cronulla Sharks – ANZ Stadium, 21.30NZT
The Eels will have learnt a lot from their loss against the Roosters last week.
The hard part is they lose youngster Dylan Brown to injury.
Cronulla hand a debut to Bronson Xerri at right centre with Dugan to fullback.
Parramatta are a good match for Cronulla. They have plenty of firepower outside, but also have the forwards to get under the Sharks skin.
Cronulla’s game plan this year is off the back of a strong kicking game. Parra will need to pressure their kickers more.
TIP: Sharks 1-12
SUNDAY: Melbourne Storm V Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs – AAMI Park, 18.10NZT
After a big win, the Bulldogs have an even bigger test.
The undefeated Storm look just as menacing as ever, and are unchanged.
The Bulldogs are forced to replace the once again injured Kieran Foran.
Melbourne will be an absolute handful for the Dogs, and are the sort of side who could really bring them crashing back down to reality.
Don’t discount the Dogs though, they’ll have the confidence to stick it to the big Storm players.
TIP: Storm 1-12
Newcastle Knights V Saint George Illawarra Dragons – McDonald Jones Stadium, 20.10NZT
These two sides are looking for their second win of the season in the Alex McKinnon Cup.
The Knights have Ponga back at the back, where as Dufty replaces the injured Widdop at the back for St George too.
Newcastle have appeared a little lost in games, but with Mason Lino alongside Pearce, that could change.
It’s simple for the Red V. Continue to do what worked for them last week. March down the middle of the park and control the ruck.
TIP: Dragons 1-12
Follow Stephen Gallagher on Twitter